Updated: Feb 20
(Article written for Pro Beauty Loft Magazine, July 2020)
I hear so many excuses for not giving consultations: “I don’t have time”, “They come here to relax”, “It’s a body massage”, “I am a therapist ….”
After many years in the Spa industry, I have come to realise that if a therapist doesn’t give a consultation, it is usually because she simply doesn’t know how.
The other day, in need of a bit of pampering I went for a facial. I was treated by a lovely therapist who obviously had no idea how to handle the consultation. On realising I was over 45 she insisted I must surely be worried about my oh so problematic wrinkles. This was despite the fact I’d made it quite clear to her it was the spots on my chin that were my problem that day. She tried to upsell a treatment, but the anti-aging range was not what I had in mind.
I am very seldom given a consultation when I’m in a spa or salon environment, and when I am the experience I have just described is fairly typical. Of particular concern is the lack of consulting around massages & waxing but also when Brenda the customer who is a regular and has been coming to the salon for over 15 years! I know everything about her life but fail to ask her anything about her skin because we have passed that!
On delivering countless retail training sessions, we observe the stress of the therapist when it comes to consultation, however, delivering a consultation every time will ensure that you are focusing on the right results for the client! You don’t go to the dentist and he makes you sit down on the chair, asks you to open your mouth and he gets on with his treatment? (if you do, you need to rethink your dentist!)
I am pretty sure that if he looked in your mouth straight away, he would know what you are doing or not doing, where the pain is etc, he spent years studying and practicing on patients! But it wouldn’t be reassuring on the customer’s point of view… you might worry as to what he would do to your teeth… Why do we allow this when it comes to the skin / hair??
Surely you want to reassure the client that you are the expert?
One day I had a call from a client who had the retail training with me and she said: “My Brenda who comes for waxing every 4 weeks for the past 15 years admitted to me the other day that she went to a competitor who was having a skin event, had a mini facial and bought £300 worth of products”.
What did you learn from that? I asked.
“That I know everything about her husband’s affair and children’s schools, but I forgot to ask her about her skin…. She never tried anything else in my salon”
Treat every customer as an opportunity to upsell, cross-sell and generate loyalty to you for all of their needs.
There are 5 key reasons why consultations are key to increasing your revenue:
Targeted information: the more I know about my customer, the more I can target my marketing to him/ her and the more likely I am to interest him/her in my spa / salon -
Generates customer loyalty: I would have been ok discussing my wrinkles had she actually listened to what I was telling her and acted on my concerns. She would then have gained my trust. Rebooking occurs when the client trusts the expert.
Increases Retail sales: the more you answer the needs of the client, the more you are likely to retail from the treatment you have just provided.
Encourages Upselling and Cross-selling: Upselling a necessary treatment with a higher price. Cross-selling to ensure other departments get busy and the customer stays under one roof instead of spending their money elsewhere.
Results driven: even in a relaxation treatment, results are expected. Results answer the customer’s need which in turn gives you all of the above mentioned. It also ensures your growing reputation.
If you make the consultation a focus, you will see an increase in revenue as consultations are the key to all treatments, and when conducted well will generate more satisfying results… And results-driven treatments are surely what wellness is all about?
Blog post taken from Valerie's article for Professional Beauty Magazine.