8 “Tried and True” Retailing Tips for Salons
1. Your Attitude Will Determine Your Altitude.
Many Hair Stylists and Salon Owners ask “how can I increase salon retail sales?” Meanwhile, you cringe at the word “selling,” and repeatedly tell yourself, “I’m not a salesperson.”
This is mistake #1.
First, the phrase “to sell,” is clearly in need of a definition makeover, so here it goes:
Selling is the identification and fulfillment of a need – nothing less, nothing more.
Many of you have the same clients for years, even decades. You do their hair (maybe even their kids’ hair). You know secrets about them you’ll take to the grave, and you’re the only person they trust to come near them with a pair of scissors.
What does this tell you?
You’re trusted, and for good reasons!
Remind yourself, you’re not a scammy used car salesman, who will do ‘whatever it takes’ to get someone into a Ford Pinto, today – you are a consummate beauty professional. You know the wants and needs of your clients’ hair better than anyone.
Have confidence in yourself and your position of power, and use it to send your clients home with products you know they’ll need and love. You’re more than qualified to make these recommendations, so don’t feel guilty or scared to do so!
Which brings us to our next tip for a successful salon retail strategy.
2. Product Selection
Choose products you believe in!
Once you choose to only sell products you personally believe in, the idea of retailing in your salon becomes a lot easier. You will no longer feel like you’re selling anything – you’re just simply recommending products you know will fulfill your clients’ hair needs.
Before taking on an entire line in your salon, have every stylist try the products and give an in-depth review. That way, you’ll know if it’s a line that you want to fully commit to and you’ll have different talking points. Hair Stylists with very good client relationships are even encouraged to give their clients a sample to test.
Mauricio of Mauricio’s Hair Studio in New York says, “I give my most loyal clients the opportunity to test and try any new products I am considering. That way, I hear it straight from the source of my sales – they also appreciate the fact that they have a say in which products I carry.”
Say no to salon product diversion!
All of your friendly retail suggestions will come to a screeching halt as soon as your client says, “I can buy it cheaper at Ulta or online.”
Too many companies exploit the expert knowledge and influence of Hair Stylists to gain brand affinity with their clients, then once it becomes profitable enough, they divert their products to large retail stores.
Can you think of a brand that was once salon exclusive, but are now sold directly to consumers?
So, when selecting the right products for your salon we suggest asking yourself these 3 questions:
- Do I believe in these products?
- Are these products unique enough to set my salon apart?
- Are these products diverted?
3. Educate Yourself on Your Products
While it’s great to have an aesthetically pleasing retail shelf, you shouldn’t rely on just the look of your products to make a sale.
There’s a lot of great information to share about the products you carry that goes beyond, “it smells good.”
Hair products at Wal-Mart smell good. Tell them why they’re really investing the money in high-quality salon products.
For example, explain to them the importance of pH, and how your products work at the optimal level to prolong color and improve the health of their hair. If you’re one of our Holistic Hair Stylists, there are a multitude of talking points that help your products stand out – not just from a beauty perspective, but also from a health and eco-conscious standpoint.
Once you’re able to make well-educated recommendations, you’ll start building a trusting retail relationship with your clients. Which brings to our next retail tip for salons.
4. Consultation is Key: Press for the Yes
A solid, honest consultation is vital for not just retailing products, but for fully understanding your client’s wants, needs, and lifestyle. As a stylist, it is our job to lead the conversation and make sure the client will be happy with their service.
Be sure to listen closely and help your client decide why they want a certain look. Do they keep bringing in a picture of a certain celebrity because they like the hair or because they like the idea of being that celebrity? Do they bring in a picture of them at a wedding because they actually liked their hair, or the nostalgia of happy times?
There’s a reason why Hair Stylists often get the reputation of being therapists or psychologists. Our job is to listen and translate our clients’ thoughts and ideas into a look that radiates beauty from the inside out.
Here are a few basic guidelines for conducting a good consultation:
- How often do you plan on returning to the salon?
- What is your styling routine like?
- What do you like and dislike about your hair?
- What challenges do you have when styling it?
- Are you looking to try out a new look or style? Or do you want to enhance what you already have?
Do the Wet Stretch Test!
The Wet Stretch Test will determine the integrity of your client’s hair, and more importantly, tell you what is missing from the healthy hair equation. Not to mention, it keeps your client engaged with you during the service, as you are educating them on what their hair truly needs and why.
However, understand the consultation does not stop just before your service.
After you’ve completed your cut and/or color, you should have accurate insight into what kind of hair your client has and where their issues lie.
This is where we tell you to softly press for the yes.
Getting a person to say, “yes” a few times before a purchase, is a proven technique to increase the likelihood of a sale.
Here’s an example of some dialogue between a Hair Stylist and her client in salon retail sale situation:
Hair Stylist: You said you use a flat iron and blow dryer almost every day, right?
Client: Yes, I need to or my hair is a mess.
Hair Stylist: I understand, but you are also trying to grow your hair out and hate all of the split ends from your flat iron?
Client: Yes, it’s so annoying.
Hair Stylist: You should try this heat protectant and gloss serum. It will protect your hair from intense heat, and the gloss serum will help smooth down any split ends or frizz. It also contains no plastics, so you won’t have to worry about artificial waxes and petrochemicals that only make the hair appear healthy.
This is just one example. The more you know about your products, the easier it will be to make recommendations that will help build trust between you and your salon clientele!
This brings us to our next tip for selling salon retail.
5. Build Trust
Many of you already know that special connection between a Hair Stylist and his/her client is more of a friendship than anything else. Moreover, most true friendships do not occur over night, and must be steadily earned in time.
It is very important in the beginning stages of your friendship with your clients to focus on earning their trust.
Instead of pushing multiple products on a new client, start with just the basics to enhance and maintain their service. If it’s color, shampoo and conditioner; if it’s a hair cut, just a styling product. If they still show uncertainty, perhaps extend to them a discount they are able to use during their next visit (that is only redeemable with you).
You gain trust through listening to your clients’ problems, you keep trust by solving them!
Once you solve one hair problem, that opens the doors of opportunity to solve more. So, build that trust and be a good friend to your client!
6. Back Bowl/Styling Opportunity
Once you’ve done the Wet Stretch Test, your client should be aware of what their hair is lacking. So, while giving them a nice head massage, explain that this shampoo and conditioner/treatment will add moisture/protein and will heal the hair from the inside out.
Washing your client’s hair should be a relaxing experience, and is an opportune time to stimulate the senses.
Paint a picture for your clients – you are the artist, after all.
For example, if you’re using a lightly floral scented shampoo, try to relax the client further and say, “I love this shampoo – not only does it make the hair shiny, it makes you feel like your lying in a bed of roses.”
The same opportunity that exists at the bowl also exists when you style their hair. So, show off your styling products!
Instead of just jumping in and styling your client’s hair, let them know what you’re using and why. Teach them how to properly use the product and style their hair – they’ll appreciate the tip and be more apt to purchase the product you used!
Another great place to expose your clients to your amazing products is at your retail display.
7. Retail Display Optimization and Visual Merchandising
Whether your retail display is large or small, shopping and browsing for products should be an experience!
Try following these guidelines for a successful salon retail display:
- We always suggest having a few shelf talkers – little labels that highlight the ingredients and benefits of your products. If you’re having a sale on certain items, have a tasteful sale label on your shelf, as well.
- Keep your retail shelf organized and clean! No one wants to buy a product that is dusty – not only is it visually unappealing, it also looks like no one else liked the product enough to buy it. Try not to have a cluttered retail display, and try organizing the products by color, shape, or brand.
- If you want to encourage clients to test products, make sure that they are between 22 and 66 inches; these are proven heights for easy accessibility. Also, try an inviting “try me!” label.
- If space and design allows, try creating an “arena effect.” Having the products surround your clients can give them the opportunity to browse (if they are waiting) from any angle.
- If your salon allows, try moving your reception desk away from the front door. This forces walk-ins and clients to look at the products before talking to the receptionist.
- Make your retail area inviting. Having a simple tea and coffee area by your retail area is a perfect opportunity to incentivize clients to rise out of their chairs and to your retail shelves! Notice we said shelves, not cupboards or bookcases – people tend to not like to reach into to these types of displays.
If you only have one wall for retail (not a big deal), try making it stand out with a nice wall color or art that compliments the bottles. Also, be sure your products are well lit – if they can’t see or read your products and shelf talkers, then what’s the point?
8. Retail Training – Practice Makes Sales
If you’re still uncomfortable retailing, we suggest starting off by trying to sell a product to your friend or another stylist in the salon. Have them give you objections to the products, so when a client actually does this, you’re prepared with an insightful and professional response.
Try product flashcards! Other than using the product, the best way to educate yourself is to put your knowledge to the test. Try remembering unique facts about each item you sell. The more you know about your products, the better able you are to make recommendations based on client concerns and needs.