Most therapists enter the spa industry with the idea of providing service, helping or healing. The problem with retail sales training is that more often than not, the service component is not emphasized.
The view that retail is a customer service component and not the cumbersome additional task many therapists see it as, is one that is shared by Lorna Macleod, spa manager at Ribby Hall Village in Lancashire. “I always say to the therapists, don’t look at retail as a negative, look at it as a positive.
If you went to the doctor with a sore throat and the doctor didn’t give you anything for it, you’d feel cheated and I think it’s the same with spas,” she says. “We need to give customers something to take home that enables them to continue the benefits they see and the great feeling they have when they’re in the spa. If we don’t do that then we, as therapists, are not doing our jobs properly, we’re not fulfilling the clients’ needs and concerns.”
The problem, Macleod continues, is that therapists are afraid of retailing. “All therapists are frightened of retail because they feel as if they’re asking something where they’ll get a no back and no-one likes rejection,” she says. Gill Morris, director of training and consultancy provider GMT Training, which offers courses in areas that include sales training for spa and beauty therapists, agrees.
“Therapists are frightened to death of selling and that’s because they don’t know how to do it,” she says. “Education for therapists focuses very much on treatment, so they actually don’t know how to sell and don’t feel comfortable with the process of selling. That’s because they haven’t been taught it and if you haven’t been taught something, you don’t know how to do it.”
While many spas offer retail bonuses and incentive these, Morris explains, will have no effect if the skills required to push sales are not there to begin with. And while brands may be excellent at providing product training, product knowledge alone is not sufficient
Excerpted from Professional Spa and Wellness June issue “Selling the Sales Pitch”