by Mara Jenkins, Skin Care Lit founder & Lead Educator
Are You Blocked When it Comes to Retail?
You didn't get into professional skin care for your love of sales.
Yet, your financial success (and your clients’ results) depend on retail sales!
The problem is: the sales tactics we're taught in this industry simply don't work for the modern client — at least not for creating long-term relationships and client loyalty.
Through surveying and coaching thousands of skin care professionals, the #1 complaint we hear is: "my clients don’t understand the value of professional-grade home care."
This means what we're doing isn't working.
The following are 3 of the most common mindset blocks estheticians face when it comes to selling retail:
MINDSET BLOCK #1 MY CLIENT CAN'T AFFORD PROFESSIONAL SKIN CARE
A lot of you have told me that you get nervous by high price points, and you don't want to recommend something your client can't afford or will decline because of price. That leads you to recommend less expensive products out of fear — or maybe even make less recommendations in general!
But I have some tough love for you: The price of your products is NOT the reason your clients aren't buying. If a client doesn't purchase from you, it's because you haven't yet convinced them of the value of your recommendations.
We've all had the client that walks in with a designer bag, but then complains about the price of our products. Purchasing decisions are often not about the money — it's about what we value and desire.
At the end of the day, it's not your job to decide what someone else can or cannot afford. What IS your job? To figure out what your clients value and the results they desire — and then educate them on how they can achieve that. (Hint: home care is essential for lasting results no matter what your client's skin care goals are).
What I can tell you is that if your client's skin wasn't important to them, they wouldn't be investing in a professional service like yours. So don't make assumptions that lead you to water-down your expert recommendations or even avoid trying — all but guaranteeing that your client won't purchase!
Instead, ask yourself this: Am I approaching this client with a "how can I make this sale" attitude OR a "how can I help them achieve their goal" attitude? The former usually results in "pushiness" and awkward exchanges — where as the latter results in trust, building relationships, and loyalty.
MINDSET BLOCK #2 I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE TO SELL
Does this sound familiar? For you, this could manifest in thoughts like "I don't get enough product training" or "I haven't memorized my products' features and benefits" or "my clients are too knowledgeable about skin care!"
All of these are versions of the same doubt: I don't have enough expertise to sell. And I'm here to tell you: YOU DO. Without knowing you, I promise you that you have enough expertise right now, to improve your retail sales today. Here's how I know this...
I often hear estheticians lose their confidence and jumble their words when speaking with clients who seem even the slightest bit savvy in skin care. But even those clients who are "in the know" on industry trends and popular brands, simply don't have the background knowledge in skin biology and physiology that you do. In fact, did you know you only need a 10% edge on your clients to stand out as the expert?
More than that, it's important to consider where your clients' knowledge is coming from — which is typically from big-brand marketing, friends, celebrities or "skinfluencers." In other words, non-experts.
To put things in perspective: how many times have you heard a client with dry skin and one papule tell you that they have oily and acneic skin?!
Your knowledge is based in science and experience, and the real value of your expertise is that you can identify skin conditions and causation to make informed choices and personalized treatment plans for your clients — something skin care marketing and influencers can't do!
So instead of shying away from a sale when a particularly "informed" client comes along or you're feeling a little shaky on your latest product training, I challenge you to remember your value as an expert in skin. Because the truth is, your clients are desperate for someone to help them cut through all the noise, marketing, and conflicting voices in the skin care industry. After all: they wouldn't be in your treatment room if they had figured it out on their own.
MINDSET BLOCK #3 I CAN'T COMPETE WITH AMAZON or _______fill in the blank with any number of discounted, unprofessional products online
And I hear you — how frustrating it is when you ask your long-term client if they need to restock on products YOU prescribed for them, and they say: "No thanks! I just stocked up from Amazon!"
But here's where I need you to be really honest with yourself... how often does this happen to you? Is it every fifth client? Every tenth? We need to watch our negative bias here and make sure we're not letting a few comments distort reality and take away our confidence.
And while I certainly understand the impulse, there are a couple of knee-jerk reactions I often see among estheticians that are NOT helping the cause. And by that I mean, the emotional response you may have when your clients have shopped for products elsewhere probably isn't helping. Let me explain...
While it's fine to educate your customers on the dangers of purchasing on Amazon (counterfeit products are a real thing!), I have to recommend not focusing too much of your energy on this. Why? Because at the end of the day, Amazon and other online retail giants are not going away any time soon. Your energy is much better spent creating value for your clients — rather than fighting against forces you have no control over. Not to mention nobody likes to be lectured.
Here is the good news:
In a 2020 KPMG Consumer Insight Report, 64% of consumers said they prefer to shop in-store rather than online — and 67% said they would choose to support local or small businesses both in person and online.
Not only that, but what you're offering is different and more valuable than what Amazon offers. While you should certainly strive to provide convenience and accessibility for your clients, your value is in providing personalized and expert treatment plans for your clients. And that is something that Amazon can't do!
We promise, people don't buy just because something is discounted and convenient. They buy what they see value in! And it's our job to discover what our clients value most — and then deliver it.
But I won't lie. The changing retail landscape and ease of purchasing online and from social media means, as skin professionals, we have to adapt to stay relevant.