What’s Up With Spa Retail Selling?
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.
So how do you do feel about spa retail training?