From the therapists perspective:

I have worked in the beauty industry for over 24 years and over that time have performed treatments on many hundreds of lovely clients. I love performing all treatments but the one part of my job I worried about was product retailing.

Back then the thought of asking a client to spend his or her hard earned wages on products that could sometimes be hundreds of pounds used to fill me with dread. And as most of the jobs I held had incentives in the form of commission or product allocations I would benefit directly from them parting with the cash which in turn would leave me feeling guilty that I had conned them in some way. Now don't get me wrong I loved the commission and the freebies but often I found it hard to deal with the pressure I would often be under to reach sale targets.

I have been in the position on more than one occasion of being asked by a salon owner to sell " the most expensive " or "the over stocked" products first regardless of the clients skin type or body concerns. Awful but true! And I'm quite sure most therapists have similar stories to tell.

When applying for any job within the salon or spa industry one of the main qualities which employers ask for is excellent retail skills. After all in the hard economic climate, salons cannot just rely on treatments as the main source of income and latest figures show that retail in salons can account for up to 45% of the salons earnings. So if you already have a set of successful retailing skills salon owners will see you as a great asset to their businesses.

But selling does not come naturally to most therapists and we sometimes can feel we sound like product "pushers" as soon as we advise a client about something we are using on their skin and how they would benefit using it at home and would they like to purchase it.

So how, I hear you ask do I learn these skills? Here are my tried, tested & successful methods on being your salons top sales girl;

Product knowledge

This means knowing everything about the cream, cleanser, body lotion etc that you are recommending your client to purchase. From the usage to the ingredients, the smell, the texture, the price..I cannot stress enough how important this is to product retailing. If you are well acquainted with the product you are trying to sell it will impart confidence in your skills with your client and in turn gain their trust. All product companies supply training material on their goods so do your homework and READ!

And to any of you lovely salon owners reading this let your therapists borrow an item each week from the tester stand to try at home and become better acquainted with. Trust me on this one it really pays off in the long term. Perhaps run a workshop once a month for the therapists to refresh their product knowledge. Product companies will often send out their reps for a monthly visit so ask if they can give your therapists a knowledge "boost" with some hints and tips on how to use the products you stock.

Discuss your clients' needs

Don't presume just because your client has booked in for a relaxing facial she does not want you to talk to her about the products you are applying to her skin and why. Now I am not saying start a full blown lesson on the products but just briefly explain how her skin is benefitting from what you are using and that you will write down in the form of a prescription the name of the cream etc for her own records.This is a well known, tried and tested sales method used by many major product brands. When you meet your client after her treatment in the reception area where all the lovely products are that you've just used on her, you then have the perfect opportunity to talk through the personalised prescription and point out the home care products on the shelves for her.

Let your client own the product before purchase!

This may sound a little bizarre but it works. Whilst talking to to your client (using all your lovely new knowledge) about the product you are recommending let her hold the jar, tube etc. It is in this way she already feels as if it is meant for her. This method of selling works particularly well with the beautifully packaged creams which look so lovely on our dressing tables.

Once your client has had a chance to handle the product ask if she would "like to take HER product home today" and facilitiate this by asking "shall I put your product in a bag madam".

Sample, sample, sample

There is a time and a place for samples! I do not believe they should be given out freely in handfuls every time a client walks in the door, especially as nowadays many product companies charge for them. Samples should be given out to link sale an already purchased product such as a cleanser to accompany a toner, in the hope that when the client trys it she will see a positive result and will choose to purchase.

They can also be given out to encourage a client to have confidence in a product; for example to show her that the mosturiser you have recommended for her oily skin is not too greasy.

Sampling is also beneficial when introducing a new product range into your salon especially for your existing retail clientele so they can become accustomed to your new exciting wares.

So be careful and selective with giving out samples. As you can see they can be beneficial but throwing loads of random product samples into your client's hands won't be of any benefit to your salon's retail profits. On the contrary if you are sending a client home with free products on each visit what incentive has she actually got to make a purchase.

Gaining client trust

ONLY recommend products that will suit your client's needs and remember that it is you that will be accountable if she has poor results from an expensive cream that you wrongly advised her to purchase (so you could gain the commission).

On more than one occasion I have had clients ask me "can this cream really make me look 20 years younger?", to which the only honest reply had to be NO! Even though I would have sold the cream had I lied, I would have lost my client's trust when she was disappointed that her skin still looked that of a 50 year old when I promised her a 20 year reduction in age!

I could write for days on this subject as its one I feel very passionate about and I hope this advice will help all you therapists out there looking to boost your salon sales and in-turn boost your employability. Happy selling!


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