How do you manage clients who have unrealistic expectations? Your answer could appear in a future issue of ASCP Skin Deep magazine!
This is an interesting topic and I will try to answer it from my perspective. Since everyone's business has a different model you'd need to adopt it to your business the best way possible. I like the medi spa's business model. They have a quiet consultation room outside of the main spa where you can talk in private.
I own a Facial Spa and only offer facial treatments that makes me different and therefore in control of the client management. My website describes the services, shows video testimonials and google testimonials are scrolling on the home page. That immediately implies an authority in the field. Clients admit they've selected to come to me because I don't offer all of the spa treatments, I specialize in one thing and that in their mind makes me good at what I do. And right from the start you have them on your side.
When I opened my business I knew exactly who my client is and I focus my marketing, my website description and my video's only to this client. I don't want to be serving a wrong client because I know my business model and I am certain I won't be able to satisfy all of the clients with the way I do business. On the side note, since I've implemented this strategy to my business I work less and charge more. It was scary at first but if you focus on the goal in mind and do the best you can to deliver the results you'll ultimately succeed and your clients would benefit. Don't try to satisfy all. Be selective on who you serve.
I have a few different facial treatments listed on my website but rarely schedule a new client for a particular service, I book them for a consultation and advise them that after I see them and do analysis I can recommend the best treatment for them. And of course I make sure to tell them I will stay in their budget so that they are not worried it is going to be the most expensive facial in the house.If the analysis and an interview is done correctly the client gives up the control and possible expectation and hands in the cards to me. I then give them the plan of action that includes a review of their current skin care and recommendation of products they may need to meet their desire to look younger (that is usually my client). Then I set out the plan and tell them exactly what I am going to do and the result they will achieve. I will never promise anything, I will always add a clause as to " If you are eating healthy, aware of the need for deep breathing and drinking water as you say you do it should be very easy to get the results that you are looking for. But if you are tired and running on 5 hours of sleep I will do the best I can. but will over deliver and surprise them with the results. Educate the client before they go to the service so that they know if they are not healthy they can't look healthy unless they address the needs of the body at the same time. Typically clients appreciate this little nudge and really comply with the rest of the consultation and then treatment. At the end I'd recommend my skin care and schedule a follow up appointment. They are more than happy to buy what I've recommended because they just experienced it in the room, they learned about the benefits of these products and how soon should they see the results.
I usually schedule them for the next appointment in 14 days so that it gives them enough time for the products to work. I will advise them what to expect from the future appointment so that they don't have to think about anything or expect anything other then what it is I am providing. When they come in the second time I ask them about the products, I'd complement them on the progress and since I know my products very well I'd describe what is happening with their skin since I saw them. Again I retain my authority and the right to choose the best possible treatment for them and discuss the benefit of that treatment while doing the facial since they are relaxed and on the receiving end.
Typically clients don't know what facial do they need, they need the result. Based on their needs customize your consultation and then the service. Make a plan and give them a reason to wait for the outcome they are looking for even if it takes 3 facial visits and your skin care products. ( Don't sell too many products, start with one or two and then add tell they you need to add one more product the next time they come in. Explain why. That sets the expectation and they won't be surprised when you offer it to them the next time)
Groupon is getting a bad rap from everyone but if you know how to play this groupon game you will have qualified clients coming through. My promotion on Groupon is very strict and has a condition that leads them to a description page where I layout the plan for this facial service. No substitution of service is allowed and I call the client who books this facial treatment to make them aware that I am sending them an email with descriptions of what to expect at their visit.
I hope this helps and of course there is more however it is pretty simple when you know your services, you know your products and you can eloquently answer their questions.