Hone Your Retail Skills: 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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Aestheticians proactively care for the future of their clients’ skin. We want to improve the here and now, while ensuring the health of their skin down the road. If you consider the concept of the 80/20 rule, professional services treat and maintain only 20% of the skin’s appearance, the other 80% is completely in the hands of a client’s homecare regimen.


Using the 80/20 rule when you approach the ever-dreaded thought of selling, the entire concept of selling is negated, and you are left with fulfilling the professional responsibility to care for the client’s skin.


The fact is, as skin care professionals, our job is to educate clients on what is best suited to meet their skin needs and to maintain healthy, beautiful skin, versus simply retailing products. Equally as important, your ability to retail products to clients increases your income, helps you to reach your own personal business goals, and keeps satisfied clients coming back.


The most common mistakes made when selling are unintentional and can be easily avoided by taking a closer look at how the aesthetician guides the treatment and sets up a client’s expectations. Here are three common retail mistakes.



The most powerful tool, besides those hands of yours, is the client consultation. An effective and thorough conversation will give you the best insight into the type of client you have in the treatment room.


Do they have a homecare regimen? Are the products they are using performing the way they want them to? What are they looking to achieve during the treatment? Where do they want to see their skin in three months? Six months? Have them describe their skin to you.


The way a client answers will let you know if they are just starting out, if they have invested in their skin for many years, or if they are just recently experiencing a change in their skin.


When you ask specific and insightful questions, it establishes your level of expertise and starts the process of building a relationship. Focusing on open ended questions will encourage the client to share details that they could have possibly left out with a simple yes or no. This information will then be utilized throughout the service to make product connections based on a client’s own individual concerns that they have voiced and then reiterated at the point of sale.




Most people tend to approach selling in a way that reflects their own personal buying style and can carry a small sense of guilt when pursuing a sale. The idea here is that nobody wants to pressure a client into purchasing something that we may or may not feel is in our own budget.


The key is to focus on the facts. During the consultation, you have established a reason for the client’s visit and are professionally obligated to provide them with education and suggestions on how they can obtain their skin care goals. The old saying “Do not judge a book by its cover” is tried and true. Never assume that you know what a client is willing to buy or not buy. Pay attention to the feedback and body language of your client, then educate and recommend until they tell you they are satisfied.




Fluency in product knowledge will combat much of the stress involved in selling. Having a deep understanding of the features and benefits within a product line will alleviate the difficulty of making concrete recommendations with the creation of result-driven treatment plans.


Confidence is key. When you can organically express the effectiveness of a product and how to correctly utilize it in a homecare regimen, you establish trust with clients. You create the expectation in your clientele that you are to be considered a reliable and trustworthy confidante when it comes to their skin care questions. Your knowledge should also extend beyond the bottle. Constantly strive to educate yourself on current skin care trends to support your status as an authority on everything skin related.


Honing your retail skills should be ongoing throughout your career. Taking a solid look at your approach and customizing it to each client is something that constantly evolves through each experience. Holding yourself accountable for continually striving to offer accurate and current information will ensure success.


Remember to be genuine. The selling of products should be a conversation based on the needs of the individual client. Remind yourself of why you became an aesthetician. Did you experience issues with your skin that made you want to help others? Did you want to improve clients’ skin so they could have the confidence to be their best self? The answers to these questions should act as the driving force behind your advice, recommendations, and treatments.


Education and results-centered care should be at the forefront of the retail experience. Utilizing these simple tips and reminding yourself of the “don’ts” will get you on the right track to your retail goals and will enhance the client’s overall retail experience.


Heather GuyHeather Guy is a licensed aesthetician, licensed instructor, and author. She has several years of industry experience, as well as experience in management and retailing. Guy now dedicates her knowledge and passion to the education of future aestheticians at the Aesthetic Science Institute. Her expertise allows her to implement life experiences into her classroom and articles.

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