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

A little retail therapy

When you hear the phrase “retail therapy” the most common picture that comes to mind is a woman or a group of women strolling down the street with many a bag in hand from their favorite shops and boutiques…or Wilma and Betty shouting “Charge it” as they run into the mall. Yes, retail therapy can brighten the darkest of days for us. It can also brighten the darkest of days in the Salon as well. Understanding the importance and the impact of retail sales in the Salon can seem overwhelming for many stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners…until now.

 

I have written many Salon Tales covering retail. Today, I am sharing some links for you to make it that much easier to see just how simple adding retail to your Salon’s revenue can be.

salon_mag_logo   A few articles by yours truly featured on http://www.salonmagazine.ca ;

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/news/1146-why-fear-holds-back-the-best-stylists.html

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/news/1282-3-salon-fails-sales-rep-sees-don-t-tell-you-about.html

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/business-retailing/2122-salon-holiday-retailing-tips.html

 

Piidea Buyers Guide ….and my most popular blog on retail to date, featured in the Piidea Buyer’s Guide;

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

Retailing product in your Salon is a win/win. Your clients will be able to protect their investment in themselves, will be able to achieve their new style in between Salon visits, your client retention and your Salon revenue will increase. Plain and Simple.

 

 

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

You can look…but you can’t touch

This past weekend, yours truly attended the ABA’s in Toronto. It is “the hair show” to go to. It is the place to be to find out about the latest techniques in color placement and cuts, this year courtesy of non other than Guy Tang. It is also the place to be to find and purchase products…or so I thought. For those of you familiar with my Salon Tales and my private Salon Consultations, you are well aware that I am a firm believer in the importance of retailing products in the Salon. This past weekend, I had an unusual experience, a recollection that I cannot seem to shake, and quite honestly baffles me. Today’s tale is for the distributor’s, managers and sales reps.

 

At the ABA’s, every distributor and company has their own booth or booths, displaying their product lines, demonstrations of products, color placement and cuts are around every corner, and every booth has a cash register for the sole purpose of purchasing said products. One of my fellow attendee’s, who shall remain nameless, loves the Peter Coppola Infusion Anti Frizz Cream – a lovely lightweight, moisturizing cream that locks out frizz and keeps your hair smooth, sleek and shiny until your next shampoo. (…it is also a beautiful shade of pink and smells heavenly). So, I took her over to the display, picked up a bottle of it, noticed there was not a price displayed, so I took it over to the cash register and asked “Excuse me. We would like to purchase this product. Do you happen to have the price?” to which a Sales Rep. came up to the counter and asked me what I was doing. I let this gent know we wanted to buy the product and were wondering the cost. “Oh, that product is not for sale. It is display only.”.  “So, I can’t buy a bottle?” I asked. “No, it’s display only.”, he took the bottle and walked away. Yes, you read that correctly, I was at a trade show, that promotes products for Salons to use and purchase and I was not able to purchase said product. …also, not once did said Rep. offer me any information on the product, he just walked away. Poor soul, if he had asked, or tried to speak to me he would have realized that I manage a shop with over 25 retail lines and the women I was with had a lot of purchasing power and many, many Salon connections, all over the province. I started looking around at the other booths and seeing the same thing – all product lines were displayed, but not all the products displayed were available for purchase. This got me thinking… a lot.

In our industry, many times than not, Salon owners, managers and stylists are blamed for the lack of retail sales. While this may be true in some circumstances, I have a question – how do distributor’s expect Salons and Stylists to grasp the importance of retailing products when the distributor’s themselves aren’t retailing/selling the products? Yes, we were at a trade show, and yes, it was just one product. Take a moment and look at the bigger picture. One person purchases a product, loves it, tells her Salon about it, they bring it in and next thing you know, every client has tried it, had it in their hair and the potential of 5 – 10+ bottles a week are being bought from the distributor and purchased by clients at the Salon. Plain & simple. It also had me wondering, how many other people had the same experience as yours truly, and how many potential sales, present and future were lost, to never be recovered? This is not how retailing is supposed to work. Retailing starts with a conversation, that turns into an explanation of the product, which turns into the value of the product being understood, which ends with a purchase.  How do I know? This is how I have personally introduced new lines and new products to the owner of the shop, the Salon’s clients and the Salon  & shop’s customers. Everyday.

I didn’t like “look but don’t touch” when I was 5, I really don’t enjoy it now.

 

That Girl in the Red Coat

That Girl in the Red Coat

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

Yes…there is time for that.

Yesterday I was part of a focus group. My first one ever. Joico invited me to be a part of the discussion that was closed to licensed stylists, so being invited was quite a big deal, if I do say so myself. It was quite an honor for yours truly. …and yes, I will tell my tale of my adventures in Toronto, another time. Today’s tale is for all my fellow Beauty Biz beauties, stylists, managers, receptionists and owners.

Being a focus group, everyone was giving their opinions and thoughts about the products being discussed. What I found interesting was when we were asked about the client/customer perspective, many of those around the table couldn’t answer, or added their own personal opinion of the products. All the products were seen as a tool for a stylist to use and apply or a back bar product, not a potential retail product and in turn, profit for the Salon. The major complaint was that there were too many products and that no one has time for that, so why suggest it to the clients. …umm…have you met a woman? Trust me, if it means her hair will look as great as it does at the Salon, a woman will set her alarm 2 hours earlier and will make the time. Everyday. Think about it…how many steps is the average woman’s daily facial care regime? At least 3. Time will be made and saved for that matter when the explanations are made and the proper products are in place.

I have spoken to many stylists and Salon owners and I hear the following phrases far too often;

  • our client’s can’t afford it – first of all, how can you know this? Unless you are privy to their finances, this is one of the worst assumptions to be made, and quite honestly, it’s insulting. Plain and simple.
  • our client’s won’t pay that – in my experience, clients and customers will pay for a product once it’s value is explained to them. Take a moment or two to explain the value of using professional Salon products. Explain the differences between Salon professional products and what can be found at the local drug store. Explain that they have just invested in themselves, and using the proper products will protect that investment, and in turn, they can achieve their new found style at home, everyday. …and before you tell me it sounds like I am feeding you a line, I am not. You & I both know that to keep the vibrancy of hair color, the proper products MUST be used.
  • our client’s don’t have the time to learn about products and how to use them – Yes they do. Your client has just given you at least one hour of his/her time, they are sitting in your chair. Your client wants to look good and wants to like their hair everyday. Your client wants you to teach them. Your client wants you to explain what products to use and how to use them. How do I know? Your client tells me when they have come to see me, asking me what products they should be buying, after leaving your Salon. Let’s be honest here…I fear stylist’s say their client’s don’t have the time because the stylist doesn’t want to take the time.
  • our client’s don’t care what they use on their hair – There are no words to explain the utter idiocy of this statement. Yeah, I said it. First of all, yes they do care. Second of all, if you think they do not care what they use on their hair, as their stylist, you should be explaining to them why it matters what products they use on their hair. Your clients are your advertising. To paraphrase the great Vidal…if they don’t look good, you don’t look good.
Explain what products you are using and how to use them, make this a part of EVERY consultation and/or discussion when your client is in your chair. You must STOP thinking for your clients. Stop assuming anything about them, be it their at home hair care routine or their finances. Making assumptions not only affects your bottom line, it is also a tad insulting to your client. If you have time to keep up with the Kardashian’s, you’ve got time for this. …and so do your clients.

That Girl in the Red Coat

 

 

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

Holidaze

I know the calendar reads September. For yours truly, it’s read December since about May. My final Christmas orders have been placed, shipping dates have been strategically chosen, requests have been approved to have invoicing split into separate months for larger orders. Plans are being made on how products will be displayed and what shelves will be moved where. The shop’s holiday draws are being planned and packaged. Advertising idea’s are in the works. Parties are being planned.

Today’s tale is for Salon owners, Managers and Stylists. The holiday season is upon us and we are entering crunch time for ensuring that the next few months are as profitable as possible. When planned and executed properly, the potential profits from retail during the October – December months can reach the thousands, even the tens of thousands. Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, it is possible. I know it is possible because I have done it. Think of what that could do for your staff, yourself and your business. I’ll give you a minute to visualize.

Before the panic sets in once you realize it’s October in a few days, take a breath, and another. You still have time to make this your Salon’s best holiday retail season ever. (until next year). For many Salon owners, Managers and Stylists that aren’t used to retailing products, it can seem overwhelming and you may feel like you are in a daze and have no idea how to begin your adventures in Holiday/Christmas retail. Being me, I have compiled a little list for you, a “how to holiday” for your Salon if you will. You’re welcome.

  • Call your Sales Rep’s. They all have copies of their distributor’s Christmas/Holiday flyers containing all the deals available
  • Request an email of all sales and deals available – in case a deal in no longer available or a change needs to be added, it can be done A.S.A.P. from wherever you may be, at any time. As the holiday season approaches, and product availability starts to dwindle – it is first come, first serve.
  • Speak to your Sales Rep. about splitting up larger orders into two shipments, one for October and one November. With two shipments comes two invoices = larger orders aren’t such a hit to your pocket book. *If retailing is done properly, once November’s order arrives, you have sold out of October’s shipment which will now pay for November’s.
  • All distributor’s offer net 30 days for payment. Many will change payment terms to net 60 days – another way to give yourself some breathing room and give you the ability to bring in more product.
  • Ask for samples of products that you can add to all your customer’s and client’s bags. A foil sample of a shampoo or a conditioner goes a long way.
  • Request retail bags with every order. Distributor’s will add them to your order at little or no cost to you. It’s a win/win – your clients and customers get a pretty bag for their purchase and the distributor and your Sales Rep. get free advertising for their products.
  • Offer free gift wrapping with every retail purchase. With the free bags you’ve received from the distributor’s and your Sales Rep., all it will cost is a few dollars of tissue paper and ribbon from the dollar store.
  • Check your reward points! Matrix, Joico and Goldwell/KMS, to name a few, have an excellent rewards program. You can redeem your reward points for free products that you can in turn use as daily/weekly holiday draws. Psstt…you can redeem points for FAB! full size products, curling irons, purses, jewelry and electronics.
  • Get your Salon on Facebook. Keep your page professional – only post new product arrivals, new sales or Salon specials. Post pictures of before and after pictures of your client’s new colour’s and cuts (with their permission). Start a Facebook contest – once a certain amount of likes have been reached, a gift card/gift certificate will be awarded to a lucky Facebook page “liker”. In my personal experience, our shop’s Facebook page has brought in new retail customers and new clients for the salon. Our Facebook page has also introduced me to new community organizations that we have donated to and local businesses that I now cross promote with. Pssst….a Facebook page = free advertising!
  • To keep your shelves looking full, separate some of your holiday packs to use as open stock. Sell them for $1.00 – $1.50 less than suggested retail – your clients/customers get a deal and you make a profit, again, its a win/win. *Many holiday packs come with a complimentary product – do not sell the complimentary product, put it aside to give as a free gift with large purchases, or to brighten someone’s day.
  • Many hand cream’s come with a complimentary tester. Keep the tester at the front counter, right by the register, or while your client’s color is processing -ask her if she likes the scent, then offer for her to try some. 8 out of 10 times, she will be purchasing some on her way out. Again, I know because I see it happen everyday. Yes. Everyday.
Retail is vital for the success of a  Salon. Not only does it add revenue to your Salon, it adds integrity to your Salon’s reputation and adds to every client and customer experience. It adds integrity to your Salon’s reputation because it shows you stand behind and are confident in the products your Salon uses. Selling the product you use on your client ensures that their new color will stay vibrant and that your client can achieve their style on their own. 9 out of 10 times, taking the time to teach your client about the products being used and how to apply them will guarantee the sale. Once you see the rewards to your Salon, your clientele and your customers of adding retail to your Salon during the Holiday/Christmas season, I can guarantee that retail will become a year ’round event.