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Gift Certificates are the Perfect Gift

The holidays are once again upon us! With this time of year comes a lot of hustle and bustle, list making and gift buying – and a lot of sales opportunities for you and/or your staff. One of the most common of these, of course, is that of gift certificates. But even though the sales of these handy stocking stuffers are pretty much a given, there are a number of techniques for making your gift certificate sales better than ever. Here are a few ideas to improve your sales and results. 

Set a Gift Certificate Sales Goal
Goal setting is one tool than can increase action and results in any area of your business, including holiday and gift certificate sales. Begin your path to profits by setting a realistic but challenging goal for the holidays and your gift certificate sales. Your goals should be specific, realistic, and attainable. Example: If you only sold $500 in gift certificates last year, do not expect to sell $10,000 this year. But do not be afraid to push yourself, try different things, and reach for levels you never imagined before. Once you know what you are aiming for, you will feel inspired and motivated about taking action to reach the goal(s) you set. It should also encourage you to have some fun while striving for increased results.

One way to get your whole team involved in achieving your gift certificate goals is by having a staff incentive contest. Start by letting everyone in on your magic gift certificate sales number. Then offer them perks and motivators for doing their part in helping you reach the goal as well as benchmarks along the way. These need not be expensive treats but could include things like free products, certificates for services or coffee, lunch on you, or even an impromptu staff party at the neighborhood bowling alley. By spreading the effort out among everyone in the spa, you will be much more likely to get the outcome you are striving for.
So what if you do not have any employees or team members? No problem! Why not have a contest with your clients instead? Encourage them to buy a greater number of certificates by offering bonus certificates, products or service upgrades for every $50 to $100 purchased. Or give gift buyers a chance to win a big grand prize; for every certificate they buy as a gift over the holidays – enter them in a drawing or raffle. Of course you may want to set a minimum purchase amount or other restrictions.
Either way, you are creating a win-win opportunity for everyone who participates in the gift certificate giving season; and of course you can brainstorm about your own ideas on how to reach your goal. But, if you make buying and selling gift certificates exciting and rewarding, more people will likely get involved in the fun and send your sales through the roof.

Start by Offering Some Ready to Go Holiday Service and Gift Packages
Offering packages, series specials, and other bundled services is a great way to increase your sales and gift certificate revenues during the holidays as well as the rest of the year. If you do not already offer a few of these on your menu, start by creating packages that appeal to different groups to which your business caters. For example, have a men's package, mother-to-be package, teen package, and a couples' or romance package. You can also offer holiday themed treatments in a package as well as your most popular services.
To make things easy for those who shop with a budget in mind, group or feature packages by price points or increments from least expensive to most expensive. Then clients can easily see what fits into their budget without having to ask. Here is an example of how you might tell a client about your new or featured packages:

"Jane, I just wanted to let you know that Spa La La is offering some really cool packages for the holidays this year. There are five different ones available but my favorite one is the Uptown Downtime Package. It includes a 90 minute Some Like It Hot Stone Massage, an Uptown Sangria Honey Facial, and a Get Downtime Pedicure with a complimentary glass of wine or tea during your pedicure. Doesn't that sound great? Here is the list of all our holiday features and specials for you to peruse or share."
Once you have got your packages selected, create a flyer or sign that can be posted in treatment rooms and client areas as well as the front desk. Make sure anyone answering the phone or talking to clients knows about the featured packages. And of course, remember to promote all your packages and specials on your website.
Make things simple for those last minute shoppers or others who hate to wrap (think men), make up a few gift bags that include a certificate for your most popular service(s) or packages along with gift or regular sized skin, body, or relaxation products that are ready to go. Then just build the cost of the product(s) into the gift bag price. This is actually a really easy way to bump up retail and gift certificate sales. Besides, it makes gift certificates seem a little more personal than just a plastic card alone does.

Get Your Clients in the Spirit of Giving, Receiving, and Buying with a Holiday Event
Now you may be thinking that events are too much work or cost more than you can afford, but I totally disagree. You can do something simple at your office or spa for your clients and prospects with just a little planning, partnering, and creativity. Here is a few ideas right from some of my own past events:

  • Have an upscale girl's night out with a Champagne Makeover Session. Set a price for each person to attend and then include the most logical services or mini-services that you offer for each guest to look their best. Depending on what you offer, this could include a makeover, manicure, pedicure, polish changes, hair-cut, up-do, brow shaping, or even Botox injections. Serve each person a glass of champagne with their services or simply work it into some of your services. A Pink Champagne Pedicure sounds like fun, right? To make this even more affordable and further-reaching, partner with a local winery or wine shop to provide the beverages (and pedicure bubbles). Allow them to invite their clients as well and to promote their business at the event in exchange for providing the bubbly.
  • To draw a larger or mixed group of people, you can simplify by doing a Thanksgiving Toast, Egg Nog Social, or some other seasonal gathering. Then you can spread some holiday cheer to your clients through a simple reception with you and your staff. Activities can include things like a Holiday Fashion Show, New Year’s Makeup Tips demonstration, Relaxation Remedies class, or you can just make it a big party. Whatever you choose, you will want to have some "event only" specials or features for retail products, gift certificates, and pre-booked appointments that are only good during the event. Since, the holidays are all about giving, make sure you have plenty of gift bags ready to fill up with purchases made that day as well as some kind of party favor – perhaps a popular or holiday product sample - for everyone who came by.
  • Take your event a step further and invite other complementary businesses to take part. This could include jewelers, furriers, accessory and clothing shops, dermatologists, chocolatiers, bakeries, caterers, and fitness clubs – really anyone who has a similar or complementary type of clientele or business. In addition to allowing everyone to promote the event to their own clients, ask each participating business to donate a product or gift certificate to be given away in a drawing at the event.
  • If your event is one that you charge people to attend, doing what you can to offer deeper values – such as providing them with a thank you gift - can make them really feel like they got their money's worth as well. Have plenty of supplies on hand for providing whatever services you are featuring and be creative about what you decide to do and promote for your event.
  • Take the time to do some basic planning and organizing so everything runs smoothly. Be sure that everyone on your team knows what the schedule and goals are for the party. Have a plan for how you will each follow up with the guests afterward. And more important than anything else, make sure you and your employees are there to do whatever it takes for everyone - including all of you - to having a great time.

Make Gift Certificates Available and Easy for Clients to Buy
One big rule of success in business is not to make assumptions. Thus, it is important not to assume that your clients know that you sell gift certificates. Make sure your clients are aware that you sell gift certificates in-house and online. This information should be prominently featured on your website, brochure, social media sites, and in the spa. It should also be a part of any e-mail campaigns or ads that you run as well.
Throughout the year, but especially during the holidays, remember to ask every client if they need to purchase gift certificates. Do this in the same way you ask them if they would like to reschedule their next appointment or buy another package of sessions or classes. This practice is very common – especially during “the season” and your clients will most likely not be upset by the question. Often they will in fact be grateful for the reminder!

Here is a sample script I use when teaching this technique to front desk professionals:
You: “How was your massage today, Jennifer?”
Client: “My massage was great.”
You: “Well, I am so glad you enjoyed it? Would you like to schedule another appointment with Mary or for another service while you are here?”
Client: “Sure. Can I get a 90 Minute Hot Stone Massage next Friday at 2 p.m.?”
You: “Absolutely. I’ve got you down. Do you need any gift certificates today?”
Client: “Now that you mention it, I do want to give something to my daughter’s soccer coach for the holidays. Let me get a $50 gift certificate.”
You: “Here is your certificate, Jennifer. Let me also give you a flyer with all of our new packages on it.”
Client: “Wow that looks great. I’m definitely going to tell my husband about the Forty and Fabulous package so that he can get it for me this year.”

When clients are unable to decide on their purchase or they are not ready to buy a certificate at the time of checkout, let them know that they can purchase them online 24/7. You can also direct clients who call in for information to the website for a complete listing of all services and packages available, as well as to purchase online gift certificates. This is an incredible timesaver for most spas and can drastically increase the overall gift certificate sales volume.
Whether your point of sale software or website has its own online gift certificate module or you use a gift certificate company. Providing online gift certificates for your clients is a time-saving, profit-making tool that is an absolute must of today’s digital world.
However you decide to promote your business for the holidays, the biggest keys for a successful promotion are 1) taking action on getting it up and running, 2) making sure your whole staff is informed and able to explain the promotion easily, and 3) sharing the news with your clients. Once you decide how you are celebrating the season, spread the word on your website, in your e-mails, and in person. Then get ready to give, sell, and celebrate!

Felicia Brown, LMBT is a licensed massage therapist and the owner of Spalutions, a firm that provides continuing education, business consulting, and marketing coaching to spa and wellness professionals. Brown is also an approved NCBTMB provider and Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach. 336-508-0790, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.spalutions.com

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