Innovation is a hot buzzword. Senior executives in the hospitality industry are burning the midnight oil trying to find ways to innovatively one-up each other. Flying yoga, wellness strategies, sustainability campaigns, the list goes on with one thing in common. They’re all designed to target a larger portion of revenue from the upscale leisure consumer.Read More
For the past several years there has been an ongoing conversation about the difficulty of getting spa therapists to sell retail products. Most spa experts agree its important.. I gathered feedback from three industry insiders who shared their thoughts in recent publications.
Why does the word “selling” get such a negative response?
Nina Curtis, Founder and President of the Nile Institute weighed in this way. “Mainly because no one really wants to talk about it in the spa world where we believe it is only our position to make people feel good, well at least when it comes from the therapist’s mouth.”
Ouch. I totally agree and I’ve been saying similar things. It’s really critical. Remember when I said I taught myself to sell on the job? Seems Nina had the same experience. She says..
“I had this thought at one time as a therapist but only because during my basic cosmetology training no one presented sales as a part of my soon to be career. The same was true of my massage training. Nowhere during my training did any of my instructors present the importance of product selling in one of their lessons.”
Who’s responsible for driving retail sales in your spa?
Everyone in the company has a role to play in successful retailing and increasing revenue.
Industry veteran Lisa Starr knows this better than most. According to her, “Spas know that retailing is an important component of revenue generation, and yet many still struggle to reach hoped-for results. Who’s responsible for driving retail sales in your spa? Management? Therapists? Support Staff? Product Companies? It’s actually all of the above.
Role of Management
As with many initiatives, effective retailing starts at the top. The most impactful action management can take is to be purposeful in hiring and training staff who can create rapport with guests, and in creating compensation and advancement plans for therapists which include retailing benchmarks as part of the career path.
What Therapists Can Do
Without a doubt, therapists play the biggest role in retailing to spa guests. As the uniformed experts, their artfully presented home care suggestions, in tandem with their one-on-one interaction with the guest, will be the biggest driver of sales activity. Making home care recommendations MUST be part of every treatment on the spa menu.” Lisa Starr– Spa Consultant, Management Educator, and Journalist
Estheticians who post 35-45% of their total revenue in retail are Rock Stars! And YES, they EXIST!
In Designed to Sell: Integrating Retail into Your New Spa Peggy Wynn Borgman talks about the importance of adding home care presentations to client workflow. She writes, “Our consultancy conducted a survey of spa shoppers that showed 93% of the spa client’s decision to buy home care was based on the recommendation of their spa technician or therapist.”
In the absence of recommendation, guests will buy familiar brands, sometimes refilling a product they’ve purchased in the past. This has led many spas to conclude that brands, not employees, are the most powerful source of sales. This simply isn’t true.
Massage therapists who post 10% of their total revenue in retail are top performers. Nail technicians and hair stylists who attain 15% retail ratio are stars. For estheticians, this number rises to 35-40% in the Stay Spa setting. But none of these employees have a chance to attain such numbers if they can’t easily make home care presentations to their clients as part of normal workflow. Most Stay Spas unwittingly make retail sales a challenge for even the most motivated employee.”
As you can see retail selling is spa has broad impact. But I feel it’s time for more spas to move beyond conversation and begin implementing. There is a culture shift that needs to happen. And if you’re not aware that this change is underway your spa is out of touch.
In my own experience, therapists who make on-point product recommendations raise the level of customer experience dramatically. This is why I focus on introverts and helping them use their natural listening skills. It shows that they are listening closely. It proves that they care enough about their guest to try and improve their well-being. This will keep your customers coming back.
There’s a lot of noise in the spa consulting marketplace today. Everyone has a product that they want you to buy. You sign up for various mailing lists to ensure that you receive their newest information first. But what about the 100 people on the list before you? Read More
People are hungry for love, affection and attention. Any good spa manager and therapist knows this. As a therapist, I would measure my effectiveness, not by tips but by the amount of daily hugs I received from my clients. If none were forthcoming it worried me; what could I have done better?
I think that going to a spa should be like a visit to your grandparent’s home. Here are five things that my Grandmom did which made me feel special. Apply them with your own clients and watch your wait list grow. Read More
Most therapists who work in the spa industry are introverts. It doesn’t matter if they are in Bangkok, Thailand or the United States, they tend to be shy. It makes sense; what other personality type would elect to work in a darkened room, one on one with a minimal need for conversation. But even introverts want to be part of the group. Here, Jeff Hayden gives 5 tips on how to fit in.Read More
Once a month the CEO of a certain Five-Star resort company would return to the home office. A status meeting was always held. All vice presidents and middle management would attend either in person or via Skype.
On this particular day as we were waiting for the meeting to begin, he regaled us with a story of his visit to one of the company’s more remote locations. He said 18 hours on a plane had earned him an extremely stiff neck. Immediately upon arrival he’d booked a massage. In a luxurious hut with the ocean as a backdrop, he’d explained his problem to a therapist in detail. He opted for an add-on treatment of Thai herbal balls; heated poultices which are rhythmically applied to sore or stiff body points to promote blood flow. He’d also requested that a heated towel be placed around his neck for the first 10 minutes prior to treatment. >>>Toread more click here>>huff.to/1GEycWV
My niece graduated from Howard University last year. She’s doing fairly well; I recently received an e-mail from her informing me that she was thinking of having one or two spa treatments. She wanted to know which ones she should try and as an African-American which were safest for her skin. As a former esthetician and a very protective aunt, I was inclined to tell her that none of them were safe unless I performed them! I realized though that I was being a bit “extra”, so I calmed down and provided recommendations on who, what and where she should go.
If you are among the other twenty-somethings around the globe also venturing into the world of spa goers, here are five things that you should know;
My friend Cheryl developed a beautiful line of organic body products. She sent me samples and I was thrilled to discover that her creations where some of the best I’d ever used.
When it won a best new product of the year award in New York City, she and I celebrated with a champagne lunch. I remember screaming in delight when it was later selected as one of the swag bag items for the Emmy Awards. A Five-Star hospitality group in Asia began carrying her line at their chain of spas. Her product was unstoppable. Read More
As a spa professional I am often highly disappointed in the level of service delivered at Five-Star spas and resorts. I’m an American living in Bangkok, so I’m particularly sensitive to respecting the local culture.
However, it seems as though a trade-off has taken place which has allowed the universal “culture of spa” to be compromised. It seems to me that it’s been replaced by a lazy, non-caring apathy masquerading as customer service.