Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Art of the Cosmetic Sale

Last week, I was walking through the mall when two men holding small packets asked me if I'd like a sample. At first, I gave the reflexive decline. On my way back, they waved the packets again. I glanced at the storefront, which resembled a Godiva shop. I figured they were offering candy, so of course, I caved.

From there, it's a slight blur. The sales manager held up the packet - which ended up being a disappointing hand cream - and backed his way into the store with me close behind. Within seconds, I was bombarded with both flattery and "don't take this the wrong way, but...."

"You have great genes," he cooed. He even asked me to furrow my brow, suspecting I've had botox. Seconds later he was observing sun spots and undereye bags. That's the art of the sale: Flatter the person, but make her feel like there's still room for improvement.

The brand is Orogold, which touts real gold in its ingredients for anti-aging properties. This allows the company to market face creams as high as $250. I never told him I write beauty reviews; I hate using that card to try to get freebies.

The oddest thing of all was that even with my reticence, he gave me two full-size products as gift with purchase. He marked down the eye serum I bought by $70, even flashing their webpage to prove the actual prices.

I looked around the store periodically to see what other fish were cast in the net: The women were all within 10 years of me and professionally dressed, too, wearing a slight expression of skepticism mixed with curiosity.

As slick as he was, he was a talented salesperson who made some valid points. He demonstrated the difference in product absorption of skin that's been exfoliated vs. skin that hasn't. A cream rubbed over his exfoliated hand melted right in; the hand that hadn't been exfoliated stayed milky white no matter how much he rubbed. The exfoliant - one of the full size freebies - sloughs off dead skin like a dream.The eye serum depuffs my bags no matter how little sleep I've had.

"Your makeup looks good, but it's a little cakey," he said in parting. "Focus more on skincare so that you don't have to apply as much."

Sold.