Getting the client consultation right can be one of the most important things for your business so it’s vital that you make sure you get it spot on from the start. Making sure that you find out as much as possible about your client’s needs, wants and background before you get started on any treatments will pave the way for a great future relationship as well as a good treatment.
It’s also important because of the dreaded claims culture – carrying out a thorough consultation early on will help pre-empt any potential risks that arise out of treatments you offer, lowering the risk of any unpleasant or unexpected reactions and protecting your business.
The four things that you need to get right every time are:
- Putting your client (especially a new client) at ease from the get-go. To build rapport with clients, while showing empathy with their needs, take them to a private, comfortable area where you can chat to them face to face. Create a consultation card for all clients that you can use for all services and be ready to answer questions yourself about their relevance – some clients might not understand why you are asking so many questions! Being thorough and professional initially strengthens your credibility as an esthetician or massage therapist.
- Doing your research first. Asking the right questions about general health can help you to work out if there could be underlying issues or medications impacting the client’s treatment. It’s always a good idea to ask clients to make a list of the medication they’re currently taking and let you know about any new meds once they are a regular. Finding out about diet, lifestyle and occupation is also helpful as these can all have an impact.
- Finding out what the client wants from the treatment(s). It makes sense to ascertain your clients’ existing skincare and health routines before you start on a facial or skin care program as this allows you to see where they might have gaps or be making mistakes with products. Determining clients’ expectations is important to make sure that you can provide them with a service they will be happy with. Think about things like social media; it’s not just the negative reviews you could receive, it’s also the unrealistic expectations clients can build. You might find out from chatting to your client that they have seen a look on Instagram that just isn’t possible with their type or age skin. It’s far better to make them aware of any limitations before you start so that nobody is disappointed. At this stage you also have the opportunity to discuss the steps they can take to bring them closer to their goals.
- For massage clients understanding their personal goals is key to making good recommendations. Often clients have had a problem for months or even years but think it will be resolved in one session. The consultation is the time to let them know what to expect and makes rebooking easier when it doesn’t feel like a surprise.
- Selling at the beginning. Rather than waiting until the end of a session to recommend home care, when the client is overly relaxed and might not be receptive to recommendations, opening up the discussion about products and additional services while they are still alert and enthusiastic gives you a better chance to make the sale, and a captive audience that’s not in a hurry to leave!