Posts Tagged: salon owner

Three words that strike fear in the heart of a hairstylist.

I have the pleasure of spending most of my days at our beauty school with some of the most amazing people in the world: cosmetology students. We call them Future Professionals, a term Paul Mitchell School’s pioneered more than a decade ago. During a recent professional development class I taught, we talked about the service cycle and some of the things that can make it successful. “A great cut,” responded one Future Professional. “An awesome blow-dry and style,” responded another. “What about great communication?” I asked. Met with quizzical looks, I continued my line of questions. “Do you guys talk to your guests about services we offer that they aren’t there for? What about the products you’re using on them – do you talk to you guest about them?” No one was talking. “How about rebooking and recommending products – you’re doing that, right?” The anxiety in the room was palpable. Since performing these tasks during a service is part of the service and education experience, I was a bit concerned that they weren’t engaging in these important steps and wanted to get to the bottom of their reluctance. “Why aren’t you guys doing these basic things, guys?” I looked around the room and finally someone spoke up. “I don’t like when people tell me no.”

Fear of rejection is a common fear and is the most potent and distressing of every day events, according to psychologists, and is experienced in friendships, romantic relationships, and in the workplace. It’s no wonder After all, most of us associate the word no with rejection, and who likes to be rejected? But statistically speaking, you have a 50/50 chance that the answer will be yes and in our industry, as in countless others, yes = income. I’ll give you some real world examples of places where a yes answer would add dollars to a business’s bottom line:

At the register at Old Navy: Cashier asks, “Would you like to save 15% on your purchase today by opening an Old Navy card?” If the person says no – no big deal. If the person says yes and gets approved – they have an open line of credit and are more likely to make purchases. #makingmoney

At the register at Barnes & Noble: Cashier asks, “Would you like to get valuable coupons by sharing your email address with us?” If the person says no – no big deal. If the person says yes, they receive coupons encourage them to come to the store and spend money. #making money

At McDonald’s: Cashier asks, “Would you like to make that a large for just $2.00 more?” If the person says no – they’ll live longer. Ha ha. If the person says yes, McDonald’s just made $2.00 more than they would have made had the cashier not asked. #makingsensenow

Okay, now I want you to imagine the financial ramifications to each of the companies I used in the example above if the add-on questions were never asked. Old Navy is owned by Gap, Inc., and according to their Annual Shareholder’s report their net sales for 2012 were $15.7 billion. McDonald’s? $6.5 billion. Barnes & Noble? $6.8 billion. A huge percentage of the sales that occur in those companies come from their front line people asking those important, revenue generating, questions. And, in addition, customers expect to be asked to “add-on” to whatever it is they’re buying; they won’t be surprised or offended if you ask. In fact, if you leave off that important add-on question, some might wonder why they weren’t asked!

This week set a goal to ask at least one customer per day an add-on question – one that will increase your ticket, your retail, or your rebooking. Then, share your results with me here. I’d love to hear your success stories!

Blood in the water: One of the things killer salespeople know about sales that you don’t.

I love killer salespeople.
You know the type –  they sneak up on you and sell the sh*t out of you, leave you standing there, empty wallet in hand, “I ain’t mad at cha” playing in your head. I have mad respect for killer salespeople. The aesthetician who did my facial and sold me an expensive facial package before the one I was getting was complete? Killer salesperson. The massage therapist who sold me an annual membership to the massage studio even though I secretly loathe getting massages? Killer salesperson. Though not what most would consider salespeople in the traditional sense of the word, there’s a common thread linking these everyday sales ninjas together; they understand why their customers buy and that understanding keeps them counting greenbacks all the way to the bank. But, If understanding why customers buy is so important and can drive sales, how come it’s so often ignored? And, what is ignoring it costing in terms of lost sales? Here, a quick story of how a killer salesperson at the Chanel counter’s understanding of the why increases sales, creates happy customers, and pads her paycheck may illustrate it best.
A quick trip to the Chanel counter for foundation usually goes something like this:
Salesperson: “Welcome to Chanel. What can I get you today?”
Me: “Foundation.”
Salesperson: “Which one are you using?”
I respond, they get it for me, transaction complete.
But every few months I have a run-in with their killer salesperson (cue theme music from Jaws here):
Salesperson: Thick accent, “Welcome to Chanel! It’s so good to see you again!” Immediately, a look of concern crosses her face. “Oh.” She sounds disappointed. “Dry skin (as she touches my cheek)? The weather has been so unreasonable, no?” 
Me: My shoulders slump. 
Salesperson: “Mmmm.” More disappointment. “Anti-aging (as she taps under my chin).” It’s not a question, rather an order. 
Me: “Well, my skin is kind of dry…” She smells blood in the water.
Salesperson: “I know, darling, I noticed right away. Not that you’re not stunning, of course, but I have somesing that will make you so radiant, so beautiful, take years off your face…I will get it for you right away.” She rushes away leaving me in her Chanel-scented wake, desperate to be hydrated and young, wallet open, credit card poised. 
We eventually get to why I’m there (the foundation, remember?) but that’s after I’ve agreed enthusiastically to the $450 worth of products she slathered onto, and massaged into, my face, and I wasn’t even mad. In the words of Salt n Peppa, “I give props to those who deserve it.” She recognized my need (to feel good about my skin, cover my imperfections, look hydrated and young, and spend money), and my problem (my dry skin, my aging skin, my lack of foundation) and satisfied both. #winning
Okay, so how can understanding why the customer buys translate to the salon? Let’s consider the service desk coordinator’s role in the client’s purchasing decision. Oftentimes, the receptionist has the opportunity to interact with the guest before the stylist, but the average service desk coordinator looks up from her magazine at the guest looking at products in the retail area and then goes back to her magazine. After looking up a second time, she may ask (halfheartedly), “Did you need any help finding anything?” to which the answer is usually, “No.” Now, based on the Chanel counter sales experience I shared, what could the service desk coordinator do differently? How about walk out from behind the desk and approach the guest? “Mrs. Jones, it’s great to see you! I’d love to help you choose a product today. Tell me, what is it about your hair that you’re not in love with right now?” The service desk coordinator’s dialogue with the guest creates opportunities to discover how she can a.) satisfy a need or b.) solve a problem. A tiny change in what she does can actually increase sales!
This weekend, brainstorm some ideas on how you can up your sales game and become a killer salesperson. Rehearse the examples of sales dialogue, record yourself or role play with a colleague or friend, then pick one thing to implement this week. After you’ve tried your strategy, let me know how you did. I’d love to hear!