Gemma Bloxham, Regional Sales Manager for Wigmore Medical
Hair and Beauty Jobs was keen to speak to Gemma about her role in medical aesthetics training and sales and in discovering what is needed to provide the best client service in this sector. Essential reading for anyone wanting to progress into the challenging yet rewarding arena of aesthetic sales.
Q. What does your job with Wigmore Medical entail?
My job at Wigmore Medical entails sales and training with new and present customers. I am responsible for covering London and the South and spend most of my time travelling to and from clinics and medispas in this area showing them new skincare products within the Aesthetic industry.
The products I work with are of pharmaceutical and medical grade and are sold primarily to Doctors and Nurses however I do also work with many beauty therapists as the medical clinics often have therapists offering most of the chemical exfoliation treatments and skin needling. Once I have met with a new or existing customers and they have purchased the products I then follow up with training on the relevant products.
In addition to my time spent travelling to and from the clinics I also teach the skin needling course held at Wigmore Medical's training venue. This course is held once a month and is open to Doctors, Nurse and Beauty Therapists/Medical Aestheticians.
Q. How important is post sales client support and training to your role?
Post sales support is very important. After an initial sale, whether it is with an existing or new customer, I have my first follow up appointment 2-3 weeks post training. I offer all my customers 100% support at all times and have been known to be taking phone calls at 9pm and all weekend! This support is necessary as it gives my customers the confidence to offer their medical grade treatments, in turn this gives them repeat custom and increased profit. Having regular support appointments also gives me the opportunity to keep my customers up to date with new products and treatments in the industry and any changes in regulations.
Q. What route did you take in getting into medical aesthetic sales?
After I completed my Foundation Science Degree in Beauty Therapy and Health Studies I went to work at a spa for approximately 6 months before joining Thalgo. Whilst at Thalgo I became a trainer for London. I then went on to another role which involved training and sales and it was here that I began to get my experience in selling skincare. From that role I entered the aesthetics industry and after a few years I was employed by Wigmore Medical. Initially I joined Wigmore as the laser and IPL trainer but after astructure change within the company I joined the Aesthetic Dermatology department and, by this time, I had gained more experience in selling and customer support so I was appointed the role of Regional Sales Manager.
Q. What motivates you?
My main motivation is seeing a clinic offering a treatment with successful results and profit as a consequence of my sales and training. It is very pleasing to hear that a patient has had a fantastic treatment and the improvement in their skin has changed their life and made them a more confident person. My other motivation is the commission. Like most people I go to work to earn money so I can live the life I want and knowing I will earn more money through my sales motivates me to spend many hours on the road travelling from clinic to clinic in the hope they purchase the products.
Q. What developments within the aesthetics industry excite you most at present?
The improvement in over the counter pharmaceutical grade skincare products excites me the most. Each year the
products get better and better with the discovery of new ingredients and the effect they can have on the skin. There is now so much research taking place in to the skin and we are learning more and more about how our skin works and how we can prevent and treat active disease. Knowing I have a part in this development excites me greatly and makes me proud to know I have helped with 'spreading the word' of these developments.
Q. What do you like most about the work that you do?
I like spending time at my clinics the most. Being a sales rep can sometimes be a lonely job as you spend most of the time on your own and building relationships, and sometimes friendships, with my customers is what I like most. I have made many new friends and I am grateful for their time and knowledge.
Q. What frustrates you about the aesthetics industry?
The negative publicity that you often see about the industry is what frustrates me the most. Like any industry we have bad practitioners and it is usually the bad practice that makes the headlines and sells the papers! The general public rarely hear about how certain aesthetic treatments have changed a patient's life.
I have seen how a patient has improved the overall quality of their life because they have increased confidence as a result of their treatments. Take, for instance, a patient with acne. They can often feel depressed and, in times, suicidal. When this patient has had successful treatment of their acne through skincare they have said their whole life changed. However you don't often hear about the positive side of the aesthetic treatments. This especially frustrates me as approximately 90% of patients treated are more than happy with their results.
Q. What are the key challenges of your current role?
The key challenge of my role is keeping up to date with all the changes in the industry. As the industry grows there are new regulations, more so in light of the PIP scandal. This can sometimes be confusing and just as one regulation is introduced another is changed. This can be challenging and I tackle this by reading industry magazines and journals to keep abreast of these changes.
Q. What is your proudest career achievement to date?
My proudest career achievement to date is being appointed Regional Sales Manager for London in Aesthetic Dermatology for Wigmore Medical. This really is my ideal job and it took many years of working very hard to get to this position.
Q. What skills have you personally developed to make you stand out from your competitors?
The skills I have leant to make me stand out from the competition are to be approachable and available at all times. I always have my phone on holiday with me and have been sitting on the beach whilst talking pigmentation with a Doctor! I make sure all my customers know that I am there to help them as much as I can and that they are never to feel like they are 'putting me out'. This is not often seen by sales reps and I am proud to know that my customers feel supported by me.
Q. What are the real benefits of a career in medical aesthetic sales?
The real benefit of a career in medical aesthetics is that it never gets boring! There is always something new to learn and with the development of new treatments, scientific discoveries and new regulations there is always the need to read and learn and it never gets monotonous.
Q. What are some of the things you've learnt along the way in your career?
Some of the things I have learnt along the way are to never make assumptions about the needs of a clinic or salon. It is essential to listen to the customer and know exactly what they want from their skincare so you are able to meet their needs. I have also learnt that time management is essential. If you do not manage your time you are not able to complete all your tasks and ensure that your customers are 100% happy with the service you offer.
Q. What skills are vital for working in medical aesthetic sales?
The skills that are vital for working in the medical aesthetics industry are a passion for learning and to not be lazy with keeping abreast of all changes and new treatments and being reliable and punctual as often the Doctors time is precious as their have patients to see who will always take priority over a sales rep/trainer.
Q. How easy do you think it would be for someone in a different sector of sales to move into aesthetic sales?
I think that if you have sales experience it is fairly easy to move in to the aesthetics industry. However, they must be approachable and willing to lean a hell of a lot about the treatments and this can sometimes be very scientific. If you don't know the ins and outs of the skin and body you will not be able to answer the questions you are often asked and offer a good service.
Q. What tips can you give for others wanting to enter your line of work?
If someone would like to enter my line of work I would suggest that they do as much research on the industry as possible. They should know the latest treatments and regulations and be able to answer questions on these treatments. They should visit conference and exhibitions to know who the key leaders in the industry are and they must also have had experience in sales. It is also advisable that they have a qualification in Beauty or Medical if they want to be able to offer training as well as sales.
Q. Any tips for success?
My tips for success are to be reliable, approachable and willing to learn.
Q. What are you career aspirations for the future?
My career aspirations for the future are to be a National Sales Manager and have a team of sales reps working with me. If I had the time I would also like to complete a nursing qualification so I am able to offer training in more medical based treatments such as injectables.
Q. If you could make any changes to the industry at large you work within what would they be?
If I could make any changes I would like the regulations to be stricter on the use of botox and fillers by beauty therapists. I am a beauty therapist myself but I would never inject a patient with a toxin or filler as you could potentiall run into many problems and if a patient experienced anaphylactic shock for instance, I would not have the medical qualifications or experience to deal with it. I think therefore that the industry needs to be more regulated so that only doctors and nurses with the right qualifications can offer these medical treatments.
However I would also like the work that beauty therapists/medical aesthetician offer inside the medical clinics are more recognised as they are just as important.