One of the best parts of being an aesthetician is the opportunity to meet new people every day. A great first impression can turn a new face into a repeat client. Imagine knowing the formula for
that conversion. What does a great first impression truly entail? What are the steps for sending the right message from the beginning?
A first impression is formed in less than seven seconds and most of that impression is non-verbal. Body language communicates intentions and many aspects of who a person is. It also plays a key role in building trust and presenting a professional image.
“You want to have congruency between your verbal
and non-verbal communications,” says Leo Cardenas, a keynote speaker and expert in body language. “When they don’t match, it can make you appear insecure, deceptive, or untrustworthy.”
Here are pointers for a great first impression.
Reset between appointments with a deep breath and a smile. Be sure to bring a neutral energy to each new client. A professional may have been booked through lunch or lifted skin on the last eyebrow wax, but no matter the preceding situation, their next client deserves to meet the professional’s best self. Take a moment to straighten posture, breathe, and have a clear mind. It is amazing the difference closing one’s eyes and smiling can make in the way an individual feels and the way he or she is perceived.
GREET CLIENTS WITH OPEN ARMS
When approaching a client, be sure hands are free and out of pockets. Out-turned palms indicate a welcoming body language. Closed fists can indicate stress, tension, contempt, or anger. Cardenas notes, “Even something as simple as carrying a clipboard or a patient folder in front of your torso instead of down by your side can convey being closed-off or defensive, which can put your client on edge.” Greet clients with eye contact and a warm smile.
GIVE THEM A GOOD SHAKE
A handshake! Touch is a key element of a skin care professional’s service. Physical contact releases oxytocin in the brain, which lowers heart rate and cortisol, the stress hormone. Start the appointment off right with a solid handshake and eye contact. It conveys confidence in self and in the ability to meet their needs. A study of the service industry showed that tips increased by 40 percent when the server shook the patron’s hand. Executing a good handshake could literally be an investment.
READ THEIR BODY LANGUAGE
Communication is a two-way street. Read their body language cues to help reset their energy to neutral. Are they averting their eyes? Furrowing their brow? Carrying their shoulders high or tense? When they are speaking, what is the speed and pitch of their voice? Many people mirror body language in a conversation, so to help the client feel calm and dialed down, it will help to soften one’s own body language. Drop the shoulders, relax facial expressions, slow speech, and use a spa voice. It is okay to let them know some people are nervous about their first wax or facial. Feel free to ask them, “What can I do to make you more comfortable?” This allows them to feel like they can communicate openly.
Body language in a first impression can set the tone for a professional relationship. Incorporating the techniques above can help increase client retention rates. When a client trusts their professional and feels confident in their abilities as a skin care expert, they will come back to see them again. A repeat client is the ultimate compliment.