Spa Retail Management: Sales Training for Spa Associates
By Nina Curtis Founder & President, The Nile Institute | October 2008
Why does the word "selling" get such a negative response? 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.
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.
It was not until I started working at 'the Best Me' in Oakland, California where my boss told me that I would have to sell this cream that was to change the face of the American woman. The cream was called Le Mer. This was way before Estee Lauder purchased the company. I would watch as she presented it to every woman that walked in her salon and they would buy it. But she knew them I would contend. She was older (oops) and could speak on their level, I could be their daughter, why would they listen to me? I didn't even use the cream, I could not afford it! Why on earth would any of these women listen to me? My boss kept pushing me to sell it but I just did not feel comfortable, confident and had no prior sales training.
Now I had worked at McDonald's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken during high school and we were definitely trained to sell burgers and chicken but this was different...we were talking skin care here and expensive skin care at that as I based it compared to what I had in my purse at the time. So much for my success at selling Le Mer in those days.
I left the Best Me and ventured on to Adrian Arpel in Macy's. Here's where I obtained my first formal product knowledge and sales training experience. My manager was a very sharp woman and during product knowledge training she sold the products and it made me want to buy them. For the first time I was getting a taste of what sales was all about. It was not something separate from the facial treatment I offered at Adrian Arpel but instead a very important part of the whole process. How was I to give the client a great facial, new improved skin and then send her home to the old products that really didn't work, or at best worked very little to maintain what I had achieved with her skin.
I liked what I was learning and I ran with it. To my surprise I was good at it and it showed in my commissions. This was icing on the cake to me. I was already doing what I loved and then just by recommending the 'right' products to my client made such a difference in the overall picture and it had clients coming back for more. Even if they did not have a treatment booked at the time they would come in for products and I had the chance to book them again or confirm their existing appointment. This was great!