Monday, 24 June 2019 01:22

6 Steps for Dealing With Clients Who Think They Know Best

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Every professional has had them: clients who have a million and one questions about the latest trends in skin care as soon as their facial session begins. They, then, proceed to tell the professional what peel and facial they need and want for their skin, despite any contraindications that would clearly indicate their know-it-all request was not the right approach for their skin.

Working with this type of client can be overwhelming and frustrating. As a new aesthetician full of enthusiasm and on a mission to make a difference in the treatment room, this kind of client behavior can be very challenging.


Opinionated clients typically fit into a particular personality type and they can usually be described as extroverted, easily irritated, very self-confident, and very independent in their thinking. They communicate directly and are not easily swayed by the opinions of others. Just understanding these personality traits can have a dramatic impact on communication with that person. There is one key thing a professional can do with this type of client that will result in making such a favorable impression on them that they will see the professional as the absolute best solution to their skin care problem. For a client who confidently believes they are in charge, it is simple – place the responsibility for success squarely on their shoulders.


This might seem counter intuitive, but just think – when a client has assumed responsibility for the treatment, then the professional has catered to their need for their opinion to be heard. Place the responsibility on their shoulders, yet, perform exactly the treatment that is best for them safely and without complications by following this rule of thumb every visit. How is this done? With a very simple system designed to ask the right questions and entice the right answers out of the mouth of the client who knows best: the needs assessment. Taking a few minutes to conduct a needs assessment every single time a client comes into the spa, acknowledging their questions, and then taking back control of the conversation by asking a question in return is the best way to manage even the bossiest of clients.



To begin, use a skin analysis checklist. Some professionals might think they do not need this checklist for a variety of reasons: they have known their client a while, they have treated the client enough to know everything about their skin, the client is already on a regimen that is working for them, and so forth. But the fact is, a checklist is needed every single visit. When dealing with clients who think they know best, a checklist is the best defense. It is the system for creating loyal and awesome clients who trust their professional to tell them what they need because the checklist is what will help the professional to find their clients’ needs in the first place.


To find that need, ask questions from the checklist, such as:

  • When was the last time you really loved (or liked) your skin?
  • What did you love about your skin?
  • What challenges are you currently having with your skin?
  • What products are you currently using?
  • Are you happy with the results the products are giving you?


Repeat the client’s answers back to them in a recap of the conversation. For example: “So, what I hear you saying is that you loved your skin up to about three years ago because you did not have those wrinkles.” Pause and ask for confirmation if that is correct. “Then, you said if you could change anything, it would be the fine lines around your eyes and that crepiness along your cheek area.” Pause and ask for confirmation if that is correct. “And, you also said that you are using several different types of products at home and that you are sometimes satisfied with the results.” Again, pause for confirmation and ask if that is correct.



What comes next is the important part. Ask for permission to make recommendations. It is a simple question: “Would you like my recommendations?” In this important moment, ask the question and, then, wait for verbal permission from the client. In giving permission to make recommendations, the client relinquishes control to the expert. Once the professional is established as the expert, it will be much easier to enroll the client into a program of treatments and to make homecare recommendations for them.



When making service and homecare recommendations, always give the client the “why.” For example: “I recommend we get started today with a renewing facial. Why I recommend this treatment particularly for you is because it is exfoliating to remove the dull, dead, surface skin cells, which can make crepey skin look worse than it is. It is also packed with peptide superpower ingredients. There is matrixyl, which will begin the process of helping to remodel the structural integrity of your skin and argireline, which will help to smooth those squint and frown lines you are concerned with.” Then, ask: “Would you like to get started?” Again, pause for the client to give permission. In this moment, by granting their permission for the service, the client has now assumed responsibility for the treatment and is feeling comfortable that they are actually the one in charge.



Explain the treatment process and describe to the client what they will experience in their spa session. Always start with a thorough skin analysis to create the treatment goals. Then, each session, gradually adjust the treatment intensity. Fill out a treatment plan with homecare product recommendations and give the client a copy to take with them. Establish the importance of complementing the treatment benefits through their homecare in order to see the changes in their skin that they desire. Explaining the service process helps them understand what kind of experience they can expect.



Keep notes from every appointment about what the client’s skin concerns are, what was discussed, and the questions they had. This will also help in anticipating what they are likely to need at their next appointment. Revisit these conversations the next time they come to the spa. For example: “Last time we spoke, you mentioned during our conversation about other skin concerns and that dark spot we looked at. Now that we have gotten the smooth, hydrated look and feel to your skin, let me take care of that spot today.” Clients will appreciate the initiative taken and that their concerns and progress are being tracked. This results in the building of trust in the relationship.



Most spa professionals and business owners understand the importance of building their business through client relationships. Taking these fundamental steps from the very first meeting with a client not only helps to maintain control over the relationship, but also builds immediate trust. Once trust is built in the relationship with the client, the professional earns the right to ask for a referral. Professionals all know that service and retail sales to a referral client tend to be larger than sales resulting from any other source because of the trust mindset. So, being very proactive about clients’ needs will not only help in dealing with know-it-all clients, but will also turn those know-it-alls into the best avenue for referrals.


With these practices in place, professionals will surely gain an extroverted, very self-confident, and very independent client who will communicate directly to their close friends in their very opinionated way that there is only one place to go for a facial treatment – your spa.


Lyn Ross 2019Master aesthetician Lyn Ross founded Institut’ DERMed Spa in 1989. The Institut' DERMed Spa is a 3,000-square-foot facility, located in Atlanta, Georgia, with 11 treatment rooms offering the latest mediclinical aesthetic technologies. Ross was an originator of the cosmeceutical product and treatment concept Institut’ DERMed Clinical Skincare, which is now widely dispensed in prestigious salon spas, medical spas, and physicians’ offices. She founded the Institut’ DERMed College of Advanced Aesthetics in 1995, after years of providing patient support for the medical community to teach aestheticians, nurses, and physicians the specialized skin care and makeup techniques she developed working side by side with doctors to help patients recover after surgery.

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