How do you motivate your staff to sell more treatments?
It’s crucial to the future of your aesthetic clinic or medspa.
After all, you can’t handle all the sales yourself.
And if you want to grow fast, you need your team to convert as many of your incoming leads as possible…
…And to routinely upsell existing patients.
But for many clinics, turning staff into expert salespeople is a significant challenge.
“It’s not in the nature of a medical person to sell – it’s almost bred out of them in training,” says Dr Patrick Treacy, the world-renowned founder of Ailesbury Clinic in Ireland. “I find that beauticians sell four times as much as nurses, who sell four times as much as doctors…”
So how do you equip all your staff to sell effortlessly – and successfully?
We asked 14 owners of successful aesthetic clinics, medspas and laser clinics from 4 continents for their best tips and techniques. Here’s what they said….
1. Change your team’s mindset
“I joke that ‘sale’ is a 4-letter word and never use it,” says Melissa Rogne, owner of Rejuv Medical Aesthetic Clinic in North Dakota. “Healthcare providers are passionate about helping and caring for people – that’s why they joined the industry. They don’t want to sell.”
To help team members overcome this natural reticence, you need to re-frame the way they think about sales activities so that it ties into their values.
“We have a system for doing a consult which is completely geared around the patient’s goals,” says Melissa.
“You have to get your staff to understand that selling is about identifying the pain for the patient and providing solutions for them. It’s about creating a positive impact on their life.”
In other words, selling is a vehicle for helping and caring for people.
“Once they understand that you are doing a disservice to patients if you don’t properly show them their options, the sale will go better.”
2. Give staff formal sales training
“You cannot expect sales skills to come naturally to people who do not have sales background. It’s a skill that needs to be taught”, says Beth Hourigan, owner of Hourglass Lash + Med Spa in Kentucky.
Her medspa has membership schemes for some of their core services, such as injectables and laser.
Every new employee at her medspa goes through two days of sales training for each of these “clubs”.
They learn about the service provided and in some cases experience a treatment for themselves. Then they observe someone else selling the membership, and finally, are expected to sell it themselves for a day.
“We also role-play selling membership,” says Beth, who has an MBA and comes from a sales background.
“There’s no formal script but they need to get the words right. We give them tips on how to get people to sign up and have note cards at the front desk that are alphabetized, so if they’re on the phone and they don’t know the answer, the answer can be pulled.”
Sales training should not be restricted to medical staff, adds Dr Justin Harper, founder of Juvly Aesthetics, one of the fastest-growing cosmetic dermatology practices in the United States with 12 locations in 5 states.
“The most important person in the practice is the person who talks to the patient first. It might not be the doctor – it might be your receptionist.”
“Whoever it is, that conversation will be the first experience your potential patient has with your practice, and if that person is not excited, there is no chance they’ll ever make it to the doctor.”
3. Train staff to read customers’ personalities
Nabeel Mirad, owner of theEvolution Laser Clinic chain in Australia, sends his staff to get external sales training.
But the focus is not on hard-sell techniques, but on learning “how to read clients’ behavior and what sort of different personalities you’re dealing with.“You need to be able to identify the difference between client personality types, because you’ll talk to them – and sell to them – differently,” explains Joy Colleran, owner of Purejoy Advanced Skincare and Laser in Galway, Ireland, who takes a similar approach.
“If someone always comes in with the latest bag and is interested in celebrities, you might talk to them about how a product is used by celebs – then they’ll want to know more.
“The person who is constantly running around because they’re short on time requires a completely different approach, where you’re not overselling them.
“Someone quiet, shy or timid will require something else entirely!”
To help her staff relate effectively to clients, she starts by giving each staff member their own personality test, so that they understand themselves better. She then teaches them about theories of personality types, and how to relate to each one.
“Once a week, we review how they got on with their clients, and we’ll talk through the way they approached them. They might say, ‘I saw she was such-and-such a type, but she didn’t buy,’ and we might suggest a different technique to try next time.
“At a certain point you’ll get to know your clients and you’ll know what suits them and how to sell to them. Knowing your clients on a deep level is key – just like if you go to a 5-star hotel for the second time, they’ll know what temperature you like the room…”
4. Educate staff about your treatments….
Training should address treatments as well as sales techniques.
“If you have to sell something, you have to believe in it personally,” says Dr Ian Strawford, clinical director of Skin Excellence Clinics, a chain of three clinics in the UK. “Staff have to be educated, knowledgeable and passionate about the treatments to impart that to the patients.”
So, whenever a new treatment is introduced to the practice, staff members will take turns assisting the practitioner, and watching the follow up.
“They see the treatment being done regularly,” says Dr Strawford. “Then when they’re talking to the patient, it’s from the point-of-view of knowledge.”
“We do ongoing training every month,” agrees Sinead Quinlan, owner of MediGlow Laser and Skin Clinic in Cork, Ireland. “Everyone constantly refreshes their training, so they can believe in what they are doing and know it will make a difference.”
At The Look Facial Aesthetic Boutiquein Tennessee, there is a staff champion for each product and some areas like skin.
“They are in charge of teaching other staff about the products or treatments, and team members who are unsure how to sell the treatment can approach the champion”, says owner Haley Wood.
Not only does this empower staff members within the clinic, it ensures that products and treatments are all actively promoted.
5. …And let them try treatments for themselves
The best way to help staff understand a treatment, and get excited about it?
Let them try it for themselves, where appropriate.
“In addition to being a great employee perk, their personal experience makes for great talking points to patients, particularly if their skin is glowing after a treatment,” says Dr Suzanne Kilmer, founder of the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Northern California.
“Many of my patients frequently ask my staff what treatments they have tried and they love receiving their legitimate, first hand review.”
Treatments for staff can be completely free, or offered at a significant discount.
Mina Grasso, founder of Allure Image Enhancement in California, gives a special, 50% employee discount rate. But if she is bringing a brand-new treatment into the practice, she initially offers it at an even deeper discount, to encourage staff to try it out.
“The effect is that they get excited about the treatment and start talking it up.”
7. Give staff incentives to sell more
Often, staff sell better with financial incentives (where ethically appropriate).
Sometimes these are direct – in Dr Patrick Treacy’s clinic, staff can earn a commission of up to 10%.
In Dr Ian Strawford’s practice, staff get a bonus for in-house referrals, where existing patients are booked in with him for a new consultation.
“You might argue that’s their job, but they can end up taking home an extra 20-30% that week. In some clinics, some therapists double their salary,” he says. “They become really motivated.”
Mina Grasso used to give incentives to individuals to sell, but found that “it creates too much competition and becomes negative.”
So instead, she offers team incentives.
“If the office meets certain goals, everyone receives something. So for example, if they sell a certain amount of a particular skin treatment, the reward might be the treatment – for the entire team.”
8. Create frameworks to help staff sell
Learning how to structure a sales conversation can be difficult if your staff are not natural salespeople.
Make it easier for them, by developing frameworks for their conversations with patients which lead naturally and elegantly to a sale…..
At The Look Facial Aesthetic Boutique in Tennessee, each time a patient comes in, staff prepare a list of the products they previously bought. They can then ask them about refills, discuss what further results they need, and if necessary guide them towards new products, says owner Haley Wood.
“When they have this physical slip of paper with them when the patient walks into the room, it’s really helpful.”
Similarly, in follow-up appointments for Botox, patients are asked to bring their products in a bag, and an aesthetician will show them what to use and in what order.
“It’s tag-teaming – that’s one of the ways we move people from injectables to skincare,” says Haley. “It leads naturally to sales conversations. If they need some education, we can call in our product champions to help.”
9. Set patients’ expectations
Selling will always be easier if patients understandahead of time thatyou may be talking to them about additional treatments, not just the one they came in for initially.
Setting expectations right from the start is key, says Sinead Quinlan.
“When it comes to skin treatments, it’s a journey. You don’t necessarily get perfect skin overnight. Clients need to understand that, so that when they come to us with a skin problem that needs to be fixed, they’ll want to go on that journey with us.”
When they accept that this is a journey, not a quick-fix, you will not only end up with happier patients – because you have made a more significant difference to their skin – but can sell them the treatments they need, without feeling awkward about it.
Skin Renewal, a chain of 16 clinics in South Africa, finds it easier set patient expectations a little later in the process.
They have extensively researched the customer journey from beginning to end, so they understand what patients presenting with a specific symptom typically buy – and when.
“We realized that patients initially want their symptoms cleared up – they want fast results,” says co-owner Victor Snyders.
“Once the symptom has started to resolve, their greatest fear is that it will recur. That’s when we start talking to them about the deeper cause of their symptoms, and can enter into more extensive treatment protocols that will solve the problem long-term.”
To help their therapists and doctors sell at this point, they have created combinations of treatments at different price points, which address different conditions.
By offering preset packages, the upsell is built in.
And it’s easy for staff to discuss treatment options with patients without feeling “pushy”, because “we never sell treatments – we sell solutions to problems like acne or cellulite”, says Victor.
10. Give staff something good to sell!
It goes without saying, but staff will always find it easier to sell good treatments – and that’s your responsibility, not theirs.
“We provide them with the right tools – that is, the right skincare, the right treatments and the right technology,” says Nabeel Mirad. “They need something good to sell.”
You need to think not just about individual treatments, but to consider whether the mix of treatments you offer makes it easy for staff to upsell and cross-sell patients, and to bring them back into the clinic frequently.
Dr Justin Harper sees it as his responsibility, as owner, to create a strong “’why’ for the whole company and a story that brings people in. Then staff have the responsibility of ensuring that the experience people have is consistent with that story.”
In other words, staff do not sell in a vacuum. People buy into a strong brand identity and persuasive marketing messages even before they have set foot in your clinic, and getting these right – and re-enforcing these in clinic – is a key part of the sales process.
11. Hire the right people
Aesthetics is a “people business”, says Eileen Lloyd, owner of the Hifu Skin Clinics chain in Australia. “The better connected you are to your patients, the easier it is to sell to them.”
As a result, she prioritizes hiring “naturally caring, nurturing people who are committed to getting results for our patients and to listening to them. If you cover those, the sale takes care of itself.”
“Choosing the right people is the most important thing,” agrees Dr Nimrod Friedman, a senior plastic surgeon from Israel.
He recommends hiring “people who think the same way as you, and who share your set of ideals and morals. You can then educate them on how to sell and show them how you want them to do things – our new staff all shadow me for their first week. But the key is hiring people who can develop a close relationship with your patients.”
12. Track results
Last but not least, you’ll find it easier to improve your staff’s selling skills with proper data about how well they are performing!
Track everything from response time to inquiries to conversion rates, for each relevant member of staff.
With real numbers, you will not only spot trends you otherwise would not have noticed, but will be able to set goals for your staff members and give them better support where necessary.
Miriam Shaviv helps aesthetic clinics get patients through the doors again and again, so you can quickly grow your revenue without the headache of online advertising.
Check out this video case study to learn about the 3-step system that helped one practice generate an additional $183,000 from a patient database of just 3,000 people.