What You Think Matters More Than What You Say
by Merit Gest

It was the most amazing spa service I had ever experienced. If the therapist had suggested that I could feel like that again if I signed over my life savings to her, I would have asked for a pen.

Instead, I paid my bill, left a generous tip and went home. Without the next service booked. Without any products.

That therapist was an expert. I trusted her. I wanted what she had to offer. What a shame I didn’t get an opportunity to enjoy products and services she thought my body, mind and spirit would benefit from.

What a shame that she spent so much time to become an expert therapist and so little time learning the art of sales.

Lots of people in industries across the board have an aversion to sales. I’m on a mission to change that because when you are good at what you do, and you are a good salesperson, everyone wins.

There are three elements that make up sales mastery and if you overlook any of them, I guarantee that selling and upselling will feel uncomfortable. And if it feels uncomfortable, it’s unlikely that it will be executed.

When I speak to audiences of varying levels of sales sophistication across a myriad of industries, I ask them which is most important when it comes to being successful in sales: mindset, skills or action? The most common answer is mindset. And it is the correct answer. All three are important, but if you don’t fundamentally believe more is possible, you won’t use the skills or take the actions to make it so.

People who are effectively upselling guests and clients have supportive mindsets about what they offer. They believe that they are serving people best when they offer the opportunity to have more and richer experiences with their products and services. In the spa industry, the best upsellers realize that they aren’t “selling” at all: they’re enabling a guest to improve their own wellbeing. In other words, they understand that they are helping guests, rather than inconveniencing them. With those strong beliefs as a foundation, they are ready to layer better upselling skills on top, and they are more likely to take consistent action using the skills they learn.

Simply learning what to say and when to say it to upsell may work for some people. However, if that is not working for you, it’s probably not because you can’t remember what to say or are too busy to have the conversation. The inability to sell is most likely because you have a belief about the product or service—or money or sales in general—that is keeping you from getting the words out of your mouth and into the ears of your guests.

However, take it from me, as a frequent spa guest and luxurious product enthusiast: please stop robbing me of an opportunity to buy your amazing stuff! As a spa professional, it’s your job to inform me of what my options and opportunities are. In fact, it’s why I’m there. I may or may not take you up on it today, but either way, it’s not personal. Let me know so that I can make the decision. Please.

Now for some secret sauce: if you wait until the end of the service or product demo to try your upsell, it may feel forced. So, before you begin your service or demo, set the expectation that an offer will come at the end and that they are welcome to accept or decline it.

Here is an example: “I’m excited to show you what this product can do. Before I do that, do I have your permission to extend a special offer to you at the end of the service if you decide this product is a good fit for you?”

Soft. Easy. upfront. And guess what they will say? “Yes! That would be great!” By asking them now, you’ve already primed them to say “yes” later.

Let someone know in advance what happens at the end, whether your sales process is two minutes or two years. It eases the pressure for them, and, most importantly, for you.

Now, here’s how you blow your sales results out of the water. With a strong sales mindset and a proven technique it is time to be in massive motion. If you have an aversion to upselling and don’t do it ever, set concrete goals and take it step-by-step. For example, just start with one upsell a day. When that starts to feel easier, amp it up and make an offer to everyone. When you do that consistently you can’t help but to get more customers who say “yes.”

People want what you have to offer. Offer it to everyone in a way that is respectful of the relationship and gives them an opportunity to say “yes” to you.

You may be surprised how much you start to enjoy allowing people to buy.

Merit Gest, CSP is a frequent ISPA presenter, keynote speaker, author and creator of The Merit Method: 3-Day
intensive for a Lifetime of Sales Mastery. You can learn more at To book Merit for your
sales event or to train your team, email