Throughout the many years I have been consulting with spas and speaking to Estheticians, the question I am asked most often is "How do I get new clients?" This is the perfect question when asked by an Esthetician who's just getting started; for example, if you are a newly-licensed Esthetician or you have been working for someone else for a while and now you are going solo. However, if you’ve been working in the treatment room for more than a year, that is not the question you should be asking.
Let me give you a visual to help put this in perspective:
Imagine you have a bucket, and you want to fill your bucket with rocks. So you gather a bunch of rocks and you place them into your bucket. But there are holes in your bucket so, of course, the rocks go right through and out of your bucket.
So you go out and find more rocks. You put them into the bucket. They too immediately exit your hole-y bucket. AND REPEAT….
In this scenario, your esthetics career is the bucket and new clients are the rocks. You have two options with which to keep your bucket full:
Getting clients in the door (or placing rocks in your bucket) is not the hard part. Just like rocks, potential clients are everywhere. Obviously, if you offer something free, people will come. But they won’t stay, they won’t become loyal clients. Instead, they will fall through the cracks if you do not already have a Client Development Plan in place. And there goes your dream of a financially successful esthetics business.
So back to the correct question Estheticians should be asking, which is: “How do I create loyal clients?” That’s the right question because that's the formula which will take you directly down the path to your financial success. And that's why it should be your focus, regardless of what your esthetics specialty may be. To put it simply: Work smarter -- not harder -- and keep the rocks in your bucket!
The first time a client walks into an esthetician’s treatment room…a relationship has begun.
Loyal long-term clients are based entirely upon the connection you have with them. For some Estheticians, that element comes naturally. But even if it doesn't come naturally for you, it’s very easy to learn.
I’m not suggesting that being a well-trained and talented Esthetician doesn’t matter, because of course it does, but it isn't enough. How many times have you heard a good Esthetician complain about a bad Yelp review? Here’s the thing: clients don’t necessarily leave an Esthetician (or leave a bad review) just because a service wasn’t good. Oftentimes clients leave simply because they didn’t feel cared for, and that often translates to the fact that they didn’t feel a connection with the Esthetician.
A loyal client will forgive you anything if your bond is strong.
The art of the client bond is not something we are taught in our esthetician program, and that’s because it is not a black-and-white situation. Rather, it's a gray area. It has to do with your personality, your energy, your intuition, your ability to listen and your ability to read verbal and non-verbal signs. And all of that starts with how you feel about yourself.
I will give you an example from my own experience to help illustrate this point:
One of the advantages I have when I am consulting with a struggling spa is that because I am a licensed Esthetician, I am able to work hands-on in the treatment room with the spa’s clients. And because I am not an employee of the spa, clients feel very comfortable divulging their true feelings about their experiences and opinions regarding the spa and its employees. In that process, I often receive vital information that I can then share with the spa’s manager, owner or employees, which otherwise they would not be privy to.
Without that essential information, management is not able to pinpoint the problem, so they continue to look for love in all the wrong places. They spend their time and money on things like changing their menu, changing the product line, hiring expensive yet ineffective consultants...all to no avail. And because of those misfires, they likely will never know that the problem is internal, such as a lack of connection between the Esthetician and the clients.
More information about The Client Bond can be found in The Heart of Esthetics course.