Did you know that every time you sell a client a retail product, client retention goes up 30% according to salon software company, Phorest. However it’s an area of business that’s continually ignored whether that’s due to a lack of confidence, knowledge or fear of being seen as pushy.
“Salons and therapists in general have a negativity towards selling and are petrified of it,’ says Alison Young, award-winning beauty expert and QVC pro. “They think they’re forcing someone to spend money when really they need to switch their attitude as they’re a qualified expert. You’re the one spending time with client, giving advice – you’re in a position of trust.’
Dubbed the ‘best salesperson in the industry’ by Per Neumann, ex CEO of Estee Lauder Group, Young has spent 30 years selling products and been directly responsible for making more than £500m in sales at QVC. “Instead of thinking I’ve got to sell these products, go back to what you’re trained in, what you feel comfortable with and talk to your client,’ advises Alison, “And if you identify a need then answer that need. It’s not selling; it’s helping and advising and it’s your qualified duty to advise them, if you don’t, it’s like going to the doctors when you’re ill and not coming out with antibiotics.’
Building a good relationship with her customers is why Alison believes she’s been such a success.
“It’s not because I want to be the highest sales person in the whole country, it’s just because I am one to one with the customer. I do my job for the customer, not for the company, I’m true to them and that’s still what I do today, whether I’m selling to one customer or a thousand.”
PICK ‘N’ MIX
As well as thinking about what you say, pick a carefully curated selection of products. Which brands will your clients like? Which brands complement each other and will create an attractive display area? Think of a niche to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. “Some salons don’t want big brands because they’re everywhere, they want something exclusive but then you have to be an educator and an even better salesperson because nobody has ever heard of them. Don’t be scared of a brand that does supply other salons in the area or are for sale in the local department store.” Why? Because they’re clearly in demand. Plus a successful salon brand will be immediately recognised by your clients while a more exclusive product, especially with a high price point, will need more justification as to why they should put their hand in their pocket.
A big bonus, now that suppliers can no longer legally demand salons charge the RRP for products, is that you can be creative with your selling - discounts, flash sales, buy one get one half price offers, vouchers and loyalty cards. Incentives equal repeat purchases.
“There’s no excuse for dust gathering on the shelves anymore,’ said Alison. “You can make products move by discounting them. Remember even if you discount them, you’re still making a profit.”
She also suggests salons expand their retail beyond the salon walls. Think about your social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all shoppable and a simple post can quickly become a sale while a functioning retail website is your shop window to your world. “Every salon, no matter how small, can be as big as anyone else on a website,” continues Alison. “Customers don’t know if you’re a tiny salon or a home salon, a website gives you access to everyone.”
EYES ON THE PRIZE
It’s not just what you say that can impact whether you’ll complete a sale, how you display your products is important too. Go through the below checklist to make sure you’re getting it right in your retail space…
- Have an eye-catching display of products in the window or at the front of the salon to entice prospective buyers inside. Then there’s the added bonus that they may well book a treatment once they’re through the door.
- The reception area is key to successful salon sales. Place the receptionist’s desk away from the front door so that clients must walk past your retail shelves as they enter.
- Don’t lock products away in cabinets or behind the receptionist’s desk and have tester samples available. Being able to handle, smell and try products gives conﬁdence to buyers.
- Take a tip from the supermarkets and display inexpensive, last minute impulse purchases near the pay point and don’t rely on salon brands for grab and go purchases. Look at what boutique brands can offer and consider what will attract your client.
- We read shelves like books, left to right but put your most proﬁtable product line between chest and eye level, rotating products regularly so the display looks new and exciting to repeat customers. Use lower shelves for lower priced items. Attach price tickets to products - customers don’t like asking the price.
You can ﬁnd Alison Young at alisonyoungbeauty.com along with her Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels.