Fact – Most spas are missing out on profitable sales every single day.


Depending on the size of your salon or spa business, you could be missing out on anywhere between $20k to $100K per year from add-on sales that never happen; the serum with the facial, the brow tint with the lash tint, or the gel upgrade with the pedicure. Simple add-on sales that are simply being ignored.

So why does this happen?

In my experience, there are 5 major reasons why spas are missing out on this substantial additional revenue.
1. Therapists or receptionists miss their opportunity to offer something extra during the booking process.
2. There’s not enough time to provide something extra during the service.
3. There is no formal expectation by management that spa therapists will offer an add-on or up-sell to their clients, and therefore, no motivation to do so.
4. Formal training is not provided on how to up-sell naturally.
5. Spa therapists are not confident or comfortable with the process of recommending something extra to their clients.

Let’s take a closer look at these 5 fail points and discover how they can be handled to produce better results.


1. Missed Opportunities

The ideal time to offer clients an additional service/s is, without a doubt, during the booking process. Not only is the existing client’s service history at your fingertips to quickly review for possible add-ons she may have previously had, but if an additional service is added to the booking at this point, it will eliminate the need to squeeze something extra into the allocated appointment time on the day.

For new clients, or where no service history is available, a relevant extra services list, kept at the reception, can be referred to quickly for suitable up-sells. This list can easily be generated through brainstorming with your team members.


2. Lack of Time

Lack of available time can be a real problem if the additional service takes extra time and could cause the therapist to run late for her next client. When this happens, the best up-sell is one that will replace an existing component of the treatment, or be very quick to deliver.

A few strategies that come to mind are:
• Serums applied during the facial to enhance results
• Up-graded masks that will take the place of regular masks
• Gel polish instead of regular polish
• Brow tints while lash tints develop
• Hand peel while the face peel activates

Depending on the services your spa offers, there are loads of various up-sells that can be included when time is tight.

Always look for opportunities to up-ell to a more premium service that requires no additional time.


3. Goal Setting

Not setting individual sales goals for team members means no accountability is in place, and this results in a lack of motivation to offer additional services or up-sells.

Make time at the beginning of each day to spend a few minutes with your team members to review their clients for the day and discuss beneficial up-sells for each.

Set a daily goal for each therapist based on the number of clients she has booked in her column and follow up at the end of each day to see if she has met her goals. If she has, congratulate her on her performance, and if not, discuss strategies she could have used to reach her goals.

The important points here are to set goals, create accountability, review performance, and provide encouragement and support.


4. Team Training

Your team members need to know not only what is expected of them but also how to achieve it. Keep in mind that training on any topic is not a ‘do-it-once-and-hope-it-sticks’ activity. It needs to be provided regularly and reinforced constantly to keep it front of mind.

The best and most successful training methods are those that are inclusive and fun for the trainee. Training that includes ideas and input from your team members will always have the best outcome.

To facilitate this, ask all team members to contribute suggestions and solutions to every training topic instead of sitting back and turning off while the team leader does all the talking.

Make training a team effort and you will be rewarded with a higher level of participation.


 5. Changing the Employee Mindset

I’m yet to meet a spa therapist who loves to sell (unless of course they are the business owner). Selling often feels uncomfortable for therapists and they see the whole process as outside of their real job of providing services and pampering clients. Basically, therapists want to nurture their clients and don’t see selling as part of that process.

The way to overcome this is to change their mindset from selling being just about grabbing some extra money from their clients, to selling as a way to benefit their clients and help them achieve a better, faster outcome.

Good selling in a spa environment is always about strengthening the relationship with the client. It should result in a better solution for their problem. Bad selling happens when a client is pushed to purchase something that won’t benefit her and therefore damages the relationship.

Make certain your team members understand that you only want them to do what will strengthen their relationship with their clients and not the reverse. This will help your team members feel more positive about suggesting extra services or items to their clients, and they will be less resistant to the idea of making beneficial recommendations.

When a client achieves a better, faster solution to their problem they will be grateful.


Client Awareness

It’s always a good business strategy to ensure your clients are aware of the additional services you have available for them, as this awareness will help when it comes to suggesting something they may not have tried previously.

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming your clients are fully aware of all your spa has to offer, as few actually are this aware.

One way to create additional awareness is to add your service extras to your Service Menu, grouped with the services they complement. Upgrades such as serums, masks or LED therapy can all be grouped within the Facial and Skin Treatment categories so that clients can easily see what else is appropriate and available to them.

Apply this concept to all your extra options where room permits.


The Best Time to Suggest and Up-sell

The last thing you want your therapists to do is chat all the way through a relaxation-based service and leave the client feeling annoyed and deprived of their special relaxation time. This means you need to be strategic about choosing the best time to introduce the idea of a little something extra.

So, when should it be done?

The ideal time, in most cases, is either during or just after the consultation phase of the treatment, but before the main body of the treatment begins. The therapist should have completed her examination of the treatment area and asked the client questions about her problems and expectations.

If your therapists are not providing pre-treatment consultations, they are depriving themselves of a great deal of important information that will help them to not only deliver a much better service, but also make useful recommendations for extras.


How to Up-sell in the Treatment Room

Once the consultation is complete, make yourself easily seen by the client. If she is already on the treatment couch, then come around to the side and bring yourself down to her level by sitting on a stool.

Place yourself in a position where the clients can see and interact freely with you to reduce any feeling of intimidation.

As you make your suggestions, phrase them in a way that highlights the benefits they will receive relative to the problem they are trying to solve. If your suggestions don’t relate to fixing problems the client believes are important, she simply won’t be interested and a quick ‘no thanks’ will follow.

Here’s an example:
The client has expressed issues around her recurring acne breakouts. She is booked in for a deep cleansing treatment but nothing else.

After consultation, the therapist determines that a suitable serum applied under an infusion mask will reliably provide much better results for the client.

The conversation would go along the lines of, “Sara, it’s great that you’ve booked in the for Deep Cleanse Treatment today. That will definitely get you started on your journey to clearer skin. I’d also like to suggest we apply a healing serum and infusion mask also to give you even better results from your treatment. Are you okay with that? The extra serum and mask will be $20 but the results will be worth it.”
Note: I always recommend you provide your clients with full disclosure on the additional cost to avoid any problems when it comes time to pay for their service. Surprises at the register are never a good idea!

If you have a Client Service Agreement document in place, be sure to add the relevant details outlining additional costs for extra services here also.



If you follow the guidelines in this article, it won’t be long before you see a real improvement in your revenue. If you’re offering performance bonuses, your team will also see worthwhile benefits. This means that your spa, your therapists and your clients will all benefit from this sales strategy.