June 20, 2017
When I consult with spa managers in the United States they often tell me that their number one problem is getting their staff to sell retail products. The past three years spent working in Asia has shown me that the same challenges exist.
Their solution has frequently been to increase product training, and to remind their staff more often how important selling is. This rarely fixes the problem because they are not addressing the root cause.
The spa industry has failed to recognize that most of its therapists are introverts by nature. They are quiet people who prefer the peaceful environment which so many spas offer. They work in subdued lighting. Customer interactions are mostly one on one. Because communication occurs largely through touch, the need to speak is kept to a minimum. This suits them just fine as introverts are not huge fans of small talk.
However, most therapists have nurturing spirits. They will bend over backwards to relieve someone’s pain. And as introverts they tend to be great listeners.
The good news is that listening well is at the heart of engagement. And engagement is the key to selling retail products.
For many therapists, customer engagement is initially very difficult. But once the stress and trepidation they experience from second guessing themselves is removed, they become the retail superstars that they are meant to be. And it happens rapidly.
Here are some tips that may help you position your team for more success in increasing your retail sales.
Tip # 1-Ask your therapists what gets in the way of their selling. Address their concerns and fears with empathy and honesty.
Tips # 2-. Divide your team into groups of three. Have them give a one minute presentation to their peers on something they love.
Tip # 3-Have the listeners repeat back what they heard the presenter say. This will help to build listening skills.
Tip # 4-In private provide positive feedback to the presenters on their presentation strengths. Guide them on improving their weaknesses.
Tip # 5-Using their strengths, repeat the presentation process using a retail product that they like. Roleplay presenting to a customer during down-time.
Join me at #ISPA2017 for Introverts: The Secret of Increasing Retail Sales.
May 13, 2017
Enrique founded a spa/beauty product line created from plants and vegetables unique to a village in South America. For each product sold he gave back 15% of the profit to assist the village in building a school. His distributor positioned the line in the spas of a very upscale hotel chain. Read More
May 10, 2017
May 4, 2017
A White Paper highlighting the opinions of spa industry leaders from the Asia Pacific region was released in April 2017. From a series of round-table discussions held in Thailand, one of the resulting conclusions was that people issues are still of primary concern. Despite industry growth that far outpaces global economic growth, the ability to ensure guest satisfaction and motivating millennials remain top of mind. Read More
April 26, 2017
Spa managers who achieve high retail sales know that a strong front desk team is worth their weight in gold. Conversely, show me a spa with low retail sales and chances are great that the receptionists are weak in product knowledge.
Recently I trained a city spa team with product sales that hovered around 6%. (25% and higher is ideal) Staff included three receptionists all of whom had worked there for over a year. A technique that I always use is to ask the front desk staff to tell me their complete skin care regimen based upon the products on the shelves. This does several things; it allows me to gauge their knowledge, comfort in explaining product use, enthusiasm for the brands and level of engagement.
None of the receptionists were well versed enough to inform me of an entire daily routine. Despite the fact that the spa carries only three brands, they have complete access to product samples and serve as treatment models during training, they were somewhat clueless.
I wonder what happens when guests come in to purchase products?
In contrast, high performing teams always have strong receptionists. They are more than just pretty. They’re highly engaging and product obsessed! If your guest has last minute doubts or questions about their purchase, a good receptionist calls upon their personal experience with the products. They can provide the reassurance necessary to close the sale.
For managers with a weak front desk staff, resolving knowledge gaps and apathy is not difficult to resolve. Take these five steps:
1. Ensure that down time is spent familiarizing themselves with your products.
2. Ask product related questions frequently.
3. Conduct role play sessions with them.
4. Include product knowledge expertise as part of their performance review.
5. Create a program to incentivize sales.
This is something that you can begin today.
Consider that your front desk is first and last contact for your guests. Make the experience excellent.
February 13, 2017
I’ve been in the U.S. now for longer than I anticipated. What started as a three week trip from my home in Bangkok has morphed into a prolonged visit. While I now have an unlimited opportunity to watch cable networks like CNN and MSNBC I feel that I am caught in the throes of a weird addiction to political news. I begin my day craving information on what havoc has been visited on our world overnight. I check Twitter trends and Huff Post headlines for my fix on the latest global backlash caused by our current administration. Because truth be told drama has happened everyday since January 20. I find myself headachy before the day really begins.
I know that I am not alone.
I exist in a constant self imposed state of low level anxiety.
I recently read an article that discussed how Susie Ellis, CEO of Global Wellness Institute spoke of Trump as the leading influence of wellness trends for 2017. http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Market-Trends/The-Trump-Effect-is-already-altering-the-personal-care-and-beauty-market
“As things get more uncertain wellness gets more important.”
I totally agree with her viewpoint.
Last week I visited my favorite massage therapist. Nothing fancy, she works at Hand & Stone and she is fabulous! The time spent in a quiet environment with her was exactly what I needed. She knew exactly what to do and recommend and I can’t begin to express how much I appreciated her. In this time of turmoil and stress and uncertainly, the spa and wellness industry should be a safe haven. It is crucially important for our therapists to be totally on point. Excellence in customer service is a teachable skill that should never be taken for granted by management.
Enabling therapists to listen well, respond authentically and recommend knowledgeably is what proper training can do.
Let’s get on it now. The world needs it.
February 6, 2017
This past Christmas my husband and I spent a much anticipated holiday season with our family. We currently live in Bangkok and two years is wayyy too long to be separated from the people that you love.
As fate would have it, an opportunity to provide retail training in my hometown of Philadelphia came my way. Despite the cold weather (which I hate) I decided to stay on longer with my parents while my husband returned to Asia.
Like a lot of retired seniors my parents are active and opinionated. They love MSNBC, The View, CSI Miami and Judge Judy. As I huddle by the fireplace watching these shows with them, I am reminded and amazed at the plethora of commercials. They advertise everything from plaque psoriasis crème to buy-one-get-one-free non-stick cooking pans. The contrast of watching television in Thailand where marketing is at best lukewarm makes me more aware than ever that we are truly a nation of consumers and we love to buy.
We have a leg up compared to other countries because it is part of our culture. We are the nation that unapologetically spends 5.5 million on a 30 second Super Bowl ad.
In my mind we should be dominating retail in the spa, wellness and salon industry. We should be kicking butt big time.
As global markets compete for spa and wellness revenue it is important for the U.S. to recognize what we do well and build upon it. This is my focus for 2017.
Sometimes it takes a view from the outside to have a broader perspective.