Aesthetics Industry Expert Debora Masten Discusses The Importance Of Advanced Training For Spa Profitability

Debora Masten is an independent contractor and operates a wellness center in Oregon offering advanced aesthetic services. As a consultant, she is often called in to help provide training or instruction to new hires in a spa or to train the entire staff on a new modality. 

Debora also teaches continuing education at the Academy of Advanced Aesthetics. This includes modalities like micro-needling, IPL, laser and acoustic pressure wave for facial rejuvenation. Her goal is to provide classes that certified advanced aestheticians want to take. She is also often called in by advanced aesthetics schools that need help with program development. Debora is also an independent sales and educational representative for several manufacturers of skincare products and related devices and has been working with AnteAge since 2013. 

I sit down with Debora to get a better understanding of how she helps her students and clients.

Why do aestheticians need to increase their knowledge base or would want to start adding more advanced procedures?

When you’ve been in the business for a long time you get some pearls of wisdom along the way. If I have someone that is saying. “Hey, I bought this piece of equipment but I’m not getting the results”, we talk about ways to improve the efficacy of the treatments.  It often comes down to deductive reasoning skills. I tell my students the sign of a good laser technician or aesthetician is the deductive reasoning skills because not everybody fits in that same box. You really must be able to look at several different areas and decide what direction to go. We need to use deductive reasoning on what and when to start a procedure to get their skin healthy. That’s the goal. Sometimes that means no treatment until good skincare is established. 

I find that a lot of med spas or aestheticians want to do the treatment first and do the skincare program later. I’m trying to reverse that. I say, “let’s look at your deductive reasoning skills and how you’re approaching these devices and how we can maybe make the performance better. It’s not just the device, take a good look at what you’re doing either pre or post that also influences that treatment.”

When you have someone newly licensed, you go through training and you have basic skills. Most people understand you must be a lifelong learner. In this field, things are changing all the time and just because you did things with one device doesn’t mean that it’s going to work the same with another. If you have used a certain laser before you can’t assume you don’t need training on a different one. Just because you’ve used an 810diode laser for hair removal doesn’t mean that a 1064 yag laser is going to respond the same way. Knowledge helps provide safe, consistent quality services. 

Most people are very cautious until they get comfortable with a new device. One example is if they switched from a diode to a YAG. It’s a different learning curve that can create some problems/ For instance with clearing finer lighter hair. A 1064 yag has limitations for finer hair because of the longer wavelength even with using a short-pulsed width duration. I can help implement solutions.  Being able to overcome obstacles and problem solve is part of my assessment. 

How, do your clients find you? 

They can reach me on LinkedIn. I also do have a website with the Academy of Advanced Aesthetics, ( I don’t have my consulting business marketed in many places. I am busy because of referrals from laser repair centers, word of mouth as well as manufactures. Any interested clients can certainly reach out to me and I’m more than happy to see if I’m a fit for their needs based on what their issues are. I don’t claim to be able to help with everything, but I would certainly try to point them in the right direction or find someone else that could. I have had experience in the treatment room, the classroom, with sales and marketing and in quality control and operational procedures including laser safety.

How do you assess their needs?

It starts with a quick phone conversation to understand what the client is after. I will then do an evaluation which gives me an idea of the possible needs.   

I look at their overall practice and operations and see what changes can be made and how best to implement them. My goal is to have a clear role in the plan for success and a timeline in which that will happen. It’s about listening to what’s happening and why a client is reaching out for help. Sometimes the girls don’t know how to sell a product, or they aren’t getting the results the client is wanting. I look at ways (through training) to change that. Once I analyze the situation, I then do a plan to retain and grow their client base and staff. Retention is important in this industry. If you can’t keep the clients that you already have, that’s a problem and you won’t see growth or increased profits. Doing a review of performance helps to be alerted to what is and isn’t working. 

What are some of the objections that they may have before working with you? 

Depending on what their specific problems are, clients need to know that I have the knowledge and credentials to help with that issue.  If I am not the one, I will try and find them someone better qualified for their specific needs. Sometimes I will give them free advice if it’s a lack of budgeted funds. I’ve helped many solo practices over my career.  Once they see success, they find that my services are worth paying for, so they give me a call. One of the things I tell my clients is that selling products is vital because everybody needs them. Clients are all buying skincare, somewhere right. So set your goal every week. Take a product, For example, a cleanser for all skin types. Everybody’s going to mention the cleanser to every client today because everybody washes their face. See how many more cleansers you sell by bringing that small goal to your staff. Have successes up on a whiteboard for staff to see. What’s the product sales for this week? Set little mini goals instead of everyone’s got to sell $500.00 worth in this amount of time. It’s much easier to make small goals That is one of the little things that I’ll share with them at the beginning. , if that doesn’t work, then, maybe I’m not the right person for you, but I’ll give you some little tips, try this and see if it works. I enjoy those callbacks that say, “we sold 25 cleansers this week and normally we sell three”. 

Jeremy Baker

Jeremy Baker has a passion for helping his clients get recognition as the expert in their field. His approach to interviewing helps his clients tell their stories and talk about their unique set of experiences and background.