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Massage Today
October, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 10

Step 10: Presentation

By John Fanuzzi

Welcome to the physical sector of opening a successful spa. After visiting the first nine steps, our doors are now open. From this point on, your success or failure may depend on one element: Presentation.

Presentation with respect to your spa includes everything from the physical appearance of the front desk to the appearance and personality of each employee.

Your retail display; artwork; décor; printed receipts; collateral printed materials; menu; website; and customer service are all part of the presentation. Presentation is going to affect the image of your business, and public image is the backbone of repeat business, word of mouth, your reputation, and ultimate success.

Lets take a look at image. I remember going to a trade show a few years ago in Chicago, and instead of one booth, we took four booths with lots of inventory and a new look. One customer came by and made the remark, " Wow you guys really got big." In truth, we were no bigger than the previous year, but we looked like we were. Remember, people talk, especially in a local community. That's exactly what you want if there is something good to talk about. Perception is reality. As I mentioned in a previous article, the goal is to keep the marketing dollars in your pocket. Good word of mouth means good publicity. People talk, and positive talk about your spa is the least expensive way to advertise.

In last month's article, we discussed the hiring and training of your therapists and staff. Now that the spa is open, you must make a daily effort to keep your staff happy, alert, and tuned in to the needs of the customers. Always keep in mind how important that first impression is. It should be a goal to make each person who comes through your door a long-term customer.

Work toward this goal as soon as each person walks through the door. Welcome clients and offer a cup of tea or a snack when they sit down, just as you would do with guests in your home. Offer a tour of your facility if possible, and introduce them to your key staff. If clients come in specifically for a massage, don't have the therapists just put them face down and start rubbing. It is a time of first impression and relationship building. Spend that extra time and offer a gift product or gift treatment. I like to have new clients sit face-up on a backrest table and get a foot scrub and rub, so a conversation can happen before the silence of a massage -- even if it takes more time. An extra-personal presentation, especially on the first visit, leaves a lasting impression. It is also a good habit to have every treatment as warm and special as the first. Think of it as keeping the romance alive after the marriage.

Another simple-but-effective presentation is uniforms. I like logo shirts, with each employee's name on his or her shirt. Some people, myself included, have a hard time remembering names, and it's also a bit awkward if the customer forgets your name. The same logo also should be on the robes and towels. Uniforms also make it easy for all employees -- they all know what to wear, and there is no room for individual fashion shows that could tarnish your presentation. If you design a particularly catchy or attractive image, your logo shirts may even become a popular retail item. Again, this is great advertising for free.

Do you want repeat customers? Serve food -- sandwiches, cookies, tea and juice drinks. I would cost it in with your treatments. They serve free drinks in Las Vegas when people are gambling. I don't drink alcohol, but I know I would be touched if I could get free juice drinks or food while at the spa. When I took a few days at the Miraval Resort in Tuscon, all the food, juices and snacks were included. The high room cost did not matter -- the service was worth it. Free food encourages customers to relax, socialize and spend more money. They become loyal friends instead of revolving-door customers, and they become your extended marketing family. Just think of their circles of friends they will bring back over the years if you foster good relationships with them.

One extremely important detail not to be forgotten is cleanliness. Think of how unpleasant is it to find one hair in the bathroom of a fine hotel you just paid top dollars to stay in. It just takes one hair to give you a bad image. Consider your spa as you would a fine hotel. Clean your spa every night, and make sure each therapist keeps his or her appearance and work space immaculate at all times. Cleanliness is Godliness! Once gain, it's all about presentation: if it's clean enough for angels, it's clean enough for your customers.

That leads us to my favorite subject, to be discussed next month: Golden Rules.

Only Victory,

John Fanuzzi


Click here for previous articles by John Fanuzzi.

 

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