It smelled, and felt, like my face was being painted with brownie mix. “This is coco and shea butter,” explained the esthetician, “doesn’t it smell good?” My stomach growled in response, as if to audibly argue with my brain as to whether this was delicious, or disgusting. It wouldn’t have been my first choice, honestly, but neither was the facial. After three excruciating hours at the dentist that morning, I’d decided to treat myself to a walk-in massage appointment. But, the only available technician was an esthetician. I figured I could roll with that punch (I’m easy like that).
But I’d forgotten that a facial is very different from a massage in one crucial way: estheticians get a percentage of any skincare products they sell. Which means, most facial sessions come with a little massage and a lot of sales pressure. If only they’d put more pressure into their massage…
So the first five minutes of this facial – way before topping my face with chocolate like an ice-cream sundae – involved the esthetician insulting my face. To my face. “Your skin is too dry here. You’ve got whiteheads. You have broken capillaries right there on your nose!”
Lady – my skin is awesome. It’s freaking peaches and cream. What you are seeing are not flaws, it’s normal, and it won’t go away with the chemical exfoliant you’re pushing. My skincare routine is fine, thankyouverymuch, and I just came in to relax. – All thoughts going through my mind as I’m digging my nails into my palms (which I didn’t even do in the dentist’s chair).
And, of course, I start to think about this as a marketing problem, because everything, everywhere, can turn into a marketing problem to solve if I think about it long enough.
See, this lady’s sales tactic was to rely on my (supposedly) innately female insecurities that I could be, should be, better/prettier/Photoshopped. And if I didn’t feel that way before, pointing out broken capillaries right in the middle of my face was a surefire way to get me there. Hey, a lot of girls buy into this, I know. But I’d just finished lecturing the dental hygienist on “What is wrong with our culture is that naturally white teeth aren’t white enough – I’m not whitening my perfectly good teeth!”
I’m a total pain in the ass, but don’t worry – the dental hygienist got her revenge, sharp metal spikes and all.
Point being – I’m happy with my teeth, my skin, and most of the rest of me (though I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds, if I’m honest).
What sales tactic would have worked on me?
If the esthetician had simply explained each product she used, and why she – personally – thought it was the best thing out there, uses it on herself, gives it to her mother for Christmas, and by the way it’s “all natural, organic, and smells like an herb garden” (rather than chocolate pudding), I probably would have bought something. I like finding something new, better, and unique.
I don’t buy based on insecurities. But I love the rush of finding a product that is special, unusual, and personally recommended by someone who has won my trust.
That’s a lot of ingredients to put in your sales funnel, so let’s break them down.
My personal buyer type is “The Connoisseur.” This doesn’t mean I’m snooty or that I turn up my nose at anything except for the finest champagne and brie. But it does mean that I get a huge kick out of finding and enjoying the best of everything. If you tell me what makes your product, or experience, or service unique and special, chances are, you’ve got the sale.
But what really gets me pulling out my credit card is that sense of trust. If we’ve already established a trusting relationship – ie. you’ve proven to me that you’re genuinely interested in helping me, not making a buck off of me – I’ll believe you when you say “this works for me. I think it will work for you too.” And, if you’ve got some authority to back up your claim, whether that be personal experience or education – so much the better.
You don’t have to dig a little hole in a person’s ego to get them to fill it up with your solution. You can sell by building them up, your product up, and yourself up.
I think it’s good karma. I know it’s good marketing. And I’m still craving brownies (just not on my face!)