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Retailing 101: 8 Tips for Effective Selling

Written by Denise Gaston

Most aestheticians do not consider themselves “salespeople” – people who are pushy and aggressive to get clients to buy. The fact is, no one wants to be sold, so what’s an aesthetician to do? The answer is simple: don’t sell – educate and recommend instead. Think of your client not as a sales conquest, but as a friend (which they are), whom you are sharing something of value with.


One of the first steps you must take is to be a product of the product. It is nearly impossible to educate, share, and sell something if you have never tried it or are not using it. It’s important to have a skin care and body care line that you believe in. If you are sold on the products, it’s easy to transfer that to your clients. It also builds credibility. Would you trust your skin care professional if they did not use what they sold?


Who is your client? Have you identified your market? Are you going after teenagers, moms, clients with problem skin, or the antiaging market, or will you be a general practitioner, treating a little bit of this and a little bit of that? Knowing your demographic and who your client is will ensure you have exactly the products to serve them. For example, if you are going to specialize in treating acne, you will want homecare that supports those clients as your number one priority. Although you will carry other skin care products to address other clients, it is good to have your preferred clients well taken care of.


Another aspect of retailing is to understand personality types. You cannot sell to everyone the same way. Some clients buy on impulse and will take recommendations (which we love), and others need to consult with family or significant others before they make any buying decisions. And, others are more careful in their purchases and, although they do not need anyone else’s input, this client prefers to get all the literature first, then go home and digest what you have given them. They may even want to do their own research to make sure they are making the best decision for themselves. You may have clients who feel like they know everything and have tried everything – they have lots of products and usually have spent lots of money in their search for the fountain of youth. Let these clients finish up their old products and then slowly add items from your product line. Never ask them to throw out what they have spent hard earned money for and never bad mouth another company. If you feel what they have is not suitable for their skin based on your thorough consultation, skin analysis, and history of treatments, educate them on why what they have may not be the best choice, then sit back and let them make the decision.


Do you have an attractive retail area? Along with stocking great products, you need to display them well, in order to entice buyers.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a positive impression and, when it comes to your retail space, no matter the size or shape, make sure it is well presented, sparkling clean, and free of dust. It’s a good thing to switch it up occasionally. Plan on incorporating seasonal touches as the seasons change. Many clients seem to like that.


 Do you have adequate stock levels? You can’t sell what you don’t have. If you are a solo practitioner, it may not be possible to stock your entire chosen line. Instead, focus on rockstar products (typically correction products and, of course, sunscreen). All-time favorites besides the requisite sunscreens can include day creams, night creams, serums, eye creams, and self-tanners. Think of it like this: most people have a cleanser – not everyone has a vitamin C or peptide serum.


This next point should go without question. Utilize the power of social media. If you don’t already have an Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter account, create one and post, post, post. Post what you do and what you sell. This is the perfect outlet to educate clients, as we all know everyone is online all the time.


With your clients’ permission to send them text messages, send your clients text specials and give them a timeframe to reply back. If they are local, offer to deliver it to them. You will be surprised how many people will take you up on this offer. This is especially great for overstocked items or products you want to move fast.


Another tried and true method of retailing is the “all-inclusive treatment” or “treatment and a product,” meaning you price certain services to include a product. This works very well for clients that purchase series as they are already paying for six plus treatments. Adding the cost of some at-home and aftercare products will most certainly ensure they will be compliant with your suggestions. The price of the package goes up, but if you sell it right, clients will see the value in it.

This article cannot cover all the methods of retailing; however, now you have a track to run on, leading you to sales success. Do not give your client an excuse to buy from other sources. All these suggestions do no good unless you do the one thing that makes it all possible, and that is to ask for the sale.

Denise Gaston is a proud CIDESCO diplomat, licensed aesthetician since 1989, certified clinical aesthetician, and is NCEA certified. Gaston has served as the northern California trainer for Repêchage Skincare and as an aesthetics instructor for Miss Marty’s Hair Academy and C.I.D.E.S.C.O. Institute. She is a former spa owner, having had a private practice for 10 years. Gaston is currently the vice president and director of aesthetics at Fremont Beauty College. She is a reviewer for Milady’s Standard Cosmetology Textbook 2008 Edition; Milady Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, 11th Edition; and Milady Standard Esthetics: Advanced, 2nd Edition. Gaston also serves as a subject matter expert for the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

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