How to Encourage Massage Therapists to Sell Spa Retail

How can you ensure that there is a dialogue about home care in the massage experience?

1. Demonstrate viscerally "why" home care supports the therapeutic experience. The Amiable employee must understand how the relationship will be enhanced by this behavior. Mary knows well that handing her Amiable massage therapists a piece of paper with their sales goal on it and declaring "make it so!" is the quickest way to incite a stampede for the exits. Not much more effective is the exhortation "You need to educate your clients!" An effective learning modality is to give the employee a treatment and demonstrate the desirable behavior. The employee will have an opportunity to experience how good it feels when it's done properly. Give a role play demonstration of what to say and when to say it, during a massage session. Demonstrate what it means to "educate", then have the massage therapist switch roles and do it themselves.

2. Make the scary familiar with role playing. When law enforcement officers are being trained, they go through intense role-playing exercises called "scenarios" that enable them to experience the scariest, most heart-pounding situations they'll encounter on the job and rehearse them. Mountain climbers practice on climbing walls. Include role-play scenarios in your training process.

3. Narrate. Mary has already included a variety of home care products in the massage treatment, the first step. It is the therapists' responsibility to introduce the formulas being used and explain their purpose and benefits. This is a natural entrée for opening up a discussion of home care rituals at the end of the session. Josh quietly says, while applying the product, "This Sage Analgesic Balm will soothe these sore muscles." Then, after a moment, he'll check in and ask softly, "How does that feel?" It would be a curmudgeonly client indeed who'd object to this type of benefits-driven and personalized interaction.

4. Automate the process. Good design supports good salesflow. Mary can add tantalizing visual merchandising in the service areas to stimulate the guest's shopping urges. A checkout "lounge" would ensure that her guests pause before departing, enabling the spa to present the home care and rescheduling opportunity while giving them a gentle way to transition from spa mode back to reality. Sampling, custom blending and play areas encourage even more engaged interaction with the spa's products. The longer guests stay in the spa, the more money they'll spend—and the more value they'll feel they got from their experience.

5. Get everyone involved. Most therapists are receptive to the idea of a split commission with the front desk staff if they know they'll be getting a piece of a larger pie. Getting the support team on board increases their income and job satisfaction, too. Most spa software enables you to create customized split commissions.

6. Find the words. Excessive reliance on scripting has gotten some luxury properties a bad rap lately, but if Mary doesn't offer a "lexicon" of great words and phrases for her team to use, they may not be able to extend the invitation persuasively. After all, they weren't hired on as copywriters. People that are wonderful with their hands are often a bit less wonderful with their mouths. Mary can provide a valuable service when she helps them overcome awkwardness with helpful phrases. If she's smart, she'll post them in her prep areas so they're easy to master.

7. Encourage the team to share success stories. Mary probably has therapists on her team that have some wonderful personal "scripting" that would work for Josh, with perhaps a tweak or two to make it his own. Round table conversations at team meetings are one of the most valuable forms of training. Mary "can't be a prophet in her own land"—in fact, it's more like being the invisible adult in the Charlie Brown cartoon. All employees hear from her when she tries to explain "how easy" it is to recommend home care is "Wah wah wah wah wah." When another therapist offers a tip or technique it's much more likely to be accepted and adopted.

8. Inspect what you Expect. Mystery Shopping is an indispensable tool for monitoring performance. Mary must make sure she devotes plenty of energy catching people doing things right, too.

9. Value sales behavior appropriately. Since home care is significantly more important to an esthetician's success than a massage therapist's, it's important for Mary to pick her battles. We've all been taught since childhood that we need to devote most of our time to fixing our weaknesses, and managers invariably spend the bulk of their time dealing with the shortcomings and issues of their poorest performers. This is one of the biggest productivity traps in any business. Our highest return comes from increasing our strengths. As Jim Collins points out, it's not just important to have the right people on your bus, but they need to be in the right seats. If Josh is fantastic at retaining customers for the spa, Mary might just find someone else on the team to ensure that they get the opportunity to learn about and buy the spa's fabulous home care offerings.