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.

 

Beauty, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat

Fall for Joico

On September 10th, yours truly had the pleasure of attending Joico Canada’s Fall Trend Show. As always, I was not disappointed. If you are not familiar with Joico, it is time to get on a first name basis with this brand. The brand, in my not so humble opinion is top notch. From their color line to their retail line to their education, Joico has all the bases covered.

This year’s Fall Trend Show exposed us to new coloring techniques, updated cutting techniques and my all time favorite, a focus on increasing retail sales and client retention, all in a relaxed yet exciting manner. Joico Canada’s Senior Education Sales Advisor Megan Nevins, a stylist herself was able to convey the importance of social media presence while giving step by step instruction on how to best utilize social media in the Salon. A segment was focused on the importance of retail in the Salon, and Megan reiterated my philosophy that if you are a stylist, you are a salesperson.

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

Cutting techniques explained in layman’s terms as to not overwhelm new stylists. Color techniques shown, step by step, explaining how not to run into a problem and if a problem was to arise, how to correct it.

The platform artists April McDougald, Marc Galati and Chad Demchuk made the audience feel like we were having a one on one private lesson, they left us feeling like we could achieve all they had achieved and continue to achieve in their careers. Find them on Instagram to see their fabulous creations. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Marc Galati -@marcgalatihair

April McDougald – @heartsoulhair_aprilmcdougald

Chad Demchuk – @chaddofficial

…the end result = FAB! color and cuts.

For Salon Owners and stylists who are craving something new, Salon support via education and/or retail support, it’s time to fall for Joico.

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, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Tales of Truth – the final edition

Well, here it is. The final edition of That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth. I thought I had heard, seen and smelled (yes … smelled) it all. Over the past weeks, I have been proved wrong. With the full moon, a heat wave and news of the shop’s closure, it has been an interesting 2 weeks around the shop and I must say, I know for sure there is a higher power, because yours truly has been able to hold her tongue and keep it professional. So, gather ’round ladies and gents, boys and girls, for it is time for Tales of Truth.

  •  A woman came in looking for hard wax to do her own Brazilian wax at home…I guess she is really getting into representing the host of the summer Olympics. Anyway, as I showed her our selection, she asked me if instead of using a spatula to apply the wax, could she just use her fingers, like the last time. I asked her “The last time? I thought you said this was your first time?”. “Oh, it is. The place I go to, the girl says using her fingers was easier.”. I took a breath, swallowed the little bit of puke that came up and asked her if “her girl” wore gloves. “No. She just applied the wax, ripped, then put her finger back in the wax and did it again”. …..*THAT GIRL IN THE RED COAT tip – if your “wax girl” is using her fingers and double dipping with you, she is with everyone else. If you do not see gloves and a spatula….RUN!!!

 

  • Since the shop is closing, we have our products on sale. The signs say Everything on Sale. A woman came in and asked “Is everything on sale?”. “Yes, everything.”. She tilted her head to the side and said “So everything right? I’m not gonna get up to the counter and then you’ll pull the rug out from under me and charged me full pop on some things?”. I told her “That’s correct. Everything. No rug being pulled out.”. “Well, I’m gonna add up my total on my phone and it better match yours!”. …they matched.

 

  • A woman asked if she could return a product she bought a month ago and then buy it back with the new discount.

 

  • I was asked “Since you are closing, does this mean you won’t be open anymore?” …I am still trying to figure that one out.

 

  • A woman started to spray every hairspray she picked up. I let her know they weren’t testers. “What’s it matter? You’re closing anyways!”.

 

  • A woman came in for her hairspray. I let her know that unfortunately we had sold out of it and the owner was not ordering any more product. I shit you not, she leaned on the counter, turned her head to the side, spoke out of the side of her mouth and said “Listen, you order me 12. Sneak an order in. No one has to know. I’m good for it.”. …okay there Fredo.

 

  • We open at 9:30 a.m.. At 9:45 a.m. I hear the chirp of the Salon door and with it a shriek of “NO!!!!!!!” – so loud one of my stylist’s shut off her dryer and walked away from her client to see what the shouting was about. “You can’t close! You can’t! Where will I go now? You have ruined my whole day!!!!”. …and good morning to you as well.

 

  • “You’re not closing.” a woman said as she came in the shop. I told her the owner had decided to close. “No she didn’t. You’re not closing!”. It took 5 minutes to convince a woman that the shop was in fact closing.

 

  • A woman came up to the counter with her product and told me “I have a bone to pick with you! I was in last month and you said nothing about closing. You let me buy product at full price! I am not impressed!”. I let her know I understood her disappointment since I didn’t know a month ago either. …she stopped talking after that.

 

  • “Well, aren’t you just the most annoying thing today!” – what a woman said to me when she saw the shop is closing.

 

  • A woman came in, stared at me, stomped her feet, pouted then sat in the chair by the front door for 5 minutes staring at me without saying a word. (I know it was 5 minutes, because I timed it). When she finally stood she looked at me and said I was being unfair for closing the shop. I let her know the owner had decided to close and before I could explain why she told me “If you cared, you would have made her stay open. This is horrible. Now I have to drive further for my products!” …took every ounce of restraint to not say “time to get off your cross, someone needs the wood”

 

  • “Well, aren’t you shit out of luck. All you can do is this and now the shop is closing.” …just another gem bestowed on yours truly. …you would be happy to know I didn’t hold my tongue on this one and assured the woman that I was not just a girl standing in a shop.

 

  • As I rang through a women’s purchase, I told her the total and as she gave me the cash, she smirked and said “Shop’s closing huh. No job for you!”. …I know of the soup Nazi, guess she is the job Nazi.

 

  • “Where am I going to get my shampoo now?!” – something I hear at least 20 times a day. When I let them know they can check the local Salon’s “Can’t you call around to all the Salon’s for me?”….sometimes, there are no words.

Last but not least, the woman who flashed me her red bump riddled bikini line came in and said “Sorry to see you’re closing! Who’s gonna help me now? Who am I gonna show my issues to?!?”. …I…shit…you…not.

 

Tales of Truth

 

 

 

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

What are you going to do?

The shop is closing. The signs are on the windows. The stock is marked down to clear. Customers and clients are walking in with surprise, wondering what is happening. Shelves are clearing and being removed from the sales floor, so I can see why people may feel worry or concern. “Where will I get my products?”, “What the hell?!”, “Why is this happening?!” are many of the questions asked, usually with a pout, sometimes with a shout. Yes, a shout – those are always a good time. After I explain that the owner has decided to close I get the all too popular question “What are you going to do?”… a question posed to yours truly at least 30 times a day for the past 14 days. Before I get a chance to answer, more often than not, I hear “Guess you’re out of job huh?”, “All you can do is this, so now what are you going to do?” or my all time favorite “Wow. Sure wouldn’t want to be you right now.”.

I get it. For most, their workplace closing it’s doors would be devastating. It’s a scary thing, the unknown. Household budgets are affected, vacations put on hold, major purchases moved to the back burner once more. Good thing for me that I choose to see it as an invitation to a party that I have always wanted to attend. Funny thing – when I explain this to the women I speak with, many of them say “Oh, I see. You don’t have to work.”. Hmmm. Interesting. To be clear, I do need to work, to contribute to my home and my family. Most importantly, to contribute to myself. Since the news of the shop’s closure, I have found the last piece of my confidence that was hiding on me – a sneaky little sucker that kept eluding me. I am once again thinking outside the box, a place I am most comfortable. I have faced fears and have done things I thought I never could do. Like what you ask? Driving to Toronto. Yes. I was afraid of driving into Toronto. I admit it. I feel no shame. Guess what? I slayed that dragon last week. As my hubby told me “You didn’t just drive to Toronto, you drove into the heart of the dragon!”. Thanks to my trusty Nav. system, the support of my loved ones and choosing to listen to the “you can!” instead of the “you can’t!” record playing in my mind, I did it. …and am going to do it again, and again and again.

For those of you reading my tale today that may be in the same boat as yours truly, or facing a major life change and are standing at the crossroads, I am here to tell you that no matter what, everything will be fine. Sooner or later, it all works out. Do what it is you have always wanted to do. Do the work. Be consistent. Be present. Do what you have to do until you get to do what you want to do. I am also here to tell you to stop listening to the negative nellies out there. Refuse to let their nasty remarks enter into your mind, let them roll off your back. Let their fears be their own, do not let their fears become yours. What people say to you says more about them than it does about you. Plain and simple.

For those familiar with my tales, you know that I know that I am not “just” a girl standing in a shop. I am not “just” the manager. I am not “just” anything. Neither are you. Remember that. …and this gem from Mr. Anthony Robbins,

 

 

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.