Friday, 11 April 2014 17:29

Innovative Client Consultations: The Key to Client Retention

Written by Courtney Griffin Freeman, L.E.

Your goal: to capture your client, to inspire them to embrace your words and treatment protocols by truly laying out a plan of action that is different, unique and exciting! You want to wow your clients and reel them in with your knowledge, skill, and gusto. By creating the ultimate client consultation experience, you will gain a new perspective in your treatment plans, but also share a part of yourself that will stay with your clients for years to come. Our goal as aestheticians is to assist our clients in reaching their optimum skin health and wellness potential. This is your time to take complete control of your career, your image, your branding, and your client results!

Now, how do we create this amazing and innovative client consultation? Think outside the norm. Think beyond what you know or anything you have experienced. You are creating a one-of-a-kind moment for your client that far exceeds their expectations. This is your moment to capture your client's attention and share your knowledge in a professional, logical way that gives you credibility as an educator. The number one way that aestheticians fail in their careers is by never beginning it. If you are simply allowing clients to walk in and out of your treatment room without getting to know you and your philosophies on skin health and education, you will never see them again. What a harsh reality. As you can picture this image in your mind, release it and resolve to change your way of thinking as you begin a new journey. Now, find your comfortable and creative space and sit with me for a while as we delve into four crucial truths, life changers really, in client retention.

creative-spaceFind Your Creative Space

What motivates you in your aesthetics career? Give it some thought. Write down key words that come to mind, and envision a creative, inspirational space that allows you to free your mind to think as clearly as possible. Take those thoughts and bring them to reality in the form of a well-organized office area, whether this space is located in your home or in your treatment facility. Key features within this space must include access to a computer to type up documents with your own personal logo or business logo, an organized area to house your reference manuals and tools, and items that reflect your personal style and philosophies on skin health and wellness. Keep your color scheme simple. Maybe even hire a decorator. Hang up your accolades in matching frames. Whatever inspires you to be the best version of yourself is exactly what this space should be comprised of. This is your tool to the beginning of a brand new journey.
Because our careers are primarily focused on assisting our clients in achieving specific goals, the education (often most overlooked) behind it is the most important aspect of aesthetics. Use this creative space once a week or more – but definitely no less – as marketing time. Block it out on your schedule just like you would for appointments. Follow up with your clients by telephone or e-mail; review your schedule for the week; plan marketing strategies for the month and year; update your blog posts about your skin philosophies and unique treatments; and create your ultimate consultation manual within this space. You will continue to add to it, subtract from it, and use it as a guideline for consultation excellence.
We oftentimes neglect the leg work that comes with true career success. But as we know, that is what separates those who achieve from those who barely get by. Where do you want to be? Are you willing to do what it takes?

Create the Ultimate Consultation Manual

consultation-manualFirst, with the manual, have a clear picture of what your goals are. If we simply compile information and knowledge without having a clear picture of what we are trying to achieve, there will be no understanding. The ultimate consultation manual can be called anything you want, but it is essentially a tool to help hit on specific topics that you feel are important to skin health success during your client consultation. It can have sections for take-home handouts such as a list of essential vitamins and minerals for optimum skin health, a guide to client expectations with chemical peels, as well as other pertinent information that often goes in one ear and out the other during a chat session. Think about these important topics of discussion and include them in your ultimate guide book.
Obtain a large three-ring binder in a simple color and style. You can insert your logo on the front and label it. If you wish, you may also have your information professionally bound. As information is consistently changing in our industry, I personally like to see a professional binder that can easily be added to or subtracted from. Decide on what topics you feel are most important to your skin care philosophy and treatments. Utilize page protectors and tabs within your manual to separate topics for a neat, concise look. This will also assist you in covering all your bases with the client and not leaving out any points.
Think visual. As humans, we often respond to and soak up information by way of images and pictures that resonate with us. If you want to hold a quick lesson of skin at a cellular level, have images handy to explain how free radicals "steal" electrons from stable molecules and create inflammation within the body. Also, have an image of an antioxidant "donating" electrons to unstable cells, making them stable and healthy again. I find that just a simple lesson on the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors to our cellular health will resonate with clients. This is a great starting place.
To the front of the manual, among others, add topics such as your personal skin care philosophy, healthy food options for radiant skin, a short lesson on product penetration and vehicles for driving certain ingredients into the skin. These are elements in your consultation manual that allow your clients to visualize and understand aesthetics in the way you actually see it. It can be a little glimpse or journey into your mindset, if you will, which is a great place for clients to live.

Seek Out Education

The key problem with most aestheticians is the lack of continued education that broadens their perspectives on the roots of skin health. Regularly attend tradeshows, conferences and seminars on holistic healing, hormone testing, nutrition, plastic surgery procedures, dermatological procedures, and so on. And blog about it. Get the word out to your clients that you are seeking out educational tools and teaching material that will assist them in achieving their goals. There is no secret that skin health and wellness comes from a myriad of sources. Add a combined list of trusted professionals and experts who have gained your respect in the industry.
Conduct bi-weekly or monthly educational seminars for your clients within your own facility. This can take place in a small setting, in a conference room, or in an open space at the forefront of your skin center. Allow experts to back up what you have already educated your clients on, then elaborate on it. If you slowly grow and expand the mindset of your client, they will consistently hang on for more. This also allows your words to ring true in the minds of your clients, as they relate what you are saying with another credible source.
As a licensed professional, seeking continued education is key to your long-term success, but also assists you in gaining credibility with your clients as an educator. Additionally, the more you exercise aesthetics ethics and excellence with your clients by truly caring about their own education, the stronger your client retention and long-term success!

Create the Ultimate "Experience"

experienceYou have a thorough understanding of skin from the cellular level. You have your own philosophies and a marketing of the brand that is uniquely you. Now create a comfortable and inviting, yet professional, space for your clients to sit, sip on fresh water with cucumber or green tea and lay it all out. Have clients fill out a detailed client intake form. Be sure to customize your intake forms with questions that assist you in helping them achieve their particular goals, along with other pertinent information that is crucial to your treatment protocols. Have your organized and professional client consultation manual on hand, along with copies made of important documents that you may want them to take with this as homework or outside reading. Again, act as a quick educator for your clients. Provide them with modern, up-to-date information and build credibility, trust and respect between you and your client.
Creating this fantastic space and journey for your client only ties together when your client get you. Be relevant in your speech, speak professionally. Utilize words and hand motions that help paint a picture for your client in order to increase their understanding of skin from a broad perspective. Practice presenting your consultation to your clients, tailoring it to fit their personal concerns, background, health history, and ultimate goals. When your client reaches that "aha!” moment with you, hangs onto your every word, and continually seeks out your advice and assistance, you know that you have won the game and a client for life.

In closing, never forget to embrace who you are and the passion that brought you to this industry. Oftentimes, we get lost in the day-to-day exchange. Be innovative, fresh, and new for your clients. Keep researching and obtaining more knowledge. As you grow within yourself, you will continue to grow with your clients ever-changing lives of uncertainty. We must never stay stagnant in our thinking or actions. You will surely win the race in life if you are always one (or two) steps ahead. Keep on inspiring others and changing the world!

Freeman-2014Courtney Griffin Freeman’s background as a medical spa manager and licensed aesthetician gives the perfect blend of business skills, client relations, and results-oriented skin care therapies to students on their journey as licensed professionals. Freeman's sincere passion for motivating others and desire to make a positive change in the aesthetics industry is what inspired the formation of Southeastern Aesthetics Institute. She currently manages and maintains a regular schedule of seeing her amazing clients in the medical spa setting alongside teaching. She also has a precious little boy named Gunner who lights up her life.

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