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When offers are just WRONG!

business for therapists promotions

I’ve been coaching the beauty industry for over fifteen years. And in that time, I have deliberately taken the focus away from marketing and placed more on helping salon and medspa owners increase the productivity of each of their therapists. Some say it’s ironic as my previous career was as an Account Director, a marketing strategist in a number of advertising agencies. I was pretty good at my job. I was earning six figures back in 1995. I’m not saying this to impress you but rather to set up this conversation which is pretty much about being strategic and realistic about how to generate business.

Why do businesses spend money on offers, advertising and promotion?

Well for many reasons but the most common is to get more sales, new business. Right? Here’s the big lesson I learned in my advertising career that changed EVERYTHING I believed about successful businesses. With a compelling enough offer and an ad budget, getting someone to buy something once, is easy. This is called customer/client acquisition. Getting someone to buy something a second time or over and over (customer/client retention), well that’s not as easy. It in fact requires way more than a compelling offer and an ad budget. A second purchase is ALL ABOUT THE PRODUCT. In your case, it’s all about the treatments you perform, the products you sell and the results that both provide your clients.

Let me tell you a story.

One of my clients back in my ad-agency days was a producer of a wine cooler. I won’t mention the name as it’s not as important as the lesson is. This was when no one even knew what a wine cooler was.

We had an ad budget of $4million dollars, a huge budget for its time. A huge ad budget even for now. The campaign was astoundingly successful. We became the number 1 cooler in the country with a 40% market share, and the remainder 60% being shared by 200 other coolers. Yes, the launch was very successful.

HOWEVER…very quickly, our cooler lost market share. Why?

As I said before, when you have such a big ad budget, you can pretty much get anyone to try something new. Getting them to repeat purchase, well, that’s something altogether different.

So was it the advertising strategy? The ad budget? Ahhh no. The number of people who purchased the cooler was record breaking. We succeeded in getting our client the business they wanted. So where it did it go wrong?

Our job, the advertising agency’s job was about customer acquisition. We had to get the cooler into as many hands as possible. The client’s job or the job of the product was responsible for customer retention. All the money in the world means squat if the product doesn’t deliver, if the clients don’t like the taste, the product. And that’s what happened.

Luckily our client recognised and understood this and instead of pouring more money into advertising which would have been an even bigger waste of money than the launch, they poured their money into improving the product.

So the lesson is that promoting a product (or service) that doesn’t deliver, that isn’t what the client wants, is a waste of money. Sure you’ll get the initial sale out of it but you won’t get repeat business if the results aren’t there.

In the beauty industry, if you want to acquire new clients, you’ll need to make the offer very compelling for someone to choose you over your competitors. Most of the time, a prospect already goes to a salon or spa so to get them to move will require a most compelling offer.

You’ll either discount the treatment or add value to the treatment. Either way, you’ll lose profit. And it’s ok to lose some profit on the first treatment if it means the client will rebook, buy products and services from you all year round, year after year. As an example, you can create an offer that’s valued at $175 but you only charge $97 for it. Losing $78 is a lot of money BUT NOT if it converts this new client into a loyal client who spends anything from $2,000 up to even $10,000 a year.

With that objective (conversion), you’d even be prepared to make a loss because the loss on that first treatment is insignificant compared to the potential gain. Agree?

It's not about the offer

So it’s not about the offer and it’s not even about how much money you put behind the offer in terms of advertising. It’s all about the product and in your case, the product is ‘results’. If your books are quiet, then it means your clients are not rebooking. They’re not rebooking because they are not receiving the results they expect. And if that’s the case, you need to work on the results you deliver and not on constantly trying to think up new offers or promotions, giving away bigger and bigger discounts. Wrong focus and your problem (empty books) will never be fixed.

It’s never really about the money. If people get what they want (clearer skin, less lined, less pigmented, firmer etc), money is not the motivator for them. The result is all that matters, and most will pay almost anything for results. Just look at how much people are prepared to spend on Botox and fillers, plastic surgery and other heavily invasive modalities just to look younger. Proof that money is not the main motivator.

If you stock a results-driven cosmeceutical range, then the results-potential is already there. What is required is a great therapist who knows how to put together a skin prescription and treatment programme, sell it and follow up with each client to ensure they stay on track and receive the results that are possible. The more results they receive, the more they’ll invest and reinvest in their skin.

One skin treatment every month with a poor homecare regime won’t do it. Nor will a series of treatments with a poor homecare regime do it. Results start with a strong homecare regime (that’s up to 12 products purchased and replenished all year round). And an effective treatment plan to complement the homecare regime will exacerbate and speed up the results. Treatments alone will do nothing long-term.

REAL QUESTION: Why do you think clients almost always SAY it’s the money?

REAL ANSWER: Because they’ve tried supermarket and pharmacy brands, fluffy department store brands and even been to salons/medspas before that promised the world and delivered nothing. We cannot blame the client with a cupboard full of rubbish to be a little sceptical about the promises you and your therapists make. Go with it. If the client expresses concern about the money, then start with the homecare because in a short period of time, a strong homecare regime will delight the client enough for her to find a way to afford complementing treatments.

If you found value with this blog, I would really appreciate it if you share it with your friends and colleagues. You’ll find share buttons below to make it easy for you. Oh and definitely share it with your team. It will help them understand the role they play in client retention even more. 


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