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

It’s probably not the weather

Over the past few months, I feel as though I have been having the same conversation with different reps, Salon owners that I chat with from time to time and Stylists. Everyone says that business is slow. They all seem to be having the same problem and they all seem to have the same reasons for it. “It’s probably the weather.”. “The economy is slow.”. “It’s peak vacation season, so people are away.”. “We charge $90.00 for a color. Our clients don’t want to spend more for product.”. “My client bookings are down. I guess my clients are really busy.”. I have news for you, and you aren’t going to like it. The above excuses – yeah, I said it, excuses for the lack of business at your Salon comes down to you, your staff, your customer service, your policies and your lack of retail. Plain and simple. I say excuses because sitting around complaining about business being slow and doing nothing about it is an excuse and is lazy. *To be clear – I agree that the weather can affect sales – Mother Nature is not always our friend up here in the Great White North – a blizzard or a good ‘ol Polar Vortex will keep people at home. As for the others, well, there is always something that can be done.

I have been in the retail/customer service game for over 25 years and in our beloved industry for over 12 of those years. I know too well the struggles we can face, from product cost increases, rent increases, wage increases and competition from other Salons that offer the same services. Here’s the deal. When your Salon has procedures in place, when your staff is educated on your products and your stylists re-book and follow up with their clients and your retail shelves are stocked, your business will sustain itself, and grow. It will. *The key – you have to work at it, everyday. You have to believe in yourself and your business and what you are trying to accomplish. Being me, I have compiled a little list for you.

– Policies. I cannot stress this enough. Dress codes need to be in effect and followed. Personal calls are not for the Salon floor or the store front. Take it to the lunch room. I understand emergencies arise and a call from the school must be taken on the Salon floor. Booking your next oil change…not so much. *Remember – all your client in your chair is doing is listening and watching everything going on in the Salon…and good news travels fast….bad news travels faster.

– Make it your Salon policy to re-book every client at the end of their service. Now, I know this will not happen 100% of the time, it can happen 85% of the time – I know this because that is what our average is in our Salon. Once you explain to your client that you cannot guarantee that you won’t be booked solid 6 weeks from now, they will re-book. Let your client know they are more than welcome to cancel or reschedule if need be. In my experience, once they realize they are not indebted to that exact date, they re-book, and show up to their appointment.

– Be sure to offer a consultation to every client, new or existing. Take a minute to ask them how they are, what plans they have, if any special events are coming up. Ask them if they were thinking of changing it up or did they like their last color and style. ¬†Asking these questions makes your client feel important and that they matter. It also gives you a chance to find out what is happening in their lives – for instance, if they have a gala coming up, trying a pixie cut for the first time may not be the best idea. During a consultation you may find out about a health scare, a new medication or a new product they have been using that could affect their color service that day. Asking them “same as last time” doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t.

– Make sure your Salon is stocked with water, tea and coffee. Having a choice of milk, cream or flavored creamer, sweetener or sugar goes a long way. At our Salon, we have clients that as we are taking their coat are asking if we still have that “yummy creamer”.

– Get on Social Media. Facebook is checked before email. I update our Facebook page at least 4 times a day. It takes all of 2 minutes each time. We have gained customers and clients from our updates. I have gained new customers that drive from other cities because of the specials and the new arrival of products I have posted.

– Your Salon must retail product. It must. Before you get all “that’s a huge investment!”, calm down. I am not saying you have to have every brand and every product. You should have the products you are using in your Salon for sale to your clients. Keep 2 – 3 bottles of each product you use on your shelves, at all times. You can’t sell what you don’t have. *Think of it like this – as a stylist, would you go without having bleach at your color mixing station because “No one will probably want it”? No, you wouldn’t. The same rings true with retailing the hairspray you use at your station. Thinking for your clients instead of thinking about them is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Retailing products works. I know. I do it everyday. Once your client/customer realizes that their hair can have the same look and hold at home that they get from you, they will buy the product.

– Provide good customer service. Talk to your clients and customers. Educate them on their hair and their products. Offer free consultations, from an up-do to how to use their flat iron. I personally have helped our customers learn how to use their new flat iron or curling iron. I have been known to flip my head upside down and from side to side and mess up my own ‘do just to show them how to do their own hair, and correct a mishap with a flat iron. If your client is not happy with the product they bought, ask them to bring it in, ask them to show you how they use it, then show them how you use it. In my experience, the product is the right product, the application needed improvement.

Following policies and procedures, re-booking and following up with clients, taking the time for proper consultations, utilizing Social Media, educating your clients and your customers and retailing products and keeping the shelves stocked, your Salon will thrive. It will.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

ThatGirlx3

 

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized

It’s easier than you may think

It’s January. For the most part January is known as a slow period for Salons…picture a ghost town with a tumble weed tumbling down the middle of a dusty road. Today’s tale is for all the Beauties of the Salon industry, from the apprentices to the Salon owners. I am here to tell you that January, well, every month for that matter can be highly profitable from retail sales to waiting lists to get into the chair. How do I know? Well, I book appointments for our stylists and personally add names to our “call if there is a cancellation” list, and I see the rewards of retail, from profit for the Salon to smiling faces from our clients who now have the proper products and tools to achieve their new ‘do in between each pre-booked appointment.

A successful Salon is easier than you think. It really is. *To be clear – just because I said it was easy doesn’t mean that some consistent effort isn’t required. The most important aspect to a successful Salon as I see it begins with management. As Salon owners and managers we must be consistent with every aspect of our position, be it dress code, scheduling, payroll, inventory, employee relations, even how we answer the phone. We, as managers and owners need to set the pace, we need to set the example to adhere to. If we are not following dress code, how can we expect our staff to? If we wander in 20 minutes after the Salon opens with no call or reason why, how can we write up our staff for being late?

On any given day at our Salon, you will find me taking inventory, placing orders, talking to the reps and selling products to our clients and our customers. You may also find me looking up a product on the internet for a customer to either find her something I sell that is comparable, or to find a local Salon that sells that product so I can help her find it. You will also find me washing the floors, or dusting the retail products on our shelves, or taking out the garbage, or sweeping the floors or folding the towels. Hence why at our Salon we work as a team, because I do not ask one thing of my staff that I would not do myself.

Being me, I have compiled a little list for you. Seriously, it’s easier than you think.

– Pre-booking appointments is a must. Many stylists are shy about asking to pre-book. They don’t know how to bring it up. Next time your client is paying for their service, try this “Our total today is $100.00. Would you like to make your next appointment for 5 or 6 weeks from now?” – it’s a question that yes or no will not suffice as an answer, it gives you and your client a chance to have a conversation about their next appointment.

– Pre-booking shows your clients that your time and their time is valuable. It shows your clients that you want to be sure the love affair with their hair continues. It lets them know that you do not want to have to turn them away because you are booked.

– Make retail a part of your service. Think about it. While you are drying your client’s hair I am sure you have heard “That smells so good!” about the product you have used in their hair. A perfect time to tell your client the name of the product and to tell her you can have it put up at the front counter for her and she can purchase it as she pays for her service.

– For Salon owners hesitant to invest in retail – talk to your reps. Many times they can offer a small intro. package with a 30 days to pay policy. Many distributor’s offer a consignment program.

– Still hesitant to invest in retail? Remember your points programs! Many companies such as Joico, Matrix and Goldwell offer a points reward system and the great thing about that is you can redeem your points for retail product that you can in turn sell, either for full retail or a discounted price for your clients and customers.

– Keep your Salon clean. Keep your shelves tidy and dusted – no one wants to buy a product that has dust on it.

– Adhere to a dress code. Keep it professional. It is much easier to be taken seriously as a professional when you look like one. …I know your fuzzy boots are comfy-leave ’em at home. Ripped jeans are for the Bon Jovi concert, not the Salon.

– All staff and stylists must have their hair done. Come on people, you work in a Salon and their are brushes and flat irons at every turn. How do you expect to have a client trust you with their cut when your hair is a mess?

Being consistent in every aspect of your business will in turn make it successful. It will. I have the proof. I am the proof, as is our Salon/Retail team. Our head stylist books 2 months out. Our other stylists book 2-3 weeks out. My one stylist is returning from a maternity leave in 6 weeks and is already pre-booking appointments. Our retail revenue is very good. Awesome actually – as I am not the owner, it is not my place to tell you the exact dollar amount…but it is at least 70% higher than the industry average.

If you have a passion for hair and a drive for your business, keeping a plan in action and staying consistent with that plan, you will have a successful Salon every month. It’s easier than you may think.