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?”.

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

…don’t ask…don’t get

As of late, many of those that I hold dear are feeling inadequate, feeling like they are missing out on something, wondering “is this all there is?”. Between loss of their job, their business closing, their marriage ripping at the seams, their kids struggling to find answers to questions they don’t even know how to ask, you name it, the struggle is real.

For those of you who follow my tales, you are all familiar with my past and present struggles. For those of you checking yours truly out for the first time, let me shine some light for y’all. I have been the girl who felt like she didn’t fit in. I have been the new wife wondering what my role was to be. I have been (and still am) the Mom wondering if I am screwing up my kid. I have been the woman who couldn’t look at her own reflection. I have been the woman who hated her hair and her body. I have been the woman who lost her job because of a store closure. I have been the wife of a husband with health issues. I have been the daughter of parents with health issues. I have been the sister of a wonderful gal who’s life was turned upside down. I have been the woman who found herself thinking on more than one occasion “now what the hell am I gonna do?”. I am here to tell you that no matter how dark the day may seem or how overwhelming life can get, sooner or later, the light begins to shine and you will once again feel in control. You will. Seriously, you will. You want to know how? Ask. Plain and simple. Ask for help. Ask for advice. Ask your business contacts if they know of any opportunities. Ask for a glass of Chardonnay if you need, just ask.

I know. I know. You’ve heard this before. Tony Robbins makes you walk on hot coals. The Secret tells you to put it “out there.”. Vision boards are all the craze. Everywhere you turn someone is telling you or pushing a Pinterest post in your face or sending a kitten meme telling you “when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”. I for one believe that the mind and your perspective have a HUGE impact on your life’s outcome – here’s the little nugget that seems to get lost in translation – you gotta ask and you gotta do the work. You gotta. Walking on hot coals may remove something from your bucket list, if you don’t follow through with the tools bestowed on you, you will just have sore feet. Putting your desires “out there” is a fantastic idea, if you don’t put your plan into action, the universe will deliver to the wrong address. Creating a vision board is fantastic, I have one of my own. If you just look at it all day without speaking to anyone or leaving the couch, it’s just going to be something you made and look at.

We cannot control everything. We may not be able to reverse a health issue for a loved one or stop a toddler from throwing a fit in the parking lot. One thing I know for certain is, although we cannot control our job status/career, we can damn well have a say in it. The point of today’s tale is to give you the proof you need that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. In the big scheme of things, my accomplishments may seem tiny, to me, they are huge. I have been blogging over 6 year now. The last year I did not write as much as I wanted to. I thought my blog should change – I was listening to fear…big mistake…huge. (Pretty Woman reference…love the movie). After the shop closed, instead of asking myself what I should do, I let people tell me what I should do. Not their fault, that’s on me. Long story short, shit happened and the universe, the powers that be, the smurfs…whatever you want to call it gave me a wake up call. Gave me the opportunity to realize that my blog is fine just how it is. That it grew and opportunities flooded in when I was doing what was true to me. It gave me the back up to ask. To take take chances. I asked and took a chance and ended up on http://www.salonmagazine.ca 7 times. I had my tales followed and retweeted by Hollywood and Grammy Award winning stars. I had companies agree to have me write for them, review their products. I made new business contacts that have now become friends. I have been referred by said contacts to give Salons retail consultations to help them build their business.

Over the past few weeks, yours truly has been an asking fool. I didn’t get all I asked for, but I did get a few things. I have an opportunity coming my way – not telling yet! You are going to have to stay tuned, all because I asked a question. I didn’t just put it out there, I put myself out there. I did the work, I followed up, and low and behold, it worked out in my favor.

Here’s the deal. Ask. The answers are there. The answer may not be the one you wanted, in my experience, it’s the one you needed. Don’t ask…Don’t get. Plain and Simple.

 

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

…you’ll figure it out

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September. Although the calendar marks January as the beginning of a new year, many feel September is the beginning of all things new. The kids are back in school, commencements are commencing, the care free schedule of summer has come to an end and the more regimented schedules of work, home and life have returned. This September truly feels like a beginning for yours truly. For those of you familiar with my blog (thank you again for all your lovely support), you are well aware of the closure of the shop. Many were and are still worried about what will happen, about what I will do now. When asked “What will you do now?”, thanks to the above quote by the FAB! Tina Fey, my answer is now “I will say yes and will figure it out afterwards.”. …and I have begun to do just that, and I gotta tell you…it’s been pretty fabulous.

Many changes have occurred, my tag line being one of them. Since I am no longer at the Salon, I have decided to change my tag line from “Mane Tales from the Salon” to “Bringing Enlightenment to the world of Beauty”, for my primary focus has always been about beauty. I write about hair products, hair product reviews, retailing tips, tips on how to be kind, tips on how not to be an ass, or about life in general, all in the hopes of helping someone. Be it with their hair, their business or their self image and self worth. Sharing my experiences may help someone feels better about themselves, begin to like their reflection, feel capable of achieving the hair style they have always wanted, be able to improve their retail revenue and in turn their business, or simply remind someone that they are not alone. If that is not a thing of beauty, I do not know what is.

Over the past weeks, I  have taken a break. A much needed rest for my mind. It was as if the universe, the powers that be, the smurfs – take your pick knew I needed a reset and gave me one. The closure of the shop was a gift, it really was. I had no excuse not to slow down for a moment or two and figure out what needed figuring. The guilt about leaving someone else at the helm, feeling selfish taking time off, that aching feeling that I was forgetting something, all those thoughts and feelings were no where to be found. For months I knew it was time to move forward, but I didn’t want to let anyone down, or leave anyone in the lurch. Thanks to the closure of the shop, I no longer had those feelings, those worries or those concerns. Well, quite honestly, those fears. … which got me thinking. How many of us, in our work life or home life, put these unneeded fears in our way? Worrying about what people will think? What will people say? What will happen? What will I do?

Don’t get me wrong. I still battle those shouts of fear, for I am embarking on the known yet unknown. I know my capabilities. I know I am good at what I do. I know I have much to offer. I know what the next step is to take and I know where that step is. What I don’t know is what comes next – that in itself is the fear talking. So when I hear the fear shouting “Uh Oh! Oh, I don’t know”, I listen for the faint whisper of “Say yes and figure it our afterwards”. It’s always there. Always.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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

Part of the package

As many of you now know, yours truly has spread her wings a little wider and has become an Independent Retail Consultant. Over the years in our beloved biz, I came to realize many Salons were missing out on the perks of retailing their products in their Salons. Not only does retail increase Salon revenue, it enhances your client’s experience and gives them the tools to have a good hair day everyday between their appointments. Retailing in the Salon helps your clients protect their investment, in themselves.

Over the years, and during some of my consultations, I have come across the same concern from every stylist I speak with. “I don’t want to seem pushy.”. With over 25 years of sales and customer service under my belt, let me tell you this…if you are coming from a place of honesty and integrity, you are not being pushy. If your client has just had her hair colored red and you tell her that you highly suggest a color shampoo and conditioner to purchase to use at home to protect her new loved color =not pushy. You are trying to keep her red as vibrant as it can be for as long as possible. Selling said client a clarifying shampoo that she does not need = pushy. A clarifying shampoo would ruin her red. Giving your clients the tools they need to protect their investment in themselves is all you are doing, plain and simple.

 

Another common question/statement is “I don’t see the value of it.”. I have one question in response to this one, would you skip adding developer to your color? Of course not, because without developer the color wouldn’t process properly and in turn, you would have an unhappy client sitting in your chair. The same goes for retailing product. Think about it. Your client is sitting in your chair touching their hair telling you “I love it!”. They leave your shop with a spring in their step, feeling as though they can take on the world. They wake the next day, begin to style their hair only to have it not work out or look as good as it did the day before, and begin to feel as though the world is caving in on them. They may not be in your chair, trust me, in this moment, you have an unhappy client. Everyone wants to have a good hair day, the ladies and the gents. Everyone. Selling your clients product to take home and taking a moment to teach them how to use them ensures your clients will not only be happy in your chair, they will be happy until they are back in your chair with their next appointment.

All Salons have packages, be it a wash, cut and style or cut included with each color service, we all have packages. So, why not add some retail to the package? You are using the products. Your clients smell the products. Your clients see the products on your station. Your clients asks “OOO! That smells great?! What is that?”. All the work has been done for you. All you have to do is answer their questions, have a conversation. That’s it. Plain and simple. In my experience, once the value of the product is explained, the cost is never an issue. The client wants that product. Take flat iron sprays – once I explain the value of a flat iron spray – it protects the hair from the contact heat of a flat iron, that it helps to protect the vibrancy of hair color and that it helps to combat frizz and fly aways, when they leave the Salon, they have a flat iron spray in their hand.

Retail is already part of the package. Your clients love their hair and want to continue the love affair. They need you to help them keep their relationship with their hair “all moonlight and roses”. Adding retail to the package will do just that.