Talk the Talk

As any spa owner knows, getting clients to make the initial phone call is getting them one step closer to walking through the door. Once they call, a good over-the-phone experience can potentially drive a business to success. Here are a few quick tips to help your staff improve their phone etiquette.

Step 1. Make your phone ring. While online marketing can help drive traffic to your site, use it to help drive calls to your idle phones, too. Some encouraging numbers: 74 percent of people use search engines to find local businesses, and yet only 3 percent of local marketing budgets are spent online. Boost your budget to boost your business.

Step 2. Don't be rude. Pick up the phone. No one wants to visit a spa that ignores them. It sounds simple, but studies show that small businesses only answer 36 percent of their incoming calls. Your massage-ready fingers are oiling up too soon and letting that other 64 percent of your potential clientele slip through to your competitors instead. Answer the phone, and let clients know you're there and ready to pamper them.

Step 3. The receptionist is your VP of sales. When potential spa-goers speak to a faceless voice, they often attach the tone of the conversation to their upcoming spa experience. Your receptionist is the personality of your business. First impressions can be everything, so make sure to train him or her to be a positive and welcoming signpost for your spa.

Step 4. Don't just sit there—close the sale. Good listeners make good salespeople. When spa-goers feel like they are being heard, they feel appreciated and will appreciate you. Be responsive to customers' levels of understanding. If customers sound hesitant or shy, don't overwhelm them by spouting incomprehensible industry jargon. And don't talk down to knowledgeable spa-goers. Cater to their needs like you would to their skin type—everyone needs something different.

Step 5. Good language skills are good for business. Communication is a key component in establishing an understanding with potential spa-goers. Make sure to hire a temp or receptionist with good English skills. Someone clear and articulate will represent your spa as such and is an investment that will definitely pay off. —Court Cunningham

Court Cunningham is the CEO of, a leading provider of small business online advertising.