Charm works, smarm does not.

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To my fellow beauticians and beauty therapists,


You’ve heard it all before – kill them with kindness, treat her like a queen, compliment her like mad.
Charm works and smarm doesn’t – how do we enchant our clients without coming across as being insincere or even worse, big-headed ?
Being smarmy is deceitful. Clients will smell a mile off if you are just being nice to get a sale.
Being charming however is more about random acts of kindness, the moment the client walks through the door.
Here’s an example if you’re confused;
Instead of proclaiming “OMG I LOVE your handbag!” you could offer to carry her bag to the treatment room for her. Once inside then say “That’s a really lovely bag.”

See the difference?
The first attempt is nice, but more of a technique and so overly used in retail. No customer really believes such empty compliments. Simply proclaiming you love someone’s attire is a bit of a cliché in retail environments.
The second is more an act of kindness, followed up with a much less obvious, in-your-face compliment. The sheer fact that you have done something for the client without wanting anything in return (she is not expected to pay you extra simply because you carried her bag) makes you a charming person.

Charm not smarm.

Here are some more great tips:

  • Ask questions. Nobody likes to be just sold to. When you are doing your treatment remember to ask questions unrelated to her beauty treatment. People love talking about themselves. Crack jokes, share stories, make eye contact and be genuinely interested. You will be surprised how quickly the client warms to you.
  • Be educated and up to date on world and local news. When clients are in your company for an hour or so the conversation will often lead to news- local or worldwide. This is because on professional relationship levels, the news is often a natural flow of conversation, after the topic of weather!  If you don’t  know anything on major current events you can come across as slightly dim, uninteresting or short-sighted. The client will also be disappointed her choice of conversation comes to a quick end. Of course you aren’t expected to know everything about the news, but a little bit of up-to-date knowledge always goes a long way for interesting chit chat . Remember the news is something we all have in common. Do however shy away from topics of local gossip, and don’t linger on religion and politics. All 3 can lose you clients very quickly.
  • If the client is quiet or shy try telling interesting stories about yourself. Have a couple in your head that will always make someone laugh.
  • If they on the other hand are very talkative, gives them their moment of limelight. Smile, laugh and listen intentively.
  • Make sure you carry on acts of kindness throughout the treatment. Tell her she has nice eyebrows, her legs aren’t that hairy, her skin is good for her age etc. – any part of her you sense she has embarrassment or negativity about. Help her confidence by kindly playing down her fears and insecurities.
  • Offer her a cup of tea or water, make sure you open the doors for her whilst saying ” No please, after you.” Ask her if she wants another blanket, the heating on, the A/C on…. It’s the little things.
  • Use their name. A lot. Use it to greet them, when you ask questions and when you say goodbye. Everyone loves the sound of their own name. It’s endearing.
  • Thank her for choosing you and follow up with a nice email or text a few days later. Make sure it is personal and common to you both.  Also the next time you see her ask her how her kids are, her dog, her work, her mother – whatever you guys spoke about. She willl be pleased you remembered.

Just a quick word on coming across as smarmy. You won’t actually – if you stick to just two things:

1. Don’t brag too much about yourself and your achievements. Simply have your certificates on the wall, somewhere close where everyone can read them, and have your salon looking tidy and sparkly clean. Create a nice ambience as well. These things will all do the talking for you.

2.  Also don’t sell your products by telling the client how much they cost, what a great deal/offer they are. Sell them instead by matching the qualities and benefits of the treatments and products to their individual needs.

You shouldn’t have to go to charm school or practice anything new to be a charismatic therapist. It’s the little things that count and kindness above all. Don’t go over the top trying to be her best friend-  just be yourself and be compassionate, gracious and courteous. Your client will soon be a blissful, willing recipient to your charms. And there you have it!

Yours sincerely,

A sincere therapist.


Do you find it easy to be charming to your clients?

Do you ever worry about coming across as cheesy or smarmy?

Please comment and share below.

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  1. This can be applied to everyone and everywhere. I find it hard to accept compliments and I also feel that awkward moment where you feel like you need to say something nice back. But I agree as a customer, I would believe someone more if they treat me kindly and have a conversation with me instead of being weirdly overkind. Americans have lost this touch. People in restaurants sometimes have not mastered the knack of being charming. 🙁

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I do so hate when i step into a salon and they say “this is my favorite hair type to work with” Okaaay I’m sure you say that to all the girls. It comes across as cheesy even if they really meant it.
    Great advice. We appreciate it on this end as well

  3. This is a great post! I don’t go to the spa often but when I do the people are always nice! Or charming rather lol I’m glad you’ve outlined these tips because it’s great to be treated nicely but it can be annoying when someone is too aggressive with compliments and fake niceness. Great post!

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