I’m hard pressed to think of a word that shakes my confidence as much as “sales” (ok, maybe bikini but that’s a whole different issue). The mere thought of selling conjures up images of used car salesmen, door-to-door solicitors and rejection. Effective sales is a skill that can be learned, and I’m getting better at it (at least in my treatment room).
At one spa I worked at, we were expected to upgrade clients with additional services that added five to twenty dollars to the cost of a massage. They could add hot stones, aromatherapy, a foot scrub and/or a hot oil scalp massage. The bonus for us was that we could earn more doing the same number of massages (of course the spa made more, too). The problem was, I was SO uncomfortable with the way we were trained to sell the upgrades. There was a laminated card in each massage room. Once we had done a brief intake, we were to hand the client the card and ask them if they wanted any add-ons. It was awkward staring at the client as they read over the options, like I was coercing them into something they didn’t want but felt bad saying no to. After a few weeks, I stopped offering them altogether, denying myself the opportunity to make more money and my clients the chance to make their experience more special.
Eventually, I decided I wanted those options for myself and my clients so I started experimenting with different sales presentations. I finally settled on asking clients once they were on the table and I had returned to begin their service, “Would you like to hear about upgrades?” This served me well because clients were usually face down or had their eyes closed, so I wasn’t making eye contact with them. It also allowed them to say no before I went into an explanation of their choices, after which they would feel more pressured to say yes to something. I realize this was the intention of our training, but it seemed blatantly manipulative to me and didn’t promote a positive customer experience.
Once I found a sales pitch that I felt comfortable and confident with, I started selling more upgrades (go figure). Most pay periods, I averaged enough upgrades to equal an extra hour or two of work. It also added welcome variety to my days dominated by full body Swedish massages with extra time on the neck and shoulders.
In my current practice, I don’t offer any add-ons (I’ve chosen to forego the extra laundry, messy oil/scrub and time involved washing stones between clients), but I often have half an hour available that I can offer to extend the session. Had I not figured out that upgrading is just offering an option and that no one gets hurt if the client says no, I would most likely be missing out on additional income and clients would miss out on a more satisfying session. When this opportunity arises, I tell them they can add thirty minutes to their service for an additional twenty dollars during the intake. If they appear uncomfortable, I tell them they don’t have to decide that minute and can let me know when I come back in to start the massage. I’ve found new clients who receive a ninety minute massage tend to rebook more than those who get sixty minutes, so this is definitely a question worth asking!
Sales is nothing more than providing a solution to a problem. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel completely at ease promoting ways for clients to spend more, but with practice and persistence it’s become a routine part of meeting their needs. Recent trends I’ve seen in client preferences include longer sessions, and I’m more than happy to accommodate that whenever possible. I make more money and clients get better results, contributing to the success of the practice that I love!
What’s your best sales tip or what challenges do you have? Please share in the comments. Thank you!