Aromatherapy OilsTo complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Essential Oil Session Adds-Ons & Products,” by Lynn Thompson, D.C., Ph.D., in the May 2014 issue.

Many words might be used to describe a typical massage therapist: Empathetic, even empathetic. Sensitive. Intuitive. Tactile. Massage therapists may be touchy, but are almost never pushy. This is why the notion of selling may not feel natural to someone whose calling is one of silence and subtlety.

However, selling is not only good for your business and bottom line; it’s good for your clients. Few clients can afford a daily massage, so stocking a robust pantry with essential oils, organic skin care and other retail products can reinforce the great treatment-room experience and extend the benefits of service between professional visits.

“Massage therapists spend their day in a semi-darkened room, dealing with individuals in a very intimate way,” says Alison Howland, president of Spa Success Consultants Inc. of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “Transitioning from this treatment modality into sales requires a couple of things in order to work.

“First, the products have to be legitimate and have integrity relative to the massage practice,” she continues. “And the therapist needs training and knowledge about the features and benefits of the product, in order to be comfortable making recommendations for a post-treatment purchase.”

Great salespeople begin with genuine belief. They truly believe in what they’re selling, and this sincerity overcomes customer resistance. For a massage therapist, this means prescriptive selling. Through your fingertips and other senses, you have formed an assessment of your client during the treatment. Use your power of observation to make a specific recommendation for a purchase.

A stressed client, for instance, would be a good candidate for a calming essential oil product to take home. An athletic client who is training for a marathon would be a candidate for a cooling muscle gel. If the client’s feet and hands feel cold, suggest the opposite—a warming oil to take the edge off the chill.

Timing matters. Your clients make themselves vulnerable during a session, and it’s this vulnerability which makes selling seem awkward to some practitioners. Don’t talk sales while the client is undressed. Allow the client privacy after the session, and meet him at the front desk as he checks out. Have one or two products maximum on the counter, and briefly explain the benefits of using this product at home. Give your client several complimentary, trial-size samples to test, and have these bagged and ready—a proven way to generate product purchase after the next visit.

Peter Friis is an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, home of his first lifestyle brand, ESSIO ( Friis received his master’s degree from UCLA Anderson, where he served as president of the Entrepreneur Association. His innovative aromatherapy product-line, launched in 2013, is the first of a family of related products, all emphasizing modernity, sustainability and eco-luxury.