The Psychology of Selling More Retail & High-End Services

Build it, and they will spend? Not anymore.

25 years ago, with the emerging concept of spa hitting the market, you could open a beautiful full-service facility, deck it out with the latest equipment and retail products and consumers were apt to book & buy.

That was until the market became flooded with a spa or salon on every corner. These days, spa owners have to be incredibly smart about how their brand, pricing, niche are positioned.

Competition for new clients is fierce, and the consumer is savvy.

But positioning will only get you so far when it comes to strong sales, mostly because it’s primary role is to attract new business, which doesn’t necessarily mean generating higher revenues...especially when it comes to retail or high-end services.

In order move the consumer from a lead to a high-ticket sale, spas and their teams need to understand the psychology of selling and why building trust is the biggest challenge they'll need to master.

In fact, digging into WHY people buy is particularly critical in our industry is because almost all estheticians loathe selling anything. It just feels icky for most.

We’re in the business of well-being, so we need to incorporate feel-good-selling skills that contribute to the guest experience, rather than leave them with a bitter taste at the end of a beautiful spa treatment.  

To be strong in sales, without ever being “salesy”, we need to understand human nature and the unconscious behaviors we all demonstrate during the buying/selling process so you know how to turn reactions or objections into revenues.

How do you and your team sell more services and retail that creates a win-win for your guest and your bottom line?

It's Emotional

We make our initial buying decisions based on emotions. Think about your own shopping behaviour and the initial rush of “Oooo...I want that!”

At this stage, consumers are in their own little “reality bubbles” that consist of their unique life experiences, perceptions, feelings, habits, and values. If you think this spot is where they lay down their credit’ll continuously be disappointed. Your client is quickly moving on to the next stage of purchasing.

Digging into WHY people buy is particularly critical in our industry is because almost all estheticians loathe selling anything. It just feels icky for most.

You Gotta Have Facts

Even though our emotions rule the beginning of the buying process, people quickly shift to look for evidence that will support their desire to purchase.

If you aren’t skilled enough on how to communicate clearly and succinctly the value of your service or product (features, benefits, price, packaging, etc.), your guest won’t have enough “data” to prove the purchase is worthwhile and it'll make it an easy “no.”

Knowing your product knowledge inside & out is not quite also need to know how to communicate the facts in a language your guest understands. This is where sales scripts come in handy so you're not fumbling over what to say.


Back to my first point...your guest is locked into their current “reality bubble” and can only see what’s-in-it-for-them. If you don’t listen and understand the psychology how to deal with their concern, you’ll lose their trust.

Your job is to soften their bubble to allow them to shift into your bubble. You can only do this by truly listening to their concerns and adjusting your conversation and actions, so they know you’ve heard them.

This is where I see many estheticians going wrong in their sales process. There's too much friction between your bubble & theirs.

It’s the esthetician who is treating & recommending products ONLY based what they think should happen, rather than “You said your biggest concern is ____, which is what we’ll address today. But I also noticed _____. We can talk about it after your treatment or work on that in your facial today too. Which would you prefer?”

If you force your “professional reality bubble” onto your guest, it instantly causes suspicion and therefore, no sale. Sales scripts can save the day again, especially when you're struggling with the friction of reality bubbles. 


It’s human nature to want to feel included in something bigger than just ourselves. This is no different when it comes to sales.

Even if your guest has enough data to support their emotional purchasing decision, they'll also be strongly influenced by social proof that your spa is trustworthy of laying down their hard earned cash.

This is why reviews, testimonials, referrals and case studies are powerful sales tools for spa owners. If sales are slow and it’s been awhile since you’ve updated any of these aspects of your business, it’s probably time to polish up your street cred, make it highly visible and use it as a sustainable tool to drive service & retail sales.

Stay Curious

We deal with people all day long at our can we not be curious about why humans behave the way they do?

As an entrepreneur in the spa industry for 25 years, I’ve found peeling back the layers of consumer psychology a fascinating experience, one that teaches me as much about my own consumer behaviours as much as my clients.

When I understand the human connection with more depth and clarity, not only are my clients happier because I've delivered solutions for their needs, but my bank account is healthier for it too.