Have you found yourself more stressed than usual by politics and the state of the nation lately? Do you worry about the direction that the country is taking, perhaps more now than before? Do you feel this is taking a toll on your emotional state, and even your physical health?
I’m a serious spa lover. And like many spa lovers I have a love affair with my bathtub. Given a choice of a shower or bath, a bath wins every time. Even in 90 degree weather-but especially when it’s cold outside. Read More
Gordon Tareta is the area director of spas for Marcus Hotels and the founder of spa consulting firm, Tareta Group International. His comment about Sephora particularly resonated with me because when I worked as an esthetician, Sephora was right down the street. I remember the spa owner telling us that it makes no sense for a client to leave our treatment room and purchase the same products somewhere else. Customer service was everything.Read More
Many people think that one of the perks of working at a spa is the ability to get treatments. But when you work at a popular spa where the therapists are in high demand it just doesn’t happen. 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.
For many therapists in the spa industry, retail selling has negative connotations. Some massage therapists consider their vocation to have roots based in spirituality. They don’t think that commerce should enter into the process. “Render under to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s….” Others have expressed discomfort with the idea that as health care providers making a product recommendation may be crossing their line of authority. Read More
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;