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.

Business

You get what you give

We all want good customer service. We all like when we get attention. We all want to be reassured that our purchase was a good one and we want to know and understand our newest purchase. I get it. I am a consumer, I have had good and bad customer service. Remember – I am a woman so I am sure you can imagine some of the customer service I have received at a car lot or an appliance store. No one likes to be treated like they are stupid. That being said, sales people do not like being treated like we are stupid. Nor do hair stylists, esthetician’s, sales reps, anyone. No one likes to be treated poorly. Plain and simple.

I know, right now you are thinking “The customer is always right!”. You know what, that is correct – the customer is always right – in their own mind. More times than not, people are given the wrong information, or read the instructions incorrectly because Hooked on Phonics didn’t work for them. (Yeah…I said it). Armed with said information they come strutting into the Salon, telling me what they need. Before I continue with this tale – let me give you a tidbit of information. There are two kinds of salespeople – sales professional and order taker. The sales professional will ask about your needs, your wants, question you ( Politely) about the information you have and help you make the right informed decision. The order taker stands there and does what ever you say, not caring what it is you need or if you understand what it is you are buying. Now, back to the tale….

The customer comes in, guns blazing, telling me what they need. “Get me the Moroccanoil Oil treatment!”. No “Hello”, no “Can you help me”, nothing but their misinformed, the customer is always right information. I am  a sales professional, I take pride in my work and my abilities and my vast product knowledge (again…yeah, I said it). So, as always, when a customer comes to me telling me they need a certain product, I ask them why they are looking for it. I ask to ensure they are getting what they need, not to insult their intelligence or lack there of. My favorite response to my inquiring question is “Uh, well, I READ it was good for my hair, and since you don’t have my hair I doubt you know how to help me..”. Okay, stop right there. First, that just doesn’t make any sense. Second, don’t do that. No matter what kind of day you are having, there is no excuse to be rude.Yes, there are many order takers out there, please do not paint us all with the same brush. Give me a minute and I promise you, you will be dazzled and leaving with the proper product. Which is exactly what happened. After I got her to stop ranting with my go to phrase “I only want to get you the proper product, so you will be happy with your hair” said customer finally told me why she wanted this product. She wanted to control her frizz. Guess what? Moroccanoil Oil treatment is not humidity resistant – hence frizz. Their Frizz control spray and their Hairspray are humidity resistant – hence no frizz.

Customer service goes both ways. Customer’s want to be treated with respect and kindness. Guess what, so do sales people. (I can’t speak for order takers). From time to time you may run into rudeness, or maybe you and the salesperson just don’t jive. Ask (POLITELY) for another sales person. Not happy with your stylist’s work or attitude, try to work it out. If you cannot, get a new stylist. Professional’s in any profession want to know where they can improve, the one’s that don’t want to know, you don’t want to know.

Be kind today. Take a breath before you speak to salesperson. I can only speak for myself – when a customer is being rude, yelling, throwing a flat iron… never mistake my civility for softness.