Today’s tale is meant for Sales Reps., Sales Managers and distributors alike. Our industry, I believe, is one of the best to be in. There is always something new around the corner. New coloring techniques. New cutting techniques. Our workplace always smells great. We change peoples lives. We improve their self image and in turn their self esteem. It’s exciting and it’s fun. …and it is a business. Something, I am sorry to say, as of late, many are tending to forget.
Over the past 5 months I have been on the receiving end of many an unreturned call, email and text. I have had to find out through my own investigative skills that products have been discontinued, that products are on back order and that certain companies no longer had a rep. for my area. I have even had to hear about a brand promotion from a Rep. that is a competitor of the brand that is running the promotion. I have not been too impressed, to say the least.
I am fortunate enough that our Salon/shop carries over 25 professional hair care lines, so I am able to suggest another product. I am also very fortunate that our shop has been around for over 15 years and our clients/customers trust me and my suggestions. I do not think other Salon’s are as lucky. In fact, I know they are not because I hear about it everyday. Trust me, when a woman isn’t getting the straight goods, she will let everyone from the mailman to the newspaper delivery boy know about it.
Stylists are in the service industry. We are in the business of serving the client and the customer – catch phrases I hear all the time. Yes, this is true, for Stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners. It is also true for Sales Reps., Sales Managers and distributors. To be clear, I have a few Sales Reps. that go above and beyond their call of duty. They keep their appointments, they call when anything changes from products to our appointment time. They offer retail bags and samples, free of charge so I can in turn give them to our clients and customers. They have become my friend and someone I hold in high esteem. I also deal with some distributors that are on top of their game and are in contact with me when it is needed. Unfortunately, they are the rarity when they should be the norm. So, being me, I have compiled a little how to or reminder list, think of it as a job aid.
- In the age of facebook, twitter, email and text, there is no reason, whatsoever that a Salon can’t be notified that there is not a rep. for their area. All Salons should be notified, not just the big accounts. PSSSTTT…the little accounts could have become big accounts if you had kept in contact and showed up more often.
- When an email is sent, respond to it. If you don’t have an answer, then politely admit it and let the person know you will be in touch as soon as you have an answer.
- If you can text a picture of a cat driving a toy car, you can text that you are running behind and may be late for your scheduled appointment. *Again, I cannot stress this enough – do this for all accounts, not just the big ones. I have personally had a $500.00 order waiting for a rep. who didn’t show up or return my texts (well, she did, 3 days later and made the mistake of telling me was “sorry” but she had landed a big account and was too busy to get to my shop – her exact words), so I gave it to her competitor – because she did return my text and showed up to see me, even when I didn’t have an order.
- Stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners are customers too. I can only speak for myself, I do not like when someone thinks for me. Never assume we do or do not want a product or product line in our Salon. Show it to us, leave a sample if possible, explain it’s value and let us decide. *That Girl in the Red Coat tip – explain the retail value of your products, not just the backbar/station use. …clients love the way they look in the chair, they also want to love the way they look at home and retailing products is the key to opening that door.
- When a product is discontinued, let us know. Write it on the invoice with the order shipment, it’s that simple. Hoping I will get the point and will stop ordering a product after 10 tries to order it is not the way to do business. Many times that product is a special customer order and now I have egg on my face, a disappointed customer, and a lost sale. *While they were waiting for that product, if I had known it was discontinued, I could have introduced them to something comparable.
- When an order is placed, please confirm you received it. I emailed an order because the sleuth in me discovered I no longer had a Rep.. It wasn’t until I sent another email forwarding my first email that I got a response that the order had been shipped and again, the product ordered was in demand and I had a list of women waiting for my call to let them know I once again had it in stock.
I didn’t like waiting for the phone to ring when I was 16, I really don’t like it now. …and in business, no one likes to be the last to know.