Turning around spa sales requires some new thinking


Not everyone is a born sales person. But that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t learn how to sell even those who may cringe at the thought.

Recently Spa Executive interviewed Linda Harding-Bond, a therapist and also trainer in Bangkok, Thailand. In her recently published book, The Engaged Therapist: How Spas Can Increase Retail Sales Now and Forevermore, Harding-Bond advises that most therapists require a different training that is currently being offered in order to make them more comfortable selling retail spa products, an area that has not reached its potential.  She says that despite the steady increase in annual spa revenues, which surpassed the $16 billion-dollar mark in 2016 and is anticipated to reach $20 billion by 2020, retail product sales are not keeping up with the pace. They continue at around 3 percent for resorts, 4 percent for wellness and 10-13 percent for day spas.

In response, Harding-Bond is recommending the industry prepare therapists with a new approach so that they are more comfortable engaging with clients about at-home products. Among her recommendations, spas need to rethink sales so therapists don’t feel that they are just pushing products. Therapists should learn to think of sales as providing benefits to clients and learn how to feel comfortable selling. Other steps you can take to help therapists get over their discomfort selling:


Prep on products

Effective selling begins by believing in the products you are selling. Educate staff on product ingredients and benefits. Most clients don’t want a lot of in depth product information. Still the more your team understands about the performance of the product, the more confident they will feel in make suggestions.


Practice makes perfect

Consider conducting mock training sessions so your team has a chance to ‘rehearse’ before being put in an actual sales situation. Make the situations as real as possible, including selling to a range of clients from someone looking for advice to someone who is more aloof. As part of the mock training, the team should go through the various different sales scenarios – selling during a treatment, at the front desk when a client is settling their bill or at the retail center. Try videotaping the training sessions so staff can see how they are coming across to a client in terms of enthusiasm and credibility.


Provide sales aids

Develop literature on home care for staff to give to clients. This will help to open the door to a conversation between your staff and the client about products for at-home use.


Set goals and provide feedback

Develop a retail sales plan for each employee and provide very clear goals. Monitor performance and provide feedback. Someone may need additional training on selling or the products; make sure that they get what they need to be successful. Acknowledge employees when they meet their goal.


Reward performance

Provide additional compensation for retail sales. Compensation can be a commission for sales based on gross profit. Or offer a bonus for reaching a sales target. Also consider running a retail sales contest among the team members.

Retail sales can be a significant booster to your bottom line. Get your team on board through training, feedback and incentives.


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