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Tuesday, 23 May 2006 16:17

Move Masks: Selling Retail Masks

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Masks are an incredibly effective part of one’s skin care regimen. Perfect pre-date or post-party as emergency care and weekly as a treatment routine, masks rule the medicine cabinet. So why are they are collecting dust on your shelves? Moving your retail masks requires participation of the aesthetician, spa management, the brand, and believe it or not, the client. Reverse the cycle and increase sales by learning the 10 reasons why the product is not moving:

  • Your Aestheticians do not want to sell

Often I find that aestheticians have a negative idea of the selling process; mention of the word “sales” immediately conjures up the image of ladies spraying perfume on disinterested consumers in a department store. So why is there a negative perception of sales? For many, selling presents a dilemma: How can I sell products while protecting my relationship with the client and avoid appearing pushy or insincere? In general, many aestheticians are actually afraid of being rejected by their clients due to their pre-existing negative connotations of the selling process.
So what can you as Spa Management do to overcome these negative sentiments? First thing’s first, ask your staff if the product for sale is a product that they would use or recommend to a friend. If the answer is no and assuming that your staff is educated on the product, and then they have no faith in the products you are retailing. A customer can always tell when a salesperson does not believe in the product or service that she is promoting. Passion for a product is what translates into sales.
I cannot emphasize the importance of retail sales training enough. Find out if your vendors offer sales education classes; this is a great way to focus on overcoming your staff’s fear of the selling process while learning how to overcome objections. While product knowledge classes are extremely important, they do not take the place of good ‘ol sales training. All the ingredient information available won’t motivate a fearful employee to sell.

  • Your Aestheticians do not know their role in the sales process

Are selling products an important part of your aestheticians’ job description? If not, management has failed to define what is expected regarding selling. The majority of spas that do very well selling retail products have a serious sales program in place that is consistently monitored and rewarded. Create a sales program that routinely integrates retail into all services. Successful programs make selling a non-threatening and smooth process for both the aesthetician and the customer. Giving product recommendations after a service is a natural sales opportunity to recommend home care products that increase the efficacy and results of an in-spa treatment. Generate competitive excitement through internal sales contests, where rewards will be given on various levels (i.e. Most Improved Sales, Highest Sales, etc.).

  • Your staff is not educated and trained consistently

There is nothing worse than an aesthetician that is not well-versed in the product line that they are using and selling. Today’s spa client is savvy and has a working knowledge of ingredients and their benefits. Make sure that your vendor offers product knowledge classes and take advantage of them frequently to keep your staff on top of their game.

  • Your Aestheticians are not recommending comprehensive regimens

For every spa treatment that is administered, a comprehensive at-home regimen must be recommended. Each time a client leaves the spa without an aesthetician’s recommendation, a potential sale is lost. Masks are an integral part of a skin care regimen that is easy to use and enhance the effectiveness of treatments. Make sure that the skin care prescription includes a full regimen of cleanser/toner, serum, mask and moisturizer along with directions for proper usage and frequency. In all likelihood your client will not purchase all of the aforementioned products, though having a prescription for a proper regimen will encourage future sales. Keeping track of the products that you sell to each client is an effective way to reinforce your commitment to your clients’ pursuit of great skin.

  • There is no brand recognition for the product you are carrying

Choosing to stock a line with good brand recognition is vital. While your staff should be trained and well-versed in all products that the spa carries, consumer recognition of the line will ultimately determine whether or not the register rings. Some important factors to consider include whether or not the lines that you carry advertise nationally and gets ample editorial coverage in national, regional and even local publications. Make sure that you are aware of vendor advertising and public relations efforts. Remind customers of current ad campaigns through countercards of advertisements placed in your retail area. Display editorial features next to the products mentioned to generate excitement. If you work with a vendor that is not marketing their product offerings to the end-consumer, it’s time to re-think your offerings.

  • Your Merchandising is poor

Merchandising, as used in a marketing context, refers to the promotion of merchandise sales by developing your display and sales strategies to increase retail sales. Merchandising encompasses concerns about pricing, physical presentation of products and displays, and the decisions as to what products are presented to which customers. All too often, I visit spas that do not realize the importance of well-thought out merchandising-and it’s obvious. Products should be organized in a consumer-friendly manner. Whether your products are grouped by category or by skin type, make sure your displays make sense and are easy to navigate.
Keep your shelves well-stocked, making sure to re-order consistently—nothing says “we’re open for business” better than a full retail area. Bare shelves make the products appear old and unpopular.
Cleanliness in your retail area is imperative for a maintained appearance. Products and shelves should be dusted daily. Product testers should be kept clean, and make sure to wipe down lids of caps to keep them sanitary.
Always make sure that the merchandising of your retail area reflects the way you would like your spa and vendors to be perceived.

  • Your clients are not educated on the importance of masks in a regimen

While many consumers nowadays are knowledgeable on the subject of skin care from magazines and television and well-versed in current ingredient trends, it is your job to educate your clients on the importance of a regimen. Masks are quick, easy, effective and hey-fun to use! Explain the importance of the at-home treatment and how it will aid in resolving skin concerns. Keep your vendors collateral information, including pamphlets and product information, handy to share with your clients. Hold an educational night at the spa and ask your skin care vendor to send a representative to explain the purpose of the masks in their collection, focusing on main ingredients and results.

  • You are not carrying a selection of masks for all skin conditions

Are you carrying masks for all skin concerns? If not, you may be compromising your product sales by not offering all clients effective at-home product masks. Know your clients and stock your shelves accordingly. If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it and your client will go elsewhere. Your spa is administering the treatment and you deserve the sale!

  • You do not have a sampling program

I am a firm believer that a client should never leave the spa empty-handed. Because masks are considered a secondary purchase to more popular cleansers, exfoliators, and moisture creams, make sure that you have ample samples of the masks that you carry on-hand so you can disperse samples to your clients that compliment their existing routines. Be wary of over-sampling or “giving away the house,” as greedy clients can take advantage of generous sampling in replace of purchasing retail product. It is important that your entire staff understands what your sampling policy is, how to disperse samples and how to answer client questions regarding usage. When a client purchases a moisture cream why not sample them a complimentary serum and mask? Let your clients see results from a comprehensive regimen.

  • The product is bad!

If all else fails, reevaluate the products efficacy. Make sure the products you are retailing are qualitatively in line with your spa, your philosophies and your treatment menu. All too often I see very high-end spas carrying relatively low-end retail offerings. Keep up with industry news, new ingredients in the market and sought-after products, and tailor your retail offerings. Remember that today consumers can buy masks in drugstores, department stores, specialty stores, beauty supply stores and online; ask yourself if your product offering is unique, exclusive and most importantly, effective.

Take time to assess where your spa stands on this list, considering your strengths and weaknesses. All great businesses, spas included, consistently reevaluate every area in order for continued growth. Masks present an easy sales opportunity that is commonly overlooked for other retail categories. Having a great product is not enough. It takes management, aestheticians, vendors, and clients to close a sale-and a great product to make a repeat sale.

Jacqueline Flam is the Director of Marketing & Sales for Lachman Imports, the exclusive distributor for Guinot Paris in the United States. Currently available in over 70 countries, Guinot Paris is globally celebrated as the source of radiant skin. Jacqueline has extensive experience in the fields of marketing, public relations, sales and promotions-and uses masks regularly.

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