By Douglas Preston
The holiday season is over and those great gift certificate sales are beginning to take their toll on daily cash flow. You know that you need to offset this outgoing tide of dollars, but how? Do you really need to wait until Valentine's Day before the next influx of cash becomes available or is there something that you can do right now to keep the appointment schedule and register well fed? There is!
Whether or not one lives up to their promised New Year's resolutions, one thing is clear: a new year signals a desire in people for change—the shedding of unwanted baggage from the past whether it be a few extra pounds, a tobacco addiction, or procrastination. And that openness toward change also means that your clients are unusually receptive to suggestions about skin care products and treatments that may deliver a higher level of results for them. Ask any health club owner and they will tell you that January is their Christmas selling season—reaping an elevated membership rush stimulated by the physical effects of holiday overindulgence. Let's face it, even the most stalwart among us cannot help but relax our dietary standards between Thanksgiving and January 1! We're ready to get back on track, pay the price, and restore our former perfection, so to speak.
For those of you that have the magic of high-efficacy skin care treatments available this is a great selling opportunity for you. Many estheticians and spa owners mistakenly believe that clients are literally spent-out after December 25 but the truth is that only the nature of sales change, not the willingness. The day after Christmas produces one of the season's largest retail volumes as shoppers take advantage of special sales and attempt to escape the post-holiday blues. And it isn't all gift certificate redemption, either—a very large percentage of those sales are loaded right onto the same credit cards that filled the gift gap between fir branch and carpeting. Now is the time to sell and sell well! It's easy but you have to take the initiative or you'll miss the beauty boat.
Here's what to do:
Get your belief in order
Stop telling yourself that January is a tough selling time. It isn't. Don't allow employees to harbor these expensive beliefs either. Remember, your customers are special people with a high interest in the benefits of your treatments and products. That desire remains undiminished in January but it's a common and costly mistake to wait for clients to ask you to suggest something newer or better for them to do. After all, how often do you go to a favorite shoe store or restaurant and ask your server to suggest something wonderful but more expensive than usual for you? Not likely. But how would you react when a special strappy arrival or chef's creation is temptingly described to you? Are you just a little receptive, especially when the item is described with enthusiasm and without a sense of pressure? This is why certain products are highlighted among the regular lineup of goods a business sells—it increases sales. I have a pretty expensive coat I didn't need because of that, and don't let anyone dare try to get me to return it!
Select a short list of services or products to promote
From your menu choose one or two specialty anti-aging services that on which you'll focus your sales effort. Use the following criteria:
1. What's most likely to sell well during the period of promotion?
2. What will tie in best with a client's desire to make New Year's improvements in their self care routine?
3. What's the most profitable service among your choices?
4. Which have the best retail or secondary sales chances?
It's important to keep your list as brief as possible in order to maintain strong attention on your campaign. Too many choices will simply dilute your sales effectiveness.
Plan and rehearse the sales approach
Nothing is less effective than an intention to sell more unaccompanied by a method that everyone understands and uses. I've seen more sales contests fail when a retail manager announces to the sales staff that their product focus of the week is some kind of mask or serum. No rehearsed description, no benefits review, no specific sales target, and no enthusiasm. This won't work except to discourage sales participation even further that it may be now. Here's an example of a solid promotional plan:
Service focus: microdermabrasion series
Target client: females concerned about fine lines and wrinkles
Client benefit: visibly smoother and softer skin, particularly during the cold, dry winter months. Client will have a much more youthful appearance!
Approach: Spend 5 minutes with every repeat client to update their winter skin care regimen.
"Kathy, now that the winter is here your skin will probably experience a severe tendency toward dehydration. We can reduce or eliminate that effect by adding some powerfully exfoliating microdermabrasion treatments into your visits. The effect is amazing and it will prevent the rough texture problems caused by the season. You'll love the way your skin looks afterwards! How does that sound?"
It really takes little more than a brief but enticing description to sell these services to your regular clients, the ones that are most likely to want them in the first place. Never waste advertising dollars trying to hunt down new clients when you haven't done a thorough job of selling to your established clientele. Working to maximize your "back end" business is a far better bet than looking for it in front in prospects!
Set sales targets (goals)
Skip this step and watch your efforts fail. Never create a sales campaign without knowing, and sharing with employees, what your expectations are—in detail! For example, you may determine that you want to schedule 20 more microdermabrasion appointments than you did in the previous month and realize at least a $50.00 product purchase from every client having those services. This important guide will help you stay on track and keep employees focused on their performance.
Employees will earn more money, improve their clientele, and see better results when upgrading customers to higher-end services. Decide on a special reward for the most productive on your team. A free service? Product credit? Gift certificate for new shoes? Find out what they desire the most and offer it as a prize (something within reason, anyway.)
Select a starting and ending date
Sales promotions can't go on forever; they'll lose their ability to stimulate employees or customers. One or two months is a good time frame. Ready, set, GO!
Monitor your progress
Never take your eyes off of the goal! Check results daily, look for hot sellers and praise them, look for avoiders and train them. Spend time at the front desk to see if estheticians are following through on product recommendations post treatment. This is too important a business project to set adrift. If you want these sales to happen you need to be on the sidelines and ready to coach your team.
Do it again, soon!
See what worked and what didn't, correct mistakes, reward the high achievers, and begin that next revenue drive!
For more information, visit www.prestoninc.net