What is the Key for Successful Retailing? Knowledge!

By ASCP Staff

Estheticians love to know everything about the products we use. We want to know what the ingredients are, how the product is to be used, what skin conditions it will improve, what the contraindications are, what the shelf life is, etc. We are hungry for product knowledge. We want to know everything about each product to explain to clients why we’re using specific products on their skin, what the benefits are, and why they’ll need the same products at home to continue to improve their skin. This is fun when you’ve been using the same line for years and know each product like the back of your hand. But it might become a bit more tedious and overwhelming when it’s a completely new line you’ve never used before. You’ll have to become familiar with not only basic products, but also specialized products formulated to treat specific client concerns like antiaging, acne, rosacea, age/sun spots . . . the list goes on and on.

So, where’s the best place to start? Will it take some time? Sure. But it’s well worth it in the long run. You can effectively learn a new product line, have fun while doing it, and increase your bottom line all at the same time!

1. Submerge Yourself:

When someone tries to learn a new language, one of the best way is to submerge yourself into that culture. We can apply that same method in learning a new product line. Attending hands-on training classes will help you effectively learn about new products and truly soak up the content about that product. Nearly every product brand will host training sessions, whether in person or online, and some may even send a local representative to your skin care business to provide personalized training. These training sessions may focus on just one product and provide bite-size, digestible segments so you can absorb the information effectively. Or they may include the entire service protocol and educate about each product as they perform the demo.

You may want to focus on first learning about the products that will relate to the highest number of your clientele. For example, if most of your client demographic is women in their 50s who are concerned about fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage, you might want to start with the antiaging line of your brand. You will learn what products will benefit this group the most and why, the correct protocol for a service, and what retail products will be the most beneficial. When you feel you have a good understanding of that line, you can move on to their acne line, or one designed to treat eczema, or whatever would benefit the majority of your clients. Learn all you can, then practice as much as you can. The more you feel you own it, the more comfortable you’ll feel sharing your knowledge with your clients. Your retention rate will greatly increase when you learn in smaller chunks, and when your clients ask questions, you will feel confident about recommending retail they should purchase and why.

2. Laser Focus:

After years of working at a wonderful spa, the owner retired and sold the business to a new owner. They want to bring in a completely different product line than the one you’ve used for years. At first, you feel total panic. How are you going to learn a new line when you have clients scheduled for services tomorrow? You might feel frustrated and daunted that you spent so much time and energy learning one line, and now you have to do it all over again, and quickly. This can be tricky if you have clients who have been loyal to you for years, and they loved the line the spa used for years. They trusted your expertise and retail recommendations, but now they may hesitate about trusting the new line. Let your clients know you will do your homework, you will compare both product lines, and you will determine the best products for them both during their services with you and for their home care use. Prove to the client you really do have their best interests at heart and will do your best to make this a smooth transition for them.

This is where you need to have laser focus. Let’s say you have a regular client coming in tomorrow for their rosacea service, so you begin by looking over the new line’s protocol for rosacea. You compare the ingredients in their products to your former product line and discover they are very similar. You find there are other products used in other protocols that are also very similar to what you were using. While there will still be plenty of learning to do before you are familiar with all the new products, you can build your client’s confidence if they know you are pleased with the ingredients and feel the new line will give them the same great results they experienced before. You can also consult with your product representative for their opinion on how comparable their products are to your former line.

3. Start with the Basics:

No one will be able to know everything about every product when you’ve just been introduced to it. But even the sweetest client in the world will see through you if you try to sell them something you know nothing about. It may tarnish their trust in you, and if you don’t really know the product, you aren’t doing them any favors by trying to sell it to them. A better strategy is to first focus on learning a handful of the new products that most every client could use, such as a gentle cleanser, a great-smelling toner, a hydrating moisturizer, etc. Once you’ve learned about some basic products, you can start learning the products that have been formulated for more specific concerns: exfoliating masks, a TCA chemical peel, resurfacing serums, etc. Bit by bit, your product knowledge will grow, and you can begin showing off your expertise about each product. Your client will never know how little you initially knew about every product on the shelf! By focusing on the basic products, you’ll develop a more trusting relationship. And each time your client comes in, you’ll have new enthusiasm about another great product you just learned about that will work even better for them!

esthetician fills out paper at her front deskFAQs

How can product knowledge increase my retail sales as an esthetician?

Product knowledge builds enthusiasm. Learning the ingredients and benefits of your skin care products makes it easier to build enthusiasm for both you and your clients. When the benefits of a product for a particular client are clear, estheticians will believe in the products and the results their clients will see, which makes it much easier to close the sale.

Why is product knowledge imperative for retail success?

Product knowledge gives us the satisfaction of being experts and builds clients’ confidence in us as their skin care professional. Retail sales doesn't always have to be about the client—being knowledgeable in your products can make you feel accomplished and allows you to speak with confidence around other skin care industry experts.

Why is product knowledge a powerful skill for estheticians to possess?

The simple reason is the more you know, the more you sell. More knowledgeable estheticians contribute to closing more retail sales and they instill confidence and trust in their clients, ultimately improving the client experience. This, in turn, creates repeat business and can have a significant impact on your skin care business.

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