Many Hair Stylists and Salon Owners ask “how can I increase salon retail sales?” Meanwhile, you cringe at the word “selling,” and repeatedly tell yourself, “I’m not a salesperson.”
This is mistake #1.
First, the phrase “to sell,” is clearly in need of a definition makeover, so here it goes:
Selling is the identification and fulfillment of a need – nothing less, nothing more.
Many of you have the same clients for years, even decades. You do their hair (maybe even their kids’ hair). You know secrets about them you’ll take to the grave, and you’re the only person they trust to come near them with a pair of scissors.
What does this tell you?
You’re trusted, and for good reasons!
Remind yourself, you’re not a scammy used car salesman, who will do ‘whatever it takes’ to get someone into a Ford Pinto, today – you are a consummate beauty professional. You know the wants and needs of your clients’ hair better than anyone.
Have confidence in yourself and your position of power, and use it to send your clients home with products you know they’ll need and love. You’re more than qualified to make these recommendations, so don’t feel guilty or scared to do so!
2. Product Selection
*Choose products you believe in!
Once you choose to only sell products you personally believe in, the idea of retailing in your salon becomes a lot easier. You will no longer feel like you’re selling anything – you’re just simply recommending products you know will fulfill your clients’ hair needs.
*Say no to salon product diversion!
Too many companies exploit the expert knowledge and influence of Hair Stylists to gain brand affinity with their clients, then once it becomes profitable enough, they divert their products to large retail stores.
Can you think of a brand that was once salon exclusive, but are now sold directly to consumers?
3. Educate Yourself on Your Products
While it’s great to have an aesthetically pleasing retail shelf, you shouldn’t rely on just the look of your products to make a sale.
There’s a lot of great information to share about the products you carry that goes beyond, “it smells good.”
Hair products at Wal-Mart smell good. Tell them why they’re really investing the money in high-quality salon products.
For example, explain to them the importance of pH, and how your products work at the optimal level to prolong color and improve the health of their hair. There are a multitude of talking points that help your products stand out – not just from a beauty perspective, but also from a health and eco-conscious standpoint.
Once you’re able to make well-educated recommendations, you’ll start building a trusting retail relationship with your clients. Which brings to our next retail tip for salons.
4. Consultation is Key: Press for the Yes
A solid, honest consultation is vital for not just retailing products, but for fully understanding your client’s wants, needs, and lifestyle. As a stylist, it is our job to lead the conversation and make sure the client will be happy with their service.
Be sure to listen closely and help your client decide why they want a certain look. Do they keep bringing in a picture of a certain celebrity because they like the hair or because they like the idea of being that celebrity? Do they bring in a picture of them at a wedding because they actually liked their hair, or the nostalgia of happy times?
There’s a reason why Hair Stylists often get the reputation of being therapists or psychologists. Our job is to listen and translate our clients’ thoughts and ideas into a look that radiates beauty from the inside out.
Here are a few basic guidelines for conducting a good consultation:
How often do you plan on returning to the salon?
What is your styling routine like?
What do you like and dislike about your hair?
What challenges do you have when styling it?
Are you looking to try out a new look or style? Or do you want to enhance what you already have?
Do the Wet Stretch Test!
The Wet Stretch Test will determine the integrity of your client’s hair, and more importantly, tell you what is missing from the healthy hair equation. Not to mention, it keeps your client engaged with you during the service, as you are educating them on what their hair truly needs and why.
However, understand the consultation does not stop just before your service.
After you’ve completed your cut and/or color, you should have accurate insight into what kind of hair your client has and where their issues lie.
This is where we tell you to softly press for the yes.
Getting a person to say, “yes” a few times before a purchase, is a proven technique to increase the likelihood of a sale.
Here’s an example of some dialogue between a Hair Stylist and her client in salon retail sale situation:
Hair Stylist: You said you use a flat iron and blow dryer almost every day, right?
Client: Yes, I need to or my hair is a mess.
Hair Stylist: I understand, but you are also trying to grow your hair out and hate all of the split ends from your flat iron?
Client: Yes, it’s so annoying.
Hair Stylist: You should try this heat protectant and gloss serum. It will protect your hair from intense heat, and the gloss serum will help smooth down any split ends or frizz. It also contains no plastics, so you won’t have to worry about artificial waxes and petrochemicals that only make the hair appear healthy.
This is just one example. The more you know about your products, the easier it will be to make recommendations that will help build trust between you and your salon clientele!
This brings us to our next tip for selling salon retail.
5. Build Trust
Trust is at the heart of every successful relationship.
Many of you already know that special connection between a Hair Stylist and his/her client is more of a friendship than anything else. Moreover, most true friendships do not occur over night, and must be steadily earned in time.
It is very important in the beginning stages of your friendship with your clients to focus on earning their trust.
Instead of pushing multiple products on a new client, start with just the basics to enhance and maintain their service. If it’s color, shampoo and conditioner; if it’s a hair cut, just a styling product. If they still show uncertainty, perhaps extend to them a discount they are able to use during their next visit (that is only redeemable with you).
You gain trust through listening to your clients’ problems, you keep trust by solving them!
Once you solve one hair problem, that opens the doors of opportunity to solve more. So, build that trust and be a good friend to your client!
6. Back Bowl/Styling Opportunity
The time at the shampoo bowl is the perfect opportunity to acquaint your client with the products you are using. Tell them what the products will do to help their hair.
Once you’ve done the Wet Stretch Test, your client should be aware of what their hair is lacking. So, while giving them a nice head massage, explain that this shampoo and conditioner/treatment will add moisture/protein and will heal the hair from the inside out.
Washing your client’s hair should be a relaxing experience, and is an opportune time to stimulate the senses.
Paint a picture for your clients – you are the artist, after all.
For example, if you’re using a lightly floral scented shampoo, try to relax the client further and say, “I love this shampoo – not only does it make the hair shiny, it makes you feel like your lying in a bed of roses.”
The same opportunity that exists at the bowl also exists when you style their hair. So, show off your styling products!
Instead of just jumping in and styling your client’s hair, let them know what you’re using and why. Teach them how to properly use the product and style their hair – they’ll appreciate the tip and be more apt to purchase the product you used!