Sales.... The Dirty Word of Beauty?

A customer tries on a new hat in the millinery department of Bourne and Hollingsworth on Londons Oxford Street in 1942  D6596

Whether we like it or loathe it sales is at the essence of everything associated with the beauty industry. You can try to run from it but it’s going to keep coming at you, just like Groundhog Day, sooner or later you will succumb and embrace it.

Depending on your perspective of this four letter word, some of you will be screwing your nose up in refusal, while others may be saying - well dah and know all too well the importance of sales. Either way, it’s the only tangible and measurable way to monitor the success of our decisions in business.

For example, you can give a 10/10 for an experience, let’s say a sports massage but that doesn't mean £10 more in your bank, if a client has enjoyed then they will happily pay. And if not, then they will complain and we may have to provide some kind of compensation to try to get the client back, the rating just went down to 7/10 and that could mean -£10. By then, the damage is done and without some suave intervention that client may well never find their way back to you, and certainly not any of the clients’ friends. You don't get second chances anymore, there is just so much competition!

I spent a lot of time previously analysing statistics of my clients, looking at where the main revenue streams were coming from and looking at ways to improve, capitalise or overcome to stay ahead of the competition. How to market more effectively to the target audience, what style of promotions worked best, ultimately it came down to, how can we translate our services to clients so that they would want to buy and buy again from us. Sales figures show how successful marketing is and how effectively we have used our resources to communicate this through to customers. If a business wants to grow and sustain itself through testing times, then it has to constantly be on the ball, be innovative; without might I say, cannibalising itself.

The best form of sales is through personal contact – I don't mean grabbing your client by the rough of the neck and dragging them into your business releasing them on ransom of a booking. I mean by taking a close look at your biggest assets. If you have to convince yourself about this, then it may be time for a company re-evaluation. The biggest assets are your people, know who they are, what they are currently capable of AND what their potential is with the right encouragement and development. Think about it, flowers don't bloom without sustenance, fuel that energises inspiration and growth.

It’s been a long term complaint in the industry that beauty therapists just don't like to sell, when in fact they do it every day, successfully. This is seen in the statistics when you review 'popular' treatments and in particular, re-bookings. You may also notice these are the most talked about treatments amongst your team and the ones where the best results are seen. But this is not really where the complaints are centered, the general consensus lies firmly around retail sales. I would have to say, that many therapists enjoy this aspect and sell very well, they are confident, know their products and prescribe with sincerity. This also takes experience and feeling comfortable within your own skin.

Finishing college, I was eager to practice my new skills. I landed my first job in a small salon which provided no training, and even though I had no prior training of the product, I was told to sell or be replaced. Well this was like jumping into an ice pool, a little shock to the system and difficult to maneuver through, and well like the old saying, I certainly wasn't dazzling clients with brilliance...I realised I needed to go back to what I knew and felt confident in, but also where other more experienced therapists that I could continue to learn from. I was faced with sales targets and selling anti-ageing products to ladies asking me does this really work? The number of times I could put 'really' into an answer, including, it’s really going to lift, it’s really firming and you will really notice a difference, when 'really' I didn’t have a clue! but that’s what it said on the bottle. My sales targets just looked like a menagerie in the desert. But that didn't stop me trying, by listening to my peers and noting a difference between the ones who were confidant and those outside of their comfort zone.

Each person had their own style and seemed to attract their own types of clients. Meanwhile my regular clients were increasing and following my recommendations, talking with them became more comfortable, felt natural. Their skin was my concern and getting results was the target. I was learning their skin types and making adjustments to their treatment program in the salon and homecare.

I often hear, from many therapists, they just don't like to sell or they don't want to sell for the sake of selling to hit a monthly target. For this I would agree, clients will run a mile. The same applies with b2b sales, strategising and planning ahead for long term goals; don't push your clients to meet immediate targets without a plan, as this overstocks accounts leading to desert orders and a deficit in sales figures that become harder to achieve targets.

But do sell for the right reasons, its important part of customer service to recommend, promote and encourage after consultation to make a difference to your clients/accounts and that means really understanding your customer’s needs.

Good sales is about being honest and delivering a good or service that can meet and ideally exceed customers expectations to bring them back to try something new or have more.

Having sales objectives is a healthy necessity for human and business development.

Don’t fight it, be successful!


Best Wishes, Felicity