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Wednesday, 25 May 2011 00:26

Double Your Treasure

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Every spa has them — those treatment products and gift items that seemed like such a good idea when you added them to your inventory. Trouble is they’re sticking around like in-laws that have overstayed their welcome. It’s costing you money to keep them hanging around… money you need. Not to mention the space they take up that you’d like to dedicate to something more productive. By now your employees have soured on trying to sell the old stock, and customers never did seem to pay attention to it. What to do?
Before hauling out the old wicker sale basket and filling it with those seemingly dead items, consider an easy option that will not only get the items into shoppers’ bags but at full price too! This isn’t trickery we’re suggesting here; just the application of a little bit of human psychology. How can you go wrong?

Gift Certificate Sales
You may be aware by now that the media and consumer protection groups are warning shoppers to avoid the purchase of gift cards and certificates now that businesses large and small have been struggling recently. After all, no one wants to be stuck with a worthless piece of paper or plastic, yet those gift certificate sales are often a vital lifeline for spa operators and those that work with the clients receiving them. But people still need to buy holiday and special occasion gifts, so why not make yours not only more appealing but also a safer bet for the customer? Here’s a great strategy for assuring these important sales and simultaneously reducing your slow-selling stock.
First of all, it’s helpful to understand the mind of the gift buyer. Most are not nearly as familiar with your products and services as you are, so never assume that they know exactly what they are going to buy from you — they don’t — which means that they are very open to your suggestions, particularly male shoppers. Secondly, and most importantly, bear in mind that the purpose of the gift purchase is to please the recipient: meaning, the purchaser will receive their pleasure by delighting the individual to whom the gift is going. Both have something to enjoy after the purchase is made. Therefore, you can create gift concepts that will not only be a pleasure when received, but also once the spa visit is being enjoyed. Let’s get creative here! Try packaging a service/product gift such as the following:

Holiday Stress Escape
The perfect “time-out” for the busy, overwhelmed woman or man in need of a break from the stresses of real-world demands! Our compact spa experience will be a welcome retreat for your friend-in-need while making it easy on their already time-pressed schedule. An Energy Balancing Massage works to unlock inner tension and deliver a deep sense of well-being. The Restoration Facial Treatment will smooth the skin, produce a healthful glow, and further promote a feeling of peace and calm.
Included in the package is our special lavender eye pillow and aromatic room spray with instructions for creating a calming and relaxing experience at home. No waiting for the spa appointment to begin a spa-oriented lifestyle! This is a gift your recipient will thank you for again and again! $XXX

Winter Skin Body Smoother
The ravages of dry, cold air make the skin feel rough, tingly, and uncomfortable. Eliminate that common problem with our deeply relaxing and skin softening spa experience! Beginning with a thorough and vigorous aromatic Sea Salt Scrub, rough, dry skin is gently removed from shoulders to toes producing a smoother overall feel. Followed by our unique Hydrating Massage Treatment, not only is the body bathed in water-retaining moisturizers, but brought to a profound level of personal rest.
The Winter Skin Body Smoother comes with a special “Winter Defense” kit that will keep the skin in top shape before and after the spa visit. $XXX
With these packages, you not only sell delayed services but retail products now! Also, by printing the package descriptions on separate sheets or cards instead of in your main service menu, you have the freedom to change the retail product description at will, thereby including whatever products you still have as others become depleted. In the body package, you can include whatever products you want so long as the price reflects them. You may want to average out the value of the package by only selecting products that total something close to the package price when added in.

How to Sell the Programs
It’s easy! Most gift buyers, as we said, are open to your suggestions. Hand the gift buyer a spa menu to shop from and many will stand in confusion as they look over options they really don’t understand. Better to do the following:
“We have so many options that it may be a bit confusing to pick out the right gift. Can I make a suggestion for you?” Ask who the recipient will be. “We have something every woman that receives it just loves! I hope I get one this year!” Then, proceed to describe one of the packages you want to promote:
“The Winter Skin Body Smoother is something your wife will really be thrilled about. Not only will her skin feel like silk afterward, but she’ll also have a probably much-deserved break from stress. You’ll get a lot of appreciation from her for that! What’s also very cool about it is that it comes with a home bath and shower skin care kit which is great because she’ll have something fun to use right away before coming in to the spa!”

Don’t get technical about the services, just emphasize the physical and emotional joys of the experience and that’ll sell it on the spot. Make it sound fun and like a big symbol of affection for the recipient. Then, you wrap up whatever retail products you’ve selected for the package with the gift card or certificate and send the happy shopper on his or her way. This really works! In the event that the shopper is hesitant to pay up-front for the service package because of worries about losing his or her money, you can create a gift certificate that’s secured on file by a credit card, charging that card only when the recipient comes in to redeem it, but charging for the retail portion at the point of purchase. Be sure to charge the card in advance of beginning the appointment, so you’ll know that the card is valid or has an available balance at the time of use!
Good luck and keep a positive outlook on your business future!

Douglas Preston is the president of Preston Incorporated, Preston Spa Consulting, and Preston Private Label Products. He is a business consultant and frequent lecturer in the day and medical spa industry that’s been featured on CNN and Fine Living channels as well as America Online’s The Startup 2 small business reality series. Preston’s business articles regularly appear in DERMASCOPE, Spa Management Journal, and numerous other magazines. He also contributes as an editorial advisor to several respected spa trade publications. Preston is past-president of Aesthetics International Association (AIA), has served as a committee chairman for The Day Spa Association (DSA), and trains internationally for spa and salon businesses. He is a highly regarded authority in professional skin care and spa career development – licensed as a professional aesthetician in California since 1982. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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