I love the business of beauty, especially salons as they offer so many different ways to generate revenue. I know some salon owners will laugh at that statement – yes salons can also become blackholes that gobble up money as soon as it hits the till, but when broken down into manageable sections there are loads of ways to increase revenue and your bottom line. I spoke before about increasing profits based on your existing client base here, but today I am going to talk about retail and how it is a vital to the success of your business.
I love retail, particularly the bit when it comes to researching products and brands and bringing them to the salon shelves. So many salons underestimate or totally ignore the true value retail and how important it is to survival in what it a very competitive, cut throat, over saturated market. Retail revenue is the difference between a salon that gets by and a salon that makes a profit – simple as. So why do so many salons and therapists struggle with retail?
I Am a Therapist Not a Sales Person!
Anyone who has ever heard me talk of salon retail and the role of the therapist, knows this over used saying doesn’t wash with me. Of course you are a salesperson you sell your skills, you sell your services and you should damn well be selling the products you offer within the salon – simple as. I don’t say that out of greed, it is a simple fact of salon survival and if you or your team take the attitude that retail is simply an ‘option’, one you can take or leave, you need to re educate your team and get motivated to sell!
Think about it, we sell day in day out in our personal lives, whether it is selling yourself (not in that way) to prospective employers, love interests or peers. When you have an argument with someone you articulate your point of view and defend your actions , because you believe in what your are saying – these same skills are involved when it comes to retailing to clients – just don’t shout at them or throw a cup at their head and you will be fine!
How to Approach Salon Sales
To be successful in your retailing efforts in salon, the most important thing is to know what you are talking about. Only sell what you believe in, don’t stock products you wouldn’t buy yourself and don’t treat your clients like fools. It is not feasible that you personally use every product you sell on your shelves – you can’t use a strong skincare product for acne if you don’t suffer with this condition. But you can become an expert in the brand, the ingredients the product contains, why and how they work and how they will help your client or enhance their life. You are not simply selling a product you are selling a solution. If you don’t know the products you are selling inside out, how can you effectively recommend and sell the to your clients. You are the professional, clients expect you to know and if you don’t you are undermining your credibility and your clients will buy elsewhere.
You have to remove the idea of the sleazy salesperson from your mind – this is not you. You are a qualified professional in your field, you offer professional solutions and products, you have trained in these products and are qualified to sell them. If you sell with the professional authority that you have accumulated it should not be a problem to increase your retail figures.
Choosing What to Sell
The beauty market is an oversaturated one that’s for sure. You compete alongside the internet, chemists, supermarkets, high end beauty halls, direct selling, as well as other salons. There are so many brands to choose from it is confusing. How can you be sure you are choosing the right brand to sell to your clients, one that clients want to buy? Well it’s actually really simple, first of all only affiliate / professionally align yourself with brands you believe in, then learn everything there is to know about this brand and their products. Then let your clients know why you chose to invest in the brands and why they should too. Don’t overfill your salon with every brand that takes your fancy. Make sure it is a right fit for your client/market before investing. Only stock products from a professional distributor who invests time and funds in creating brand awareness for the target market (i.e your clients) on a national level, which you can then pick up on and promote to your clients on a more personal level. A good distributor will help you with setting targets, sales training for staff and help drive sales for you. Note I said help, it is your job to actually close the sales. A brand/distributor can only do so much, if you or your teams sales approach is poor, then all the PR and marketing in the world will not increase your retail figures on a long term basis. My advice? Invest in non brand specific retail training for your staff, it is money well spent and you will soon see a pleasant return on investment.
Tips for Retailing in Your Salon
This is a huge topic and too much to fit in one post, so I am going to break it down with ‘scenarios’ over a few posts in the coming weeks. I just want to highlight how important retail is and why it should be a major part of your business model. We will discuss motivating staff, setting targets, making small changes that amount to steady increases in retail revenue and profits made.
If you take one thing from this post it’s this, you may be a fantastic therapist but you are also a sales person be it one who sells their services, skills or indeed passion for the industry. You are not doing anything wrong by retailing solutions to your clients. You are professionally trained to do so and clients appreciate it, even if they don’t buy – think of it as educating them on different choices they have. You are in a qualified position to do this – how you do it is what makes the difference between a sleazy salesperson and knowledgable professional advising clients. Finally while it may be the focus of this and some future posts, retailing to clients is not all about increasing profits – it is also about ensuring your clients needs and expectations are met – this forms part of your core service.