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Massage Today
March, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 03

Ethically Selling Product to Your Clients

By Steve Keller

This is one BET you can't lose! Believe in the products you promote. Educate yourself on the products you offer. Trust your distributor.

Ethical product sales to your clients, when done correctly, will enhance your practice in many ways.

Obviously, the bottom line is important, but even more important is how it greatly enhances the very foundation of a successful massage practice: the client/therapist relationship. You may see your best clients six times a year for a one-hour session. That is six out of 8,760 hours a year. By offering your clients quality products that will enrich their lives 365 days a year, you are showing them you care about them all of the time - not just when they are in your office. Your clients will also think of you while they are away from your office, which will result in increased visits and referrals.

Believe in the products you promote. Make sure the products do what they say they do. Use the product yourself, give it to family and friends, and talk to people in the industry you trust. Continually monitor feedback from your clients on the products you sell and continue to upgrade or add to your offerings accordingly. There are a multitude of high-quality products such as analgesics, lotions and oils that are only sold through health care professionals and spas, so you will not be competing with retail outlets when you promote these types of products.

Trust your distributor. Work with distributors who understand the resale market and can empathize with your situation. I have seen many distributors fail miserably in this aspect of customer care. You must be able to trust that your distributor will support you in every possible situation. The distributor should make it a point to make this aspect of your business a priority.

  • You carry excess inventory - Your distributor must inventory sufficient product and ship your orders the same day they are placed. This allows you to spend fewer dollars on inventory and less space on product storage, both of which can eat up profits. Look for companies that ship your products the same day you order.
  • Unexpected problems that prevent you from delivering product- Product damage, shipping errors, defective products, etc., are not your fault and should be handled instantly by your distributor. Orders that fall into these categories should be reshipped the same day the problem was reported. You have clients you have promised product to; it is the distributor's job to make sure you look good to them. This will help strengthen that relationship. Look for a company that has a customer service department to handle these exact situations instantly so you can take care of your client properly.
  • Product returns - Although you will be promoting good products, there will still be some returns by clients. You can't afford to eat those profits. For every return you receive you need to make two additional sales to make the profit you should have made on one. You need to automatically take the product back from your client, no matter the reason, because this will further cement the trust your client has in you; your distributor needs to make sure that you do not eat the profit on that sale. They need to credit your account, refund your money or reship additional, sellable product to make up for the return. Look for a company that has a "No Hassle Returns" policy, does exactly what it says, and takes care of any situation quickly so you can concentrate on taking care of your clients.
  • Low price guarantee - Your distributor must offer you the lowest prices available so you can maximize profits and offer your clients the best possible pricing on the products.

Steve Keller is the Vice President of Sales for Scrip Massage & Spa Supply and has worked in the massage industry for the past 10 years. Steve is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in business management. He can be reached at "> .

 

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