January 26, 2012

How to Sell Without Selling Out

When massage folks work in spas, an ugly reality crops up: spas depend on sales of retail products and extra services for income. They expect their employees/contractors to sell to clients, and to get “good” hours and “good” rooms.

I, too, have worked in an environment where folks expect you to sell other things rather than just provide the massage service. Most of my peers were horrified at the prospect of having to sell anything because it was somehow bad to sell anything to clients. They were pure of soul and energy, so they should not have to do anything so visceral as to sell things. There were a lot of put-off therapists at my spa who considered sales “unethical” and were set to do what they could to get out of a sales requirement.

I wasn’t one of them. I had worked in other places where sales were part of the scene: a department store, a restaurant, etc. Sales were just means to help out by increasing the amount of income for the business to keep places going. At the restaurant, the owner counted on us to make things better. At the managers knew who sold what and how. The people who had higher sales got more money and more perks.

It also didn’t seem at all conflicting to sell products to clients. They, after all, are consumers of such things as massages and came in to the spa expecting not only services but suggestions on things to buy. Our aestheticians sold lots of things to their customers, little tiny jars of things that cost $25-$75 and they did not explode or melt or join the forces of the undead.

I was clearly in the minority, however. My colleagues felt sales to be dirty, like selling cars or children. One of the therapists quit, saying she was not going to do sales. The rest, well therein lays a story.

Meanwhile, I was perplexed. How should I sell? What should I sell? Where was I going to learn selling?

It turned out, the answers to my questions were right under my nose..

Authored by Susan Peterson, CAMTC, NCTMB

[see part 2 here]

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