Doing Your Clients a Favor


by Janet McCormick

A new perspective and 7 steps to change your staff’s—and your clients’—opinions about carrying retail products.

In every staff meeting I ever had, the place would go silent with the mention of one word – retail. Everyone hated selling. Then one day I read an article by salon retail guru and consultant, Carol Phillips, and it changed my life – and the spa’s skin and nail sales, immediately. From that moment forward, I eliminated the word retail and added home care as the goal.

So, I developed a new strategy I called “doing your clients a favor.” I focused on the positives of them taking home product instead of training on how to sell product. It encompasses the whole concept of home care, not just getting it into their hands. This is what I have discovered over the years:

  1. It has to be on the shelves. If it’s not there, the clients cannot take it home to use. So, someone (you, the owner, front desk) has to check where the holes are every day. When it gets down to the minimum number, order it – don’t wait until it’s gone or your concept of doing them a favor is gone—as is the sale.
  2. Displays are important. After you have introduced the product to the client. It doesn’t have to be huge, just attractive and near the area for the services it supplements. You and the client pass it on the way to your service area and on the way out. After you have talked about it to the new purchaser, there it is! Or, one who is a regular purchaser can reach for it on the way out from another service.
  3. Choose your products wisely. Not because “it smells good,” but because it works. Did you know your service skin care only lasts about 48 hours? Whether it is hands, feet, body or face. It doesn’t even last that long, if the product is not high-quality. So learn your essential ingredients for each condition and focus of your service (hydration, acne, prevention, etc.) Certain ingredients are standard positives for each part of your body, and you need to know what they are, and then choose a product line that covers the needs of your clients by having the targeted ingredients for each need. Understand that a product that works well influences whether a client is 1) getting results, and also 2) going to return to you as a client regularly. When you hear “My feet are so much nicer,” or, “I’m seeing such great results from this product,” they are yours, forever.
  1. Choose a line that educates. Getting the products into the hands of your clients is through education and recommendation, not through selling – tell them about the ingredients and how they will work for them. Educational presentation is a professional substitution for “sales.” Recommendation and listing the benefits and results for the client far out weigh their walking through a big box store and saying, “wonder if that will soften my calluses?”
  2. Get your orders aligned with the “free shipping” and “free product.” These incentives from your distributor or product line can be a huge factor. By aligning your orders with these numbers, you can cut your retail costs by as much as 25%. Further, you’ll be assured it is always there on the shelf. Granted, all this organization takes time, but within months your orders will be organized into the numbers you need to cut your costs dramatically.
  3. Keep records of what they buy, and check it every time. Most home care products are bottled in 3 month amounts. This means if the client is not purchasing at least every four months, you know they are not using it as directed, and you can usually tell that by the condition, and then comment on that.
  4. Last, get everyone on track. Every department has a desired home care sales amount, and it’s been proven by successful salons and spas. Manicurists should sell 17-20% of their service amounts in home care – minimum. In skin care, estheticians should sell 30-40% of their production. Massage therapists, 10-15%. If your departments are not hitting these targets, consider the lower results many times are shown by lower retention of clients and/or slower growth in clientele because the clients are not seeing the results they would like to see.

The key to all this is educating yourself and your staff that retail is no longer retail in the spa or salon: it is “home care.” And if you educate your clients along that line, their attitude changes, right along with yours. You are no longer pushing product, you are offering beneficial.

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