Why the Spa Industry Is Sleeping on Their Introverts


Despite the proliferation of introverts in the spa industry, old school methods of sales training are still being used in the industry globally. Most programs are designed for extroverts primarily because no one envisions introverts to be capable of selling.

This misguided training is resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in spa retail revenues.

I have always been a spa aficionado. When I worked in corporate America as a trainer my income allowed me to indulge my passion frequently. But I also realized that my constant visits spoke to an emotional discord. The serenity that I found within the walls of a spa suited my introverted nature much more than the frenetic pace of the corporate world.

It wasn't the spa treatments that I loved as much as the environment. I was surrounded by people who were just like me.

I decided to switch gears, ditch corporate and become an esthetician.

Despite being emotionally happier I was soon to discover that my earnings were much less than I had anticipated. My commission based salary was a small percentage of what I had made before. My only option was to sell the high priced retail products offered at the spa. But I had no sales training. I understood the importance of after treatment home care. But the thought of bothering my clients with a sales pitch when they had come to the spa to relax made my stomach churn.

I had to do some serious self-talk.

As a corporate trainer I'd always received high performance ratings. I knew that it was primarily due to my ability to engage with my students. Introversion had made me a good listener which put people at ease. Asking the right questions allowed me to hone in on their specific needs.

I decided to put this skill to use with my spa clients. During my initial client interviews, I would mostly listen; it was amazing what they would tell me. Only then would I offer an opinion or make a recommendation. If I felt that their treatment choice could be better, I'd never hesitate to suggest another. When I knew that a retail product could speed their results, I showed it to them. My goal was to provide the best service.

The response was good. In the first month my income increased by 30%. As time went on and I began to own my power, my retail commission and overall income doubled. I began to attract a diverse clientele and developed a wait-list. I received media attention for doing what I loved.

I decided to see if my process would work for other introverted therapists who struggled with retail selling. Combining my knowledge of adult learning principals with my introvert instincts of what to avoid, I developed a retail sales process that was simple but effective. It helped to not only increase sales but also self-confidence.

Years later I began to have several opportunities to train and consult overseas. It was an eye-opener. Even in cultures where more subdued inward behaviors are the norm, the hospitality industry as a whole has not adapted their sales training to fit.

According to Alen Mayer, author of Selling for Introverts "Composure is a major strength; many introverts love to sit back to give themselves a better vantage point. Relationship building is high on their priority list, which means they're far more likely to build long-term streams of revenue by working with the same customers again and again."

With customer retention one of the issues that keeps C-suite up at night perhaps it's time to make training adjustments.

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