Sell Yourself First
Take a moment to reflect on what it means to you to be an aesthetician. What makes you and your services unique? Why should a client choose you over another licensed professional? To acquire a loyal return client, they must be convinced that you not only provide the best services with the best products, but that you are, in fact, the best aesthetician for them. When it comes to personal care services, we all want the best of the best. Do you carry the title you have earned with an appropriate amount of weight? Are your clients confident in you to treat their skin concerns? Oftentimes, we get so caught up in not wanting to sound pushy or like a salesman in the treatment room that we forget what our job title
As aestheticians, we carry a powerhouse of knowledge about the anatomy of the skin, various skin conditions, and ingredients. We know how to treat the skin professionally in the treatment room and how to provide it with essential nutrients at home. Essentially, you are the ideal facial trainer; working out imperfections in the skin with a combination of deep pore cleansing, appropriate exfoliation, targeted facial massage, and a combination of appropriate topical actives.
Establish a Plan
To achieve real improvement in one’s skin health, we must focus on two key essential ways to treat the skin – professionally and at home. A healthy diet can be compared to proper homecare for the skin, and an effective personal training session can be compared to an effective professional skin care treatment. To maximize results in the body, you must have a combination of both – exercise and a proper diet. To maximize results in the skin, a combination of professional skin care treatments and proper homecare will yield optimum results.
The first step in establishing a plan is to understand what your client wants to achieve – what is their end goal? By asking them key questions, you can determine exactly what they want to achieve in their skin. Additionally, ask them specific background questions such as: how long they have been experiencing skin issues; whether it could be genetic, hormonal, inconsistent and improper homecare; or due to environmental circumstances. A client intake form with pointed questions can be helpful to establish how long they have suffered from their skin condition and what the cause might be. With this background information, you will be able to appropriately treat the client’s skin.
Setting up a realistic expectation of what can be achieved in the initial treatment will prevent your client from any disappointment. It will also provide you with the opportunity to educate them on what is needed to achieve desired results. Just like one cannot realistically expect to lose 10 pounds in one training session (at least not in a healthy way!), we have to set up realistic expectations for what can be accomplished in a single professional treatment. If it is a skin condition, it is going to take a combination of regular treatments and proper homecare to reach desired results. This is where you will become a partner with your client in providing them with the essential education, products, and treatment solutions that they need in order to move closer to their goal.
When developing a plan with your client, recommend the most beneficial treatment for their skin, even if they originally scheduled a different service. Explain the benefits of the treatment you recommend and how it is going to help them reach their goal. Will the treatment or add-on you recommend add to the cost of the service? Usually, this is not an issue if you have already established what the client’s goals are and how it is going to help reach that goal. Remember, you are in the business of improving the skin and to do so, you must provide your client with clear information at the outset on how that can be realistically achieved.
While working out with a personal trainer once may be a great jumpstart towards one’s fitness goals, oftentimes, more is needed than just one training session. A series of workout sessions will provide the most improvement to one’s endurance and strength building while targeting weight loss and/or building muscle mass. Likewise, plan on drawing out a treatment schedule for your client to help them reach the results they would like to see.
A personal trainer may use a boot camp program or circuit training to get their client in shape. The benefits of circuit training is that various exercises and methods are used in intervals, helping to prevent the body from plateauing. An ineffective personal trainer would not challenge a client and eventually lose their trust in them. We do not want to be the skin care professional who performs the same exact facial treatment at every one of the client’s appointments.
Providing an option for a treatment series is a great way to get clients to commit to a treatment plan, while educating them that it will be the best way to get the most rapid results. Discuss the benefits of committing to a treatment plan and how the plan you are creating for the client is going to work to treat their skin conditions. While some clients may have a preferred peel or treatment that they enjoy, I would recommend educating them on the benefits of taking a circuit therapy or rotational approach to treating their skin.
By alternating different treatments on a rotational basis, we can begin to challenge the skin to improve. Just like the athlete who does the same exact exercise routine, they will begin to see a plateau in their results. So too will a client’s skin if we do not rotate the treatments we perform. Instead of offering a treatment package for a specific facial treatment or peel, why not create a package or options that involve customization? The key to treating any skin condition professionally is a consistent routine of strategically-planned treatments.
In your strategy to build up a loyal client base, leverage your relationships with your existing clients who already love your services by implementing a referral program. With the trust you have garnered with your existing clients, offer them an incentive to refer friends and family to you. After all, everyone loves to get in shape together, and spa parties and events are a great way to invite loyal clients to bring a friend!
As a skin care professional, it is our responsibility to educate clients on what is required for them to move closer to the results they desire.
Just like one cannot expect to lose weight if they choose drive-thru fast food after their workout, our clients need to be educated on what they put on their skin at home following their treatment. Make them aware that this is going to make a huge impact on their skin’s overall health and improvement. While we can help to provide a “clean palate” in the treatment room, the client will be treating their skin on a daily basis, twice a day ideally, and what they do at home will translate to seeing the results they want – or not.
With your knowledge of ingredients and scientific skin care technology, skin care professionals are equipped to offer the best advice for what should be used on the skin on a daily basis. I would stress the importance of proper homecare and nutrition for the skin, especially after a corrective treatment where a peel or microdermabrasion was performed. After a strenuous workout, many will drink a protein shake to replace essential vitamins, protein, and amino acids. Likewise, after creating any amount of stress on the skin, such as a peel, it would be wise to recommend a program of aftercare to help heal and nourish the skin. Products that keep the skin well-hydrated and protected while adding antioxidant support are vital to help repair and boost skin nutrition.
As a part of your retail plan, utilize a client prescription sheet where you can write out a skin care routine for your client. Take the guesswork out of their homecare routine by drawing out a plan tailored to their skin’s needs. During your consultation, take note of where the client may have gaps in their skin care regimen. For example, does your client have dry skin? Here is an opportunity to recommend products like a great hydrating facial serum, home-care exfoliant, and perhaps a weekly facial mask that they can insert into their current routine to help keep the skin well-hydrated and balanced. The objective is to find what the client is missing and fill the void with a targeted solution to match their needs.
Seasonal Skin Care
As the seasons begin to change, we see a change in what our diet may look like from different seasonally-available fruits and vegetables. As we make small changes in our diet plan and add seasonal nutrition options, we should do the same for the skin. The skin is not going to act the same during summer months as it does during the winter. For that reason, changing up your client’s homecare routine year-round is essential for them to see maximum improvement in their skin’s health. For example, during the winter months, it is common for skin to feel dry or dehydrated, whereas during the summer months, skin may be more prone to being oily and will require added SPF protection and antioxidant therapy to prevent ultraviolet damage. Keeping your retail space stocked with items that do well for specific seasons will help you achieve success in retailing homecare solutions to your clients.
Consider packaging seasonal or skin type-specific skin care kits to make an easy, grab-and-go system for your clients. Also, travel size home-care kits are a great way to introduce a new skin care regimen to the hesitant buyer or a buyer on a budget. A travel size kit will offer just the right amount of product that will allow a client to see how the products work for their skin. Since a travel-size kit will last anywhere from a few weeks to a month or so, you can be sure that the client will be back to restock their supply and perhaps upgrade to full-size products.
Grab your client’s attention with cleverly-crafted, colorful, fun, and eye-catching retail displays. Enhance your retail space with easy tricks such as moving product around and highlighting featured products to keep your spa feeling fresh and new. A monthly featured retail product will call your client’s attention to a product they may have overlooked on a previous visit. Utilize shelf talkers to feature your top-selling products and make sure not to overstock your shelves with too much product. Having a limited amount (three to six) of each retail item will create the demand for purchase. An overstocked item might indicate to a potential buyer that the particular product is not desired; thus, should not
When it comes to product sampling, offer your clients a free product sample as a gift with any purchase. This will allow them to try a product they were perhaps hesitant to purchase and help increase your future product sales. Everyone loves samples! Remember, with product samples, as well as any product purchases, that your client understands proper application and product usage. Ideally, they will be leaving the spa with their prescription sheet with directions for homecare; if not, be sure to give her direct instructions on how to use the products at home.
As a skin care professional, a nice touch would be to follow up with a phone call within a week of your client’s visit to see how their skin improved with the facial treatment and if they have any questions about their homecare regimen. This is also a great time to remind the client about when the best time would be for them to come back for a follow-up treatment, if they did not re-book the same day as their service. Taking a proactive approach in treating your clients’ skin and following up with them will make you stand out as a skin care professional who really takes a personal interest in clients.
As the seasons change and your business blossoms, you can continue to keep your client’s skin healthy and fit. By taking a fitness approach to treating their skin on a rotational basis and offering them homecare solutions to match their needs, your clients will see amazing and lasting results. The best part is no push-ups are required!
Heather Fowler found herself in the skin care industry in 2011 as a licensed aesthetician after struggling with skin issues herself and being frustrated with spa treatments that seemed lacking in scientific, naturally-derived products. Since then, Fowler has tirelessly worked to launch international product line marketing campaigns, education literature, product development, and brand strategy. As business development manager for Skin Fitness Therapy, she serves as a national educator and brand manager, specializing in advanced, corrective skin care. Her expertise in marketing, merchandising, menu, and treatment development has led to successful partnerships and relationships with many licensed aestheticians, spas, and medical facilities.