Ladies and gents, we are in the business of beauty. Yes, the business, and, as in every business, sales and selling are what keeps the business alive, competitive and profitable.
“I am a hairstylist…not a sales person” is one of the most common phrases I hear from hairdressers and salon owners. This is a myth. You manage to convince women to give you three hours of their time and pay you $175 for hair colour—if that isn’t selling then I don’t know what is.
Many of my customers are the clients of other salons that don’t retail any product, or sell the products they have on their shelves. I am here to tell you that your clients want their hair to look the same between appointments, and are willing to spend that little extra if it means they will look and feel good. Your clients just need to be taught about products (i.e. how much to use and how often to use them). This is a need that is not being met by others salons…well, I am meeting it. You can too.
If you have your client in your chair for at least 45 minutes, that is 45 minutes in which you can discuss the shampoo, conditioner, conditioning treatment, styling products, hair dryer and flat iron you’re using on them that day. There are moments when I have six retail customers at once, and I only have five minutes to explain how to use the products. If I can sell $75 worth of product in five minutes, imagine what you can sell in 45.
I have compiled a little “retail aid” list so you can use this knowledge to your benefit.
1. Stop fearing the sale.
When you are telling your client about the product you are using in their hair, you are having a conversation. If you are able to tell them about your nightmare date from last week, you can tell them about the hairspray you are using.
2. Remember: it’s an investment.
Remind your client that their new hair colour is an investment in themselves, and that using salon professional shampoo and conditioner, like the one you use on them each visit, will prolong the vibrancy of their colour and nourish their hair to keep it looking like they just left the salon.
3. Explain the difference in tools.
While using your flat iron, explain to your client the difference between the quality of professional hair care tools and department store brands. In my experience, once my customer understands the difference, the question of what to buy—and where to buy—is answered.
4. Keep them happy.
When your client tells you they love their hair, tell them that if they use the products you used on them that day, they can love their hair every day. Even if they don’t offer up the information, ask your customers; their answer will give you all the information you need. You may find out that their hair goes limp by noon, or that their frizz is out of control. Let them know that you have products that can help them.
5. Be knowledgeable.
Offer them five more minutes of your time to show them how to use the product. This complimentary consultation usually gains new customers. Many times they have the proper products at home but they are using too much, too little, or the application of the product can be improved. All professional hair care lines offer product knowledge classes, websites that break down each product, and a description of what the product is used for. Educate yourself and your salon staff.
6. Do a price comparison.
Explain the value of salon professional hair care products. I personally check on prices at the drug stores, and many of the products are only $1 to $3 less than salon professional products. I explain this to my customers, and remind them that professional products are higher quality and more concentrated, meaning there is less product used and more money saved. Plus their hair will look and feel terrific!
It’s time to make retail a priority in your salon, plain and simple. Retail in the salon is a win/win situation for both parties: your client’s hair care needs are being taken care of and your salon has added revenue.
Sara Stancu is the manager of a salon and retail shop, and has over 20 years of experience in customer service and sales. She blogs regularly as “That girl in the red coat” with the aim of educating and enlightening clients, stylists and salon owners. Her plain and simple approach to telling it like it is when it comes to all things salon-related comes from her experience as a customer and a decade of working in the beauty industry. She also used to be that woman who could not stand her hair (but now it is fabulous).