Beauty advisors responsible for assisting women make the right choices on skin products are beginning to build trusted relationships with customers.
POND'S was a familiar product when Nombulelo Godisimang (29) was growing up. Her mother, like many women of her generation, swore by POND’S Vanishing Cream. Nombulelo herself began using the cream in high school. “If you used POND’S, then you were the girl – it gave you a perfect ﬁnish.”
Life moved on and Nombulelo did her ﬁrst year in Electrical Engineering. “But I realised this wasn’t for me. I decided to do a two-year diploma in health and skincare therapy instead.
"Once I graduated, I set up my own business at home as a beauty advisor; it wasn’t easy and the work wasn’t steady. Then my luck changed. I was approached to join POND’S as a beauty advisor, or BA as we call ourselves.”
This was in February 2010, and today Nombulelo has climbed POND’S “Tulip” succession ladder and is a mentor to a group of BAs. “It’s a supervisory role,” she explains, “and I am brought in if there are problems or issues.”
A few months ago, for example, a particular beauty advisor was frequently missing work.
The store manager concerned was getting annoyed and so Nombulelo was contacted. She discovered the beauty advisor had been having serious health problems, sorted it out and arranged reconciliation between the BA and the store manager.
“I have discovered I am good at sorting out problems and managing relationships.”
But her favourite aspect of the job is still interacting with the consumer.
“It’s a great feeling when you are on lunch and a customer comes into the shop and won’t speak to anyone but you. It means the customer trusts you, and that gives you a very satisfying feeling,” says Nombulelo.
“The most important thing I learned from POND’S – besides product knowledge, of course – was to treat the customer as though she is the only person in the room at that moment, to give her your full attention, and to make her feel confident and appreciated.
"This is why customers keep coming back.”
These days, Nombulelo’s mom is still a loyal POND’S consumer, but, thanks to her daughter, is aware of POND’S extensive offerings. “When POND’S brought out their anti-aging range, I needed a guinea pig – and who better than my mom? We saw amazing results – she is completely sold on her POND’S regime, and she is consistent and disciplined. You won’t find her going to bed without her eye cream.”
Customers think that skincare is only about what you put on your skin, but I tell them they will see a surprising diﬀerence in their skin if they drink two litres of water a day. Exercise also does wonders for your skin.
All skins need sun protection. We, black people, think it is not important for us, but the reality is that we produce more melanin than our white sisters, so it is very important that we use a sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 15.
POND’S has recently launched BB Creams, which not only oﬀer SPF 30, but also instant colour coverage, among other beneﬁts.
We should begin to look after our skin in adolescence. At the age of 12 or 13, girls should start a daily regime of at least washing and moisturising.
When we are in our 40s and 50s, we suddenly want to ﬁght the ageing process, but there is a limit to what we can do. We should rather begin to look after our skin at an early age. We need to start educating young girls and their parents about taking care of their skin, and thereby slowing down the ageing process.
These are the qualities you need to become a POND’S beauty advisor:
- You need a passion for beauty, health and skincare.
- If you don’t have the drive, you will not survive.
- You need always to keep the end goal in mind and focus on the result the customer will see, not the problem they are facing.
- It’s not about you; it’s about making a diﬀerence in that person’s life.
- You need to know your products – if you know what you are talking about, you have won 90% of the battle.
The POND'S Beauty Advisor programme
The programme began in 2009 with 30 POND’S in-store beauty advisor representatives, who oﬀered advice and guidance to the consumer on the shop ﬂoor.
Research had shown that consumers spent signiﬁcant time browsing the face-care aisle, often because they were unsure of what to use, when and why.
“This was a perfect opportunity to engage with consumers,” says POND’S assistant brand-building manager, Natalie Milroy.
“Consumers love a one-on-one, and as the advisors are permanently in-store, they don’t just try to push products – rather they are educating, informing and advising the consumer while driving sales.”
The programme has been an unmitigated success. There are now 326 POND’S beauty advisors in 326 department and drug stores around the country.
“We discovered that customers are hungry for information and many have developed personal relationships with the beauty advisors,” says Milroy.
The young women are trained through a series of modules taking place throughout the year, as well as ad hoc training for new innovations and monthly feedback meetings, “all of which diﬀerentiates us from our competitors”.
So what does POND’S look for in a Beauty Advisor? “They need to reﬂect the brand. "They should be sophisticated, feminine and beautiful – beautiful skin is non-negotiable – and they need to have some sort of sales and beauty experience."
For further information on the programme visit www.ponds.co.za.
This article forms part of a supplement paid for by Unilever. Contents and photographs were supplied and signed off by Unilever.