How Product Differentiation Can Beat the Competition
Enrique founded a 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. Life became exhilarating; he began to get a lot of media attention. He was invited to speak at several high profile spa events, to promote his products. He and his assistant conducted intensive training at the spas personally to ensure that the therapists understood the protocols.
He had no doubt that his superb product and charitable contributions would catapult him to success.
Two months later, only a few of his products had been sold. A half year later the spa discounted his product line by 50% and placed it on the “for sale” table.
What went wrong?
According to Joan Schneider and Julie Hall authors of Why Most Product Launches Fail one of the reasons is sales training/enablement was ineffective.
“A key element in a product launch is training and enabling the channel to sell the new product or service. Sales training/enablement means that your company has carefully considered what information will be communicated: (1) to the sales channel so they can effectively sell the new product or service, and (2) to your prospects and customers so they can make an intelligent buying decision”.
In the spa arena, entrepreneurs of new products or existing product companies must find a way to differentiate themselves and their information. You must create a projectile to ensure that your product will be successful.
Last year at Professional Spa and Wellness’ bench-marking session in London, it was reported that the average Five-Star spa’s sales to service ratios ranged from 3%-10%. In other words, for every $750.00 of treatment service, therapists are selling a mere $22.50-$75.00 of product. As a former therapist I know that those figures should be much higher. I worked for 10 years at a spa whose therapists averaged 30% in sales.
Many of the finest spas around the world have the same problem. It always stems from a lack of training. Product training is simply not enough. Knowing what to recommend is not the same as knowing how to engage and sell. Product sales are at 3-10% because;
- No one ever taught therapists or managers sales skills.
- When they are taught the training is not designed for how they learn.
Sales training has always been designed for extroverts, more outgoing personality types.
The majority of spa therapists are introverts; they process information in a completely different way. Traditional sales classes composed of high energy activities and quick-fire responses are off putting and therefore ineffective. It is time for the spa industry to catch up to a more progressive way of thinking and recognize that one size doesn’t fit all.
Who Is Your Customer?
When I ask entrepreneurs who their customer is they often look at me like I’m crazy. “Of course it’s the woman or man who gets a facial or body treatment at the spa”, they’ll say.
But is it really?
Webster’s Dictionary defines Customer as: A person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron
That means your primary customers are spa management, therapists and receptionists; those people who are selling your products. What strategy have you put in place to help them turn your product over more quickly with their spa guests? Therapists and front desk staff will always skew towards products that yield the highest sales commission or the ones that they are most familiar with.
That’s why you must create a memorable point of differentiation.
Why not incorporate sales training skills with your product training? Here’s why it’s a win-win;
- Unique & memorable brand differentiation
- Therapists have a new skill set that helps them sell more of your products
- Increased revenue for you, the therapists and spa
- Increased product recommendations lead to a better customer experience
- Increased customer product loyalty
- Increased customer retention for spa-they become a brand advocate
- Therapist personal development creates a positive connection to your product
How cool is that? Connect with me and I’ll show you how.