Creating and Filling Client Needs

It seems as though every article ever written on the subject of retail sales begins by somehow apologetically acknowledging how the hands-on, feel-good skin care industry resists the thought of inconveniencing clients with solid home care recommendations. Well, the industry needs to get over it in a hurry.

Home care is more important than spa services if skin results are your primary goal. Does this statement shock you? Let’s do the yearly numbers based on an ideal client who comes in for a treatment 12 times a year.

12 spa treatments vs. 730 home treatments (365 morning and evening opportunities)

These numbers need to be reviewed with each and every client to emphasize the importance of disciplined home care. During a 10-year period, clients have the chance to do the right thing for their skin 7,300 times, give or take a leap year. Don’t try to say that it doesn’t matter what clients use at home—it’s a huge detail!

If the light goes on for clients, fill their needs with a full basic morning and night skin care system, including a cleanser, moisturizer, eye cream and exfoliation product. If not, ask them to add a product and do a little more each time you see them.

Recommending products based on client needs is a service, not a disservice. How do you discover a client’s needs? First ask them—and this includes current clients—to go over their current morning and evening home skin care system with you. Find out if the cleanser is creamy or gel, a soap or a drying acne cleanser, and if they use the same one morning and night. Does the day moisturizer have an SPF? Do they then use that same SPF cream at night? Do they know why eye cream is important (thinner, more delicate skin, no pores and usually the first area to show signs of aging)? Are they aware of the value of exfoliation?

Ask detailed questions and mention that after the first facial treatment with you, they should be educated on a basic home skin care system. During the second facial, you’ll get into more detail on advanced topics such as retinols, peels and microdermabrasion that will be the key to aging gracefully. If they are missing components or misusing products, begin to tell them the way you might structure a new, improved system for them and why. Plant the seed that you will talk more about possible product recommendations near the end of the facial.

Your first goal with clients should be to get their skin healthy and as blemish- and blackhead-free as possible. Once this is attained, the second goal is to keep it that way and pave the way for graceful aging. This gives room to build the skin care system as you go.

Clients are spending boatloads of money on their skin—is it with you? Are clients better off with department store skin care recommended by the makeup lady, or worse yet, drug store products they picked themselves? Will they get better results with your products or the ones they purchased over wine and cheese at Suzy’s party?

Really? Step up and become the expert you are supposed to be. Exude confidence and passion when talking about your products, and exclusively use the products your spa sells on yourself. What you use, you will sell. Talk to co-workers who have different skin types, or who are older or younger, and compare notes. Recommendations from reliable sources also result in sales. And ask clients who buy from you how they enjoy certain products and pass on their success stories. To sell involves nothing more than communicating—with passion and conviction—your solution to an unaddressed client need. So ... what are you waiting for?

Jamie Scalise is an esthetician for the Spa at DelMonte in Rochester, NY. There he shares his 12 years of experience with clients while specializing in age management. In addition to his e-book, The Power of Three Method (2010), he has authored numerous spa industry articles and is a regular speaker at national spa conferences.

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