Business, That girl in the red coat

First Impressions

Yours truly has been in the customer service/sales biz for over 30 years. I have sold everything from luxury cars to hairspray, shoes to gourmet food items. Training, product knowledge, product testing, having the right person for the job, having a strong sales team and a firm yet fair management team are vital to any business’s success. All of the above factor into the image you want your business to convey, be it a car dealership, a shoe store or a Salon. Dress codes are put into place, policies and procedures are followed to convey knowledge and professionalism to the customers and clients. The proper lighting, shelving and product placement are mulled over until they are just right. Phone scripts are followed for consistency. The list is endless.

A few weeks ago I was contacted asking for my opinion on an Infographic. It was an Infographic on “curb appeal”. When we hear the term curb appeal we automatically think of selling houses. Graphic House Inc. , http://www.graphichouse.com gave yours truly a light bulb moment. Curb appeal has a huge impact on businesses as well. Business owners spend thousands of dollars on their image, their social media presence, their products and their store layout yet many times their outside image falls to the way side. Think of it this way, if your business looks disheveled from the outside, more often than not, the customer will assume the inside of your business is the same, if not worse and will not come in.

To give you a how to if you will, here is the link from Graphic House Inc. I was telling you about;

https://www.graphichouseinc.com/blog/how-to-improve-your-businesss-curb-appeal/

I have personally washed windows in 4 inch heels while managing a Salon. I have swept more front stoops than I care to remember. I have picked up trash that was not mine because it was in front of the shop. I have spoken with landlords about painting parking spaces for wheelchair accessibility. I have watered plants and planted greenery to make shops more welcoming. It takes a few moments of everyday to keep it clean and appealing. A fresh coat of paint may cost you a few hundred dollars. Trust me, invest a little and your sales will follow. A little bit of effort goes a long way. The more appealing your business looks from the outside, curiosity will spark and more people will want to see what’s going on inside.

 

Business, communication, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

… oh the things I hear

As you know, I have been in the retail/customer service biz for over 30 years now. Yep. 30 years. From running the first central dispatch for Pizza Hut Canada back in the 90’s, to selling everything from hairspray, shoes and luxury vehicles. Over the decades, there has always been one commonality. The strange, the rude and the down right odd things people say to salespeople. In sharing these zingers, my hope is to bring a smile to your face and if you happen to know anyone who behaves/speaks like this, maybe together we can help them. …and yes, I am sorry to say, the following have been said to me. I constantly have to remind myself “do not show it on your face”. I can’t make this shit up.

  • “Will this boot shrink?” – a woman asked me if the Hunter rubber boot she was trying on would shrink in size. I asked her if she meant would it stretch. Nope. Her concern was it would shrink.

 

  • “This sandal is too big…look how much my foot moves!” …she was trying on a flip flop.

 

  • “How am I supposed to hold the hairspray?” …the can stated it was “hard to hold”. …psst…that means the hold factor of the spray itself.

 

  • “If I never use the back seat why do I have to get a 4 door car?”. I let the gentleman know we offered a 2 door sedan. “Oh, 2 doors won’t do.”. …sigh

 

  • A couple did not think it was fair that they couldn’t get approved for a car loan. We explained that they hadn’t paid their phone/cable bill in 9 months to which they said “well, they changed our plan and we didn’t like it so we won’t pay until we get what we want!”. …FYI – that’s not how that works. If you don’t pay your bills, your credit rating plunges and lenders aren’t a fan of bad credit.

 

  • “I need a shoe that fits my Orthotics.” I asked her if she had them with her. “Oh no, I never wear them.”.

 

  • “These are men’s shoes! There is an “M” on the box!” …we were in the ladies section. FYI – an “M” = medium width. A “W” = wide width.

 

  • “Can you tell me where my toe is?” … a woman trying on a 4 inch pointed toe stiletto heel.

 

  • “Is there enough room in this shoe for growing room?” … a question posed to yours truly from a woman in her 40’s. I let her know that her feet have probably stopped growing to which she said “Yeah, but what if I gain weight?”.

 

  • “Are these slippers slippery?”

 

  • A woman came in looking for winter boots. She picked up a pair and asked if they were winter boots. I let her know that although there was fur inside the boot it was a fashion boot. It had no thermal grading and was not waterproof or water resistant. I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about because “anything with fur is for winter.”.

I could go on, but I would get carpel tunnel, so I shall save more for later. Enjoy the giggles Beauties.

Beauty, Business, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat

VIP Treatment 2018

Usually once Monday rolls around, it is met with sighs or groans, cozy in our beds not wanting to face another Monday. Thanks to the Beauties at Venus Beauty Supplies this Girl in the Red Coat jumped out of bed before her alarm. This past Monday, October 15th., I knew there was a ticket waiting at the door at the Sheraton On The Falls that would allow me to experience another fantastic VIP event put together by none other than Venus Beauty Supplies.

       

 

 

This hair show is not your run of the mill hair show. It is filled with education, one on one consultations, brand ambassadors, complimentary products and more. It is a 2 day event, with the option to attend the gala on the Sunday evening and the show on Monday, or to attend the show on the Monday to accommodate any schedule. Venus takes it upon themselves to book hotels rooms at a special price ahead of time for those who decide to make it a weekend in Niagara Falls. Everything is taken care of, event info., accommodations and directions, all you need to do is show up. Quite a lovely aspect, and certainly not the norm. Upon arrival, you are given a “passport”. This enables you to visit all the brand booths, find out about their products, get your passport stamped and on your way out, with your passport fully stamped you receive a FABULOUS swag bag valued over $150.00 with goodies from all the brands you just visited.

The brands in attendance this year were;

  • AG Hair
  • Alterna HairCare
  • Schwarzkopf Professional
  • FRAMAR
  • Elchim
  • UNITE
  • Revlon Professional
  • REUZEL
  • Moroccanoil
  • Y.S./PARK
  • WAHL
  • Peter Coppola
  • KASHO
  • COLOR WOW
  • Uans
  • DannyCo

…and let me tell you, I was quite impressed. Any question I had was answered on the spot. It was so refreshing to meet people that knew their stuff, that had an understanding of their product and were able to explain any question or misinterpretation of their products.

Did you know? Unite’s Doggy’Poo pet shampoo gives all their proceeds to local charities, for people and pets alike.

Y.S./PARK Combs are stain resistant AND heat resistant! Every comb is created with little holes along the ridge – these are meant as measuring tools for the stylist and for the client. You are able to show your client exactly how much hair will be trimmed or cut. PSSST…their parting comb is amazing!

Peter Coppola has revamped their line and their packaging. A clean, crisp scent accompanied by clean, crisp packaging. This line is a beauty, their products for smoothing are outstanding!

You all know that yours truly is a fan of The Wet Brush. The beauties at FRAMAR have created their own detangling brush. The colors are bright and cheery, the brush is very light to hold, the handle is a little slimmer and longer and the head of the brush is a little wider which means more bristles to detangle. It works.

RUEZEL offered all day cutting techniques and product how to’s. This brand is a MUST for any barber, or Salon that offers barbering. Created for the gents, from packaging to scent.

The Beauties at Revlon Professional offered an interactive booth that allowed you to swipe a screen to educate yourself on all or any of the products they offer – which product was best for your hair type or hair woe. The Beauties at the booth offered their own swag bag and I was fortunate to be given one. Filled with samples of styling products, treatments and color. DID YOU KNOW? – Revlon Professional owns and creates their own color. They are not under the umbrella of any other beauty company, one of the reasons their color stands out and stands on it’s own two feet.

Venus Beauty Supplies has their VIP event every year, in different cities throughout the year. This is an event that you want added to your calendar. Visit Venus Beauty Supplies on their website for details on all their upcoming events and promotions and for a list of their sales team to find out who is in your city.

http://www.venusbeauty.com

I have been a client of Venus Beauty Supplies, and have worked with their reps for over 12 years, and when you are a client of theirs, you receive the VIP treatment everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

I have been in the retail/customer service gig for over 30 years now. Yup…30 years. I have sold everything from lingerie to sports cars, hairspray to stilettos. In every sales arena, there has always been two commonalities, the customer and their perceived attitude. Over the years, a combination of experience and maturity led me to the conclusion that not everything and everyone are as they seem. That attitudes and opinions are often taken the wrong way or taken too personally. There is always something else going on behind the scenes. I had a few experiences yesterday with customers that led me to today’s blog. Take it as a reminder to not take the views of others, their words or actions personally.

I asked a woman if I could help her, if she was finding what she was looking for. She didn’t answer me, didn’t even look at me. I let her be and returned a few moments later when I saw her walking around in a pair of pumps she had chosen. I asked her how the fit was, if they were comfortable. She looked up at me and shrugged. I saw the size she was from the shoe box on the floor and went and found some similar styles. I brought them to her and asked if she liked any of them. She looked at them, then at me and told me she didn’t want to buy shoes but had to because she was going to her father’s funeral.

A man came up to me, quite agitated. He was looking for shoes for his mother. He didn’t know her size and was embarrassed that all he had to go on was his tracing of her foot on a piece of paper. I showed him a few styles that might work for her and offered some slipper styles too. He said “Only shoes! She will only wear shoes!”. Then he let out a huge sigh and apologized for raising his voice. His mother has Alzheimers and it had been a rough week.

A woman came up to me and asked me my name. I told her “My name is Sara”. She said “Okay, good to know.”. I asked her if she needed my help. She told me no. For the next few minutes I kept seeing her trying to catch my eye and when she did, she looked away. I saw she had different styles of sandals in her hand. I went over, asked for her shoe size and showed her the chairs we had available. I told her she could have a seat and would bring over the sandals for her to try. When I brought over the sandals, she stayed pretty quiet. I noticed she was struggling to do up the back strap, so I offered to help her. She looked up at me and said “That would be great. I am not having a good day”. Over the course of our conversion and trying on multiple styles of sandals, I came to find out she had many medical issues that affected her balance and her gait (her manner of walking). She also apologized for not speaking a lot at first, for she has anxiety buying shoes – she knows people are looking at her and she knows she will need help putting on shoes. All she ever wants is to feel normal and have shoes that a woman in her 40’s would wear, and not have to settle for the same shoes as her grandmother. Long story short, I found her two pairs of sandals that gave her great support and an even stride and that I would wear. As she was leaving, the woman that came in looking at the floor and hardly speaking was beaming and telling me how happy she was, she gave me a hug and told me that now she feels she can play tag with 3 year old at the park.

Maybe it’s the new moon. Maybe something’s in retrograde. All I know is that in less than 9 hours I spoke with people dealing with a loss of a child, a loss of a parent, having to put a parent in long term care, a loss of physical abilities, a loss of a job. At first they came across cold and abrupt, and honestly, dealing with those issues, who wouldn’t? I just let them be them and kept trying. Shower them with kindness, sooner or later, the wall comes down.

The purpose for today’s blog isn’t only sales related. It’s life related. You never know what another person is going through. It’s hard not to take opinions and attitudes personally, this I know too well. You gotta try to remember, it’s not about you. If you take the time to delve a little deeper, you may end up bringing a little light into another’s dark day.

 

 

Beauty, Business, That girl in the red coat

Get on the floor

I know many small business owners. I know owners of corporations. Each time I speak to any of them, they all say the same thing “Business is slow. Profits are down. I don’t know why.”. I can tell you why. No one is on the floor selling the product. Plain and simple. I am well aware that the state of the economy, inflation, the weather, you name it can be seen as a cause for lack of revenue and profits to be down. In my experience all the mentioned factors go hand in hand with lack of selling. In the age of online shopping being the real only competitor, you need your people on the floor – it’s the one thing Amazon can’t deliver – a salesperson.

Last week, my hubby and I went out for dinner and decided to stop by a local dealership to see if my nephew was working that evening, just to say hello. As we waited for him, we started looking around. There were 4 people in my line of sight, they caught my eye, not one said “Hello”. Sure, maybe they knew I was waiting for someone, maybe they didn’t. I might have been waiting on a salesperson, I may have been there with the intent to buy, without speaking to me, they would never know. After we left, our curiosity was perked, my hubby was curious to see what other new cars and technologies were out there, I was curious to see what the customer service was like, so off we went. The first dealership felt like a ghost town, I was sure I saw a tumble weed blow by. We walked the lot, not a soul in sight. I could see salespeople looking out the window at us… but no one came out to greet us, shake our hand, even say “Hey!”. Off to another dealership. Sad to say, the exact same thing happened, only this time the salesperson looking out at us from inside the dealership was methodically drinking his coffee, looking like he forgot to do something. Psstt…that thing you forgot to do was your job. I know this sounds like a rant, it is not. I sold cars. When a customer is on the lot, you go out and introduce yourself. Every person coming onto your lot has the potential to spend up to $75000.00, they deserve, at the very least, some acknowledgment.

I used a car dealership as an example simply because it is one circumstance we all have in common, we have all had to buy a car, or helped someone to buy a car. There is no difference between purchasing a car or purchasing a can of hairspray. A person is about to part with their money and they want to be sure it is worth parting with. It may be that the customer needs help, has a question about the product they are looking at or they cannot reach the shelf the desired product is on and they need someone to get it down for them. Maybe you just renovated your shop and they no longer know where their favorite product is, or if you accept debit. People do not want to look stupid and most are worried that their inquiries or questions will seem dumb, so they will not start the conversation. A salesperson on the floor = more sales, plain and simple. Without salespeople on the floor to start said conversation, the majority of customers will leave and go somewhere else.

When most picture a sales person, they picture Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati. It’s time to picture something else. A good salesperson does not need gimmicks. A well trained salesperson has product knowledge and fact to back up their claim of the product at hand. They are educated on the ins and outs of their products, they know to ask what the customer’s needs are, what their end game looks like, so they are able to give their customer the proper product, be it a flat iron or a home computer.

For those who don’t think a good salesperson or sales force on the floor makes a difference, I have proof it makes a difference. Personal proof. At least once a week, I am stopped at the grocery store, the library, hell even a public bathroom by a customer I helped in the past. “It’s you! You helped me buy those shoes! I went back to the shop you worked at but no one waited on me. What do you know about Merrells?”. …I sold them a pair of shoes 10 years ago. “Oh hello! Who should I talk to about buying a car? You were so helpful when you helped us buy our car.”. …I sold them a car 12 years ago. “Sara! I finally ran into you! Where do I find that Joico Revitaluxe you sold me? Every Salon I go to doesn’t know what I am talking about.”. …the Salon/retail shop I managed closed 6 years ago. Case and point, a poised, educated salesperson equals sales. If I am able to increased sales and profits for businesses that I don’t even work for, imagine how many more sales and customers they could have by simply making their salespeople get and stay on the floor.

No matter your industry, from owning a Hair Salon to a Dealership and everything in between, you need your people on the floor. Plain and simple.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, Women

Shelf Talk

“Retail doesn’t work.”. “People aren’t buying our products.”. “Everyone sells product, so why should we?”. “Our product just sits on the shelves.”. These common phrases are a sampling of what I have heard over the past 25 years and I am here today to tell you that although this mentality is the norm, it is far from the truth. I have been in sales and customer service for over 25 years and the truth is, nothing sells itself. Nothing.

Many Salon owners have the same concern, that the Salon revenue is down, or the Salon is not generating enough revenue. Ladies and gents, adding retail and selling retail has the potential to cover all expenses, your hydro bill, your lease payment, even your payroll. It can. I know this because I have seen it first hand. In a town of 125000 people, with over 100 salons to compete with, I ran a shop that in a slow month sold over $18000.00 of retail product.

First and foremost, you must stop worrying and focusing on what other Salons are doing and focus on your business. Secondly, you have to sell the product. The packaging may look pretty on the shelf, if your clients do not know why those products will help them manage their hair and have a great hair day in between visits, those bottles are going to continue to look pretty on the shelf. Explain to your customers and clients the benefits of the products you are selling. Teach them how to use them. Taking an extra 10 minutes can save your client hours of anguish in front of their mirror at home, keep your relationship with them in good standing and open the door to new clients for you and the Salon. When people hear of good customer service, word spreads fast. …I have been out of the shop for over 2 years, I still have women messaging me via Facebook, stopping me at the grocery store, at the bank, even at the local shop I was working for asking me “Are you that girl that helps everyone get the right product for their hair?”.

I can hear it now “…I don’t want to seem pushy.”. Giving your client the proper product to protect their hair and enable them to feel good about their hair and their reflection is not being pushy. Protecting their hair and your hard work is not being pushy. You are helping your client protect their investment in themselves, and in turn, protecting your reputation as a stylist. Remember this, your clients are your advertising. They leave the Salon feeling like they could walk the runway, without the proper products at home, within a few days they are feeling like they should runaway. Trust me, if a bad hair day is happening, sooner or later, the stylist is blamed. Selling your clients products to use at home ensures they love their hair and your relationship with them and your reputation remains intact.

Another common phrase “…they just spent $150.00 on their service. They can’t afford to spend more.”. First, don’t do that. You do not know what someone can or can’t afford, assuming anything of anyone is rude, plain and simple. …remember the scene in Pretty Woman?…you don’t want to be like those shop girls. It is up to your client to decide what they can or cannot afford. It is up to you to explain the value. If your client does not understand the value of the product and the importance of the product, they are not able to make an informed decision. Something to remember, you just spent 2-4 hours of your day working on their $150.00 service, selling them the proper products to use at home protects their investment and your hard work.

 

Sign on the shelves look great, unfortunately they are not always read. Shelf talkers beside the products are fun to look at, they do not speak. More often than not, people want help, they are afraid to ask because of a fear of looking or sounding stupid. There are so many products out there, and to the untrained eye, all the bottles look the same. It’s up to us to take a moment or two and ask the simple question “What can I help you with today?”.

Business, That girl in the red coat

The “Key” to sales

There is a word that seems to invoke fear in many Salon owners and stylists alike. The word is retail. Now, before you hide under the covers, I am here to tell you to have no fear. Retail is your friend. Retailing product in your Salon increases profits, helps to ease the financial drain of your overhead and most importantly, keeps your clients hair in the beautiful state it was in at their last appointment and in tip top shape until they see you again. Saryna Key is a line that can do all of the above.

 

Yes, there are many oils in the market. It seems all brands have jumped on the oil bandwagon, so many Salons and stylists think “What’s the point of carrying this line when there are so many others out there?”, “I don’t know how to sell it.” or my all time favorite “Oh, my client’s won’t buy that.”. Well, I am here to help you understand why you should have Saryna Key as a brand in your Salon and how to sell it. Once you educate yourself, you can educate your client. Once a client understands the value of the product, most will not even blink at the cost. Plain and simple.

 

In my experience, many times we get caught up in the ingredients of a product, which I admit are important, to the stylist. The client…not so much. Our clients need to know how to use the product, how much, how often and in what order. So, I am here to tell you how I sold Saryna Key to our clients and our customers. You’re welcome.

Every woman I spoke to asked me the same question. “What’s the difference between all these oils?”. (This is where educating yourself about Saryna Key and its competitors comes in handy.). Before I would answer, I would ask them the following questions;

          What is the issue you are having with your hair?

          Have you colored your hair at home?

          Are you currently using drug store or professional products on your hair?

          Does your hair fall limp easily?

          Do you battle with your curl and frizz?

Asking these questions allows you to diagnose your client’s hair situation and give her the proper product. Once the question(s) had been answered, this is how I introduced Saryna Key;

Saryna Key is as an oil that repairs and restores your hair. Saryna Key is one of the only lines that has created separate oils in separate lines for each hair types, unlike other lines that have only one oil, and as we know, not all hair types are the same. 

  SarynaKey Damage Repair Oil SarynaKey Curl Line - That Girl in the Red Coat SarynaKey ColorIMG_20150112_140505

Then I would introduce the value of Saryna Key;

 It offers a better price point for their products. For instance, their 500ml Shampoo is the same price as the competitor’s 250ml bottle of Shampoo. I would introduce them to the Saryna Key selection, starting with the Damage line, then moving on to the Volume line, the Color line and finally the Curl line. I would wait for them to say “What about those?” and then would introduce their Dandruff Shampoo and the Neutralizing Pigment Shampoo (or purple shampoo if you prefer).

Then I would have a 2-3 minute consultation on how and when to use the products. I would explain how many times per week or month the treatment should be used. I would show them in my hand the amount of oil that would be needed. I would show them in my hair, (or theirs if they preferred) how to apply the oil and distribute it properly throughout their hair. I would show them how to mist the shine spray – how far to hold it away from their hair for even shine distribution. For our curly haired Beauties I would explain the importance of proper product application and drying time to avoid frizz and unruly curls.

…and that’s it. It really is that simple. Once the value of the product was presented and the time was taken to explain not only how the product works, but how to work with the product, another bottle (or two) of Saryna Key left the shelf.