Are You Offering Withering Advice To Your Skincare Clients?
Wither(def): to fade away, decline or become weakened
Most Friday mornings I can be found at a local café in the company of a group of fellow business owners. We discuss our challenges, share solutions and celebrate the triumphs in our businesses. I have learnt so much from them over the years, even from people with very different businesses to mine.
Last Friday, an owner of a chain of veterinary clinics, introduced us to a business communication issue he described as “offering withering advice”. We all looked a little perplexed (as I imagine you might be now!) until he explained further. What he meant by that was he had realised it was vital that the advice his vets offered pet owners in a consultation was followed through with a concrete ‘call to action’.
For example, every vet knows that a regular vaccination plan is essential to the health of the animal. This is communicated to the pet owner verbally when they bring their pet in for an appointment. However, if this recommendation isn’t followed up by an offer to book the vaccinations at the reception desk, or with follow-up emails or postal reminders when vaccinations are due, this once vital piece of advice withers – it shrivels and fades away because the pet owner was not given a concrete opportunity to act on it.
This business owner in my Friday morning group felt that if the vets really did believe that a vaccination plan is vitally important for the pet’s health, then they needed to follow it through with a strong reminder plan, giving the pet owner every opportunity to put the advice into action.
I was stuck by how similar this problem is in our industry. I think many of us offer withering advice if we take a good honest look at ourselves.
How often do we mention a product that would really benefit a client during a facial and then fail to ask the client if she would like to buy it once you get to the counter? For that matter, how often do you not even mention the product or treatment that you know would best serve your client because you are worried it is too expensive for them?
It’s important to remember that what you can afford to pay for products and treatments is not a good gauge of what your client is willing to pay. Make the recommendations that would best serve them, and then let them take care of their budget decisions.
What would our clinics be like if we changed our attitude and did everything we could to ensure that our clients had every opportunity to follow our best recommendations?
Would you ever be brave enough to send out reminders to let clients know they are due for a facial treatment? I wonder what would happen if you did?
If that feels like a step too far, here are a few other ideas to put into practice to ensure your advice is acted on by clients instead of withering away.
- Always offer to re-book an appointment for your client when you reach the reception desk.
- If a client does not re-book, send out a follow-up reminder 6-8 weeks after their last appointment.
- In a facial or consultation, share your best professional advice about how your client’s skin is and what products/treatments you would recommend for them. Don’t make their budget decisions for them. Recommend what they need and let them decide.
- Provide a written Recommended Product Wish-List for your client.You could say, “These are the products I would love you to be using at home.” If they have any objections around price you could say, “I can work with you to prioritise what is most important from this list.”
- Provide a personalised written Facial Treatment Plan for your client. Say, “This is what I would recommend to heal and strengthen your skin, or to keep it in optimal health.”
- Provide clients with a document outlining ‘How often should you have treatments?’ broken down by your various treatments.e. Less than six weeks for all waxing in order to get ahead of the hair re-growth cycle; 6-weekly facial treatments ideally, but seasonally at least. Make it easy for them by promoting a seasonal facial special.
- Ring clients you haven’t heard from in a while. This is a biggie! I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have done this only to find out that a client has been very sick or has had a stressful or difficult time. They are touched that we cared enough to check in on them. As added bonus, they generally book an appointment as they have often been thinking of picking up the phone anyway.
Remember, that you are the skincare professional and your client relies on you to offer your best advice and follow up on it. Make sure you back your best recommendations and transform potentially withering advice into concrete calls-to-action that enables your client’s skin to be the best it can be!