Great Expectations

how to manage clients with unrealistic expectations get advice

How do you manage clients who have unrealistic expectations?

We asked ASCP Skin Deep magazine readers how they manage clients who have unrealistic expectations. Read their answers below!

This excerpt is from the September/October 2017 issue of ASCP Skin Deep magazine, mailed to ASCP members as a benefit of membership. You can sample it online at

  • People tend to laugh a bit after they tell me what they want their results to be—a sometimes-awkward laugh as if to say they are kidding. But they are, of course, hoping I will say something like, “Oh, that’s easy. I’ll just do this once, and it will fix it forever!” I have found that if I laugh along with them, I am indulging them somewhat in their unrealistic expectation. I don’t sit back with a serious face and speak to them as though this were a life and death decision, but I want them to know I understand the results they are looking for. I tend to say, “Your expectations are real, but not realistic for one treatment.” I also use the example of working out. I cannot go to the gym once, work out for an hour, then look at myself in the mirror and question with excitement and hope, “Am I a size 10?” Results like that don’t happen for anyone, ever. I do my best to make sure clients understand everything that is worth the end result takes time, discipline, and commitment. —Aiyani Mersai, via email
  • I always try to give the most realistic and lowest possible expected outcome, so they don’t have super-high expectations. Then, when I overdeliver, they’re thrilled and very enthusiastic about the result. —Lora Condon, via email
  • I simply tell my clients, “It took you your whole life to get here, and it takes time and consistency with home care and treatments to see improvement.” —Julie Flesner, via Facebook
  • I use the comparison of working out and weight loss. I tell them you can’t just go to the gym one time and eat unhealthy food and expect to see results. Then, I explain that consistency is key with an at-home regimen and regular treatments. I have a book of before-and after photos of my clients, showing their progression over time. The dates are printed on the photos so the new client can see that the best results take time. —Lisa Marie Waters, via Facebook
  • I am kindly honest. I take the time to explain how skin works and the steps needed for results. And to beware of gimmicks with little or no results. —@Realred4U, via Twitter 
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