Don’t Sell, Recommend!

When was the last time you went to a spa and had an experience where the therapist actually talked to you about adding a treatment to what you already selected from the menu?  Or when was the last time a therapist actually recommended a product to use at home?  You are probably thinking’ I don’t remember or it rarely happens.  Actually, the fact is most guests leave spas empty handed’ except for cruise spas.  

You are probably a spa professional reading this and also a spa goer, as we all go to spas. In my position as a consultant and a coach, I have visited spas around the world, have been a secret shopper for many spas, and rarely do people recommend products to me.  Normally, you go into a treatment room, they tell you to lie down, begin the treatment, and when you are finished, they let you go empty handed’ This practice is costing spa leaders millions of dollars. 

On the other hand, I took my family on a cruise and of course, I visited the spa several times during the trip.  What a difference in their entire approach!  They take the time to discover your needs, and then recommend treatments and products.  The amazing thing is they do it consistently! I know this is the protocol on most cruise ships as I experience the same type of service on other cruise lines.  If the team on a cruise ship can do it, why can’t resort spas, day spas, and medi spas do it, too? 

InSPAration Management has conducted many studies on retail and treatment upgrades.  We found that they are two of the biggest missed revenue opportunities within the spa.  Many spas focus on delivering a great treatment experience, but totally ignore additional treatment suggestions and retail recommendations for home.  As an industry, we are missing out on significant revenue that can be generated through both of these revenue streams.  It’s a fact-Billions of dollars are spent on beauty and self-care products per year! Unfortunately, most spas don’t get their market share. Thousands of dollars are left on the table leading to slimmer profit lines.

Daily, we hear from spa leaders who are frustrated with the lack of retail sales and upgrade opportunities. When we ask, ‘What are the consequences for lack of sales?’ normally there are none.  How can you expect to improve performance and achieve new results if the team is not held accountable for their actions or performance?  If you want to begin tapping into these missed revenue opportunities, you must implement the following Four Steps in order for your team to produce the results you desire.

1. Set Performance Expectations and Measures
2. Tie Compensation to Performance
3. Implement a Recommending System
4. Train and Coach the Team

1. Set Spa Performance Expectations and Measures
you get what you expect and what you measure.  To improve spa performance, you must set expectations.  What does it mean to be a professional therapist on your team?  What are their professional obligations?  You will need to outline them in detail.  Set targets for both treatment volume and retail volume per guest.  Then measure often. Don’t wait until the end of the month to realise they did not hit the target.  It’s too late then.  Just like in sports, the goal is to get to the playoffs, then win the championship.  In order to do that, the coach tracks statistics from every single game. You need to do the same.  Track performance daily and watch your profit line grow! 

2. Tie Compensation to Performance
tying compensation to performance is essential.  If a team member is not recommending, they don’t deserve to earn the same amount of money as the one who does.  Tying service commission to retail commission is a sure way to make the team recommend more.  That is why the cruise ships do so well in retail.  Their compensation plan rewards retail sales. Does yours? Compensation plays a big role and it must be addressed if you want to improve performance.  

3. Develop a Recommending System
to succeed you must have a recommending system.  Systems insure consistency, accuracy and growth. Without a proven effective system, your future is uncertain.  Fortunately, there are systems available to help you.  One system suggests Don’t Sell, ‘Recommend!’  It’s a philosophy focused on delivering a complete guest experience in the spa and at home.  The system identifies guests’ needs or concerns while making recommendations. 

4. Training and Coaching the Team
Training and coaching are a never-ending process. Someone must be responsible for training and coaching the team. Who is the coach in your spa or salon?  Training is an essential component to your success. It needs to be conducted often and must include role playing.  Just like in sports again, the team listens to the coach, then they go out on the floor to practice what they learned.  That’s role play’ but, in our industry, the therapists say, ‘I hate to role play.’ Many spa leaders accept that reply and therefore don’t role play.  Can you imagine a basketball or a soccer player telling his coach I don’t want to role play?  How long will that player be on a winning team?  You get my point’ they must role play. The more they do it, the more comfort and confidence they will have with the entire recommending process.

It’s time for the spa industry to realise opportunities they have and start recommending as a way of life.  Focus on these four strategies, set new guest experience standards for your spa and salon and maximise your revenue generation.  Work smarter, not harder to maximise your success!

By Dori Soukup Editor in Chief of InSPAration Management, a firm specialising in spa and salon business development, advanced education, BizTools, and medi spa management to help elevate your success.

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