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, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

I woke to the sounds of birds chirping and the faint glow of the sunrise peeping through my window. It’s Sunday morning on my part of the globe. As I sit in my kitchen by my window, I feel the warmth of the summer sun, the  morning breeze cooling my shoulders. I see the steam rising off my fresh cup of coffee in my favorite mug and all is right with the world. As I was gazing out my window, wondering what to write about today, my mind was flooded with all the conversations I had with customers this week. As you know, I decided to take the offer of returning to the shoe store I once worked at. In the past I was in charge of the Ladies section. This time around, I am once again in the Ladies section, without the hassles of management. I go in four days a week and all I have to do is focus on selling and helping the customers, and it’s wonderful.

This past week, I lost count of the women who spoke poorly of themselves, and unfortunately of others. Women of all ages. Thinking their ankles were too thick to wear a strappy sandal. Women who thought they were too old to wear red heels. Women who thought their bunions were too ugly so they only wore running shoes so no one would see their feet. Women who thought their feet were too wide for the gold ballerina flat they adored. Women who thought their calves were too big or too slender. Women who thought their baby toe looked weird. What it all came down to was they were all worried about what others would think, never once giving a thought to what they themselves thought. Almost all of the women who were concerned about their “problem area” had one thing in common, someone had told them it was a “problem area”. One woman in particular stands out. She found a pair of sandals, flat with a little bow. I told her they looked really cute on her, because they did. She looked up at me, eyes sparkling, smiling ear to ear and said “I love them!”. Minutes later, I saw her putting them back in the box and returning them to the shelf. “Did you need another size?” I asked. “No. My friend said they were too young for me and I just look foolish.”. No smile and the sparkle in her eyes had vanished. She ended up sitting in a chair waiting on her friend. She didn’t want to look anymore or try on anything else.

First and foremost, Ladies and Gents, don’t do that. Don’t. One of the cruelest actions is putting your own insecurities on someone else. When you see that someone is happy or excited about a decision be excited for them, celebrate with them. Secondly, for all those out there, Ladies and Gents alike, stop worrying about the size of your ankles, your calves, your bunions, whatever it may be, stop worrying about what other people think. Trust me, no one is looking…and for the few who are, give them a copy of Knitting for Dummies and tell them to get a new hobby. Seriously, if they have time to look for thick ankles and bunions, their lives must be pretty empty and their self esteem and image is dwindling to say the least.

Be your own kind of beautiful, today and everyday. Be kind. Celebrate others achievements and choices, for they are theirs, not yours to deal with. Oh, and buy the shoes.

 

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.

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

A little retail therapy

When you hear the phrase “retail therapy” the most common picture that comes to mind is a woman or a group of women strolling down the street with many a bag in hand from their favorite shops and boutiques…or Wilma and Betty shouting “Charge it” as they run into the mall. Yes, retail therapy can brighten the darkest of days for us. It can also brighten the darkest of days in the Salon as well. Understanding the importance and the impact of retail sales in the Salon can seem overwhelming for many stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners…until now.

 

I have written many Salon Tales covering retail. Today, I am sharing some links for you to make it that much easier to see just how simple adding retail to your Salon’s revenue can be.

salon_mag_logo   A few articles by yours truly featured on http://www.salonmagazine.ca ;

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/news/1146-why-fear-holds-back-the-best-stylists.html

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/news/1282-3-salon-fails-sales-rep-sees-don-t-tell-you-about.html

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/business-retailing/2122-salon-holiday-retailing-tips.html

 

Piidea Buyers Guide ….and my most popular blog on retail to date, featured in the Piidea Buyer’s Guide;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2014/05/20/if-you-are-a-stylist-you-are-a-sales-person/

Retailing product in your Salon is a win/win. Your clients will be able to protect their investment in themselves, will be able to achieve their new style in between Salon visits, your client retention and your Salon revenue will increase. Plain and Simple.

 

 

Beauty, Business, communication, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

…from the inside out

“Trade expectation for appreciation” – Tony Robbins.

It was Sunday morning. I was sitting on the couch, staring out my window while mindlessly flipping through the channels, pondering my circumstances, when I heard the above quote. I turned away from my window to see Tony Robbins speaking with Oprah, on Super Soul Sunday. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Robbins appeared in my living room. About a month ago, whenever I was on Facebook or twitter it seemed someone was posting about his Netflix documentary “I am not your guru”. So, being me, I had to see what all the hype was about. I grabbed my water and a snack, got comfy on the couch and turned on Netflix. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Being 44, I was familiar with Tony Robbins and his motivational workshops and books. I had given them a try in the past, however nothing ever seemed to resonate in me. I would get a spark, but the fire never stayed lit. Until now. There I was, sitting up, leaning towards the television with tears running down my cheek. Did I happen to mention I was 10 minutes in? Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is where I am in my life. Maybe it is because I am more open than I used to be. Whatever the reason, it was beautiful. It was powerful, magical even. It has been 4 weeks since I have watched it, and I think about it at least once a day. It was the first time I felt I actually saw the real Tony Robbins. No bullshit. No politically correct rhetoric. It was the most refreshing moment I had seen and heard in a long while, and it was exactly what the Dr. ordered.

 

For those who follow my blog, you know that the shop/Salon I manage is closing at the end of the month. The past few weeks have been trying to say the least. Every customer that comes through the door has the same questions “You’re closing?”, “This is so unfair! What am I going to do?”, “Where will I get my product now?”, “What are you going to do now?”, “Guess you are shit out of luck with no job huh?” and countless other negative comments and inquiries. After 3 weeks of repeating myself, smiling, being courteous, I have to admit, their opinions and statements were beginning to sink in and were setting up shop in my mind. I was starting to expect the worst, which is not my style.

Fast forward to this past weekend. Just as yours truly was allowing the “what if’s” to make their way into my mind and allowing fear to control what I expected my plans to turn out like, what do I hear at the exact moment I was getting all stressed about my expectations but Mr. Robbins himself stating “trade expectation for appreciation.”. …okay there universe…I get it. I feel the nudge. So, that is exactly what I did. Yes, it was weird at first. Yes, I had to really concentrate on appreciating. Yes, I felt a little foolish. Then I realized it felt weird and foolish because I was thinking of what others would say or think instead of thinking of what I think and what I want to say. Then I remembered a quote I came across months ago “I used to care about people’s opinions until I tried to pay my bills with them”, enough said.

What is happening in your life does not define you. It only defines you if you let it. Plain and Simple.