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

Suitable replacement?

Sigh.

 

It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.

10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.

I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.

A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.

 

 

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

…the last to know

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.

 

ThatGirlx3

 

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

…I was just being nice

It’s been a while since a new tale, I know. Thank you for your patience and continued support. It’s safe to say that after the past couple of months, yours truly has many a tale to tell and that I am graciously happy to see the arrival of September. Change is a good thing, and do I ever need a change of scenery, as do many of those I hold dear. In the next weeks I will have tales of woe, tales of truth (everyone’s favorite), tales of business and of pleasure. Today’s tale is of a different sort. I am not sure what category it falls under…is “reality T.V. is not real life” a category? I think it is, and so today’s tale falls under said category.

I am not sure when it happened. Maybe I missed the email. Did I miss a mass Facebook invite? Was it trending on twitter and I was a twit who missed it? I have been racking my brain trying to figure out where and when it all began….when did being polite and courteous of others become misconstrued as flirtation and foreplay? I hold the door open behind me at the bank for a couple, the gent smiles and thanks me, the lady (being polite…minding my manners) scowls at me and grabs a holder tight on her gent’s arm. Honey, the only withdrawal I am after  is my $100.00 from the ATM. I have a customer that I have had to stress at great lengths that I am quite content in my marriage, all because I told him that I thought his grey hair was dashing and really suited him and he shouldn’t color it.

Maybe it has something to do with social media. Lets be honest here folks…it’s kind of  narcissistic. It is. Most of the time we are posting “about me”. Sure, we mention our loved ones, our destinations, etc… . In the end, it comes down to “look at me”. Yes, I know, I am writing a blog about my thoughts and idea’s…believe me, the irony is not lost. In the age of Reality T.V. , selfies and pelfies – a little term I made up for my single friends who are sent pictures of penises from men they have not yet met, only typed hello to on a dating site. Since we are on the topic, if you are a gent who likes to post his significant other or “you know a guy” who does, first – don’t do that. Second – seriously, don’t do it. Third – if you must, try being a little more artistic ok? Having your Mom’s crocheted plant holder with a dead plant in it while you have a  superman towel over your shoulders needs to be rethought…as does the idea of posting that pic…just sayin’. Back to the tale at hand.

Being me, I had to make a list. Those of you familiar with my tales know it’s kind of my thing.

– When you look upset and a co worker asks if you are alright, it does not mean that they want to sleep with you. …maybe, just maybe, they are empathetic.

– When someone compliments your new pants, it does not mean that they want to get in them. ….wait for it…there you go.

– When a man other than your husband notices your new hair’do, that doesn’t mean that your husband is having an affair, or that you should begin one with the complimentary gent.

– Just because someone tells you something about themselves, like “I prefer Coca Cola over Pepsi”, this does not mean that they see you as a better confidant than their spouse.

– When a woman over forty shows her cleavage, it does not automatically mean she is a cougar. Trust me, being a woman with a killer rack – yeah I said it, and you surpass the DD’s…your gonna have cleavage, even in a turtle neck.

– When you think someone of the same sex is good looking, you don’t need to start rethinking your sexuality and start posting status updates about it. Some people are just meant to be looked at, plain and simple and like a work of art, they are admired. …Have you seen P!nk lately? Don’t get me started on Jon Bon Jovi…

– Porn is not real life. If you are looking for a police officer to “frisk you” – the  only way that’s going to happen is if you get arrested. Stop basing your bedroom ideals on literature and film. It’s not fair to you or your partner.

– Ladies, when a married male coworker gives you a birthday gift, 9 out of 10 times – his wife bought it and told him to give it to you. …so you may want to re-think the flirty thank you texts.

Here’s the deal. When someone is being kind to you, it doesn’t mean they want to run off with you. I am 43 and I know that there are player’s out there and that yes, getting it on is the motive of some people, but not all. Once and for all, when I show concern, consideration or kindness, I really am just being nice.

 

 

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

Stood up

You know, when I was 16 and my date never showed, it hurt. My saving grace of being a teen of the 80’s is that I could make up a reason for the no show. You see, this is before the age of Facebook and Twitter. Before the age of cell phones and texting. Sure, some had car phones but at $10.00 a second, not much talk time was to be had. So, in my teenage mind I could tell myself “Oh, he probably tried to call when my Mom was on the phone but kept getting a busy signal”, or “He is probably stuck somewhere and the pay phone is out of order”.

The reason for the above little ditty? Well, last week, your truly was stood up. Twice. Yep. Twice. Who stood me up you ask? My sales reps. – and they were the ones who made the appointment with me! I was not and am not impressed, for a multitude of reasons. Now my much needed stock will take longer to arrive – empty shelves are the enemy of any business. I had products that I did not order but was charged for waiting for pick up so the owner’s account could be credited, so now the credit will take that much longer. I had to call my customer’s that I had placed a special order for and had to tell them it is going to be a longer wait – that makes for a fun Monday morning. Most of all, what really burned my butt – my time is not seen nor treated as important nor is the business I am trying to run and build. It is my word and my reputation on the line, and I, like the majority of Salon owners, do not like being left looking the fool.

In the age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, cell phones and texting, there is no excuse for a no show. There is no excuse for being stood up. This isn’t 1986 and you got a better offer for a date to the dance so you didn’t show up or call, this is business and should be treated as such. I understand events can happen that are out of your control. A quick text “gotta reschedule” would suffice. Call your customer service desk and let them know what is going on so when I have to call them at the end of the day to place my order, they can let me know what is going on.

If you want my business, let me give you a little helpful hint…it helps if you show up.