Salon retail is a hot topic. Some salons and nail technicians can build their retail sales with ease, and have created a culture where clients view the salon as a resource for their home care needs. On the other side of the coin, some have had a hard time getting clients to purchase from the salon over the drug store, and have abandoned their retail programs entirely. We want to share with you a tried and true method for increasing your salon’s retail sales that you can start today.THE EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR SALON RETAIL SALES
For the purposes of this discussion, we won’t be touching on professional products in retail settings, as that is a different topic entirely, for another post.
Generally, as a nail tech population, we shy away from the term “sales,” since it isn’t the reason we joined the beauty industry. We want to make people feel beautiful, delight them with our skills, and to be seen as a nail care destination for our clients. Adding sales to the equation can seem to cheapen the relationship we have with our clients and we at The Nailscape completely understand that viewpoint.
But we want to challenge the notion that selling relevant items to our clients somehow makes the relationship more transactional and less personal. Trust us, there is nothing more personal than holding someone’s bare foot, assessing their skin and nails, and making a product recommendation to correct a condition or maintain a result.
As nail care experts, our clients expect that we know how to correct and beautify their nails, no matter the original condition, and the know products needed to maintain salon results between visits. Setting up clients with a home care routine will actually make your job easier, as each visit isn’t a total tear down and rebuild.
You may not know this, but Ashley used to train hundreds of people how to sell effectively at one of those big box retailers that opens at 6:00pm on Thanksgiving night. Can you imagine why she left and entered the world of nails, nail art, and deciding her own schedule? Neither can we. 😉
So we’re going to impart this knowledge to even the most anti-retail readers we have, because nail salon retail is a massively untapped resource that you deserve to have working in your favor.
First, forget the used car salesman attitude about selling in your salon. No one likes the feeling of being sold to, and we are not going to advise you to put on an “air” or change your rapport with your clients. Selling is all about creating a connection with someone in under 10 seconds, so most of us are at an advantage since we have a captive audience and an established relationship with our clients.
Connect with your client
There is a certain script that we’re used to as customers. It’s going through the motions when we’re checking out at a store. It’s being ready with a “no, thank you,” at the register, a “no, thank you” to the perfume spritzer, and a “no, thank you,” when asked if we want fries with that. Often, we can answer “no, thank you,” without even thinking, as we dash our way through a store unencumbered. Even if the item being offered is something we want, our reflex to say no is stronger.
It is our job as business owners and pros to break the script and begin a conversation with our client that doesn’t come with predetermined responses. One of the easiest ways to connect is though a genuine compliment. Find something about your client that you really like, from her purse to her nail beds, and compliment her on it. Be sure to actually like what you’re complimenting; that’s key. There is no room for fake in this equation. That’s what turns a product suggestion into “being sold.”
Even if the item being offered is something we want, our reflex to say no is stronger.
Find out something about your client – ask questions
There is no topic people like to talk about more than themselves. Asking smart questions about your client’s life can clue you in to her lifestyle, activity level, and what she may be lacking in the home care department. Does she have dry heels but no heel cream? Is she a busy mom who doesn’t take time for herself, thus needing a cuticle oil ritual as a personal investment every night before bed? Getting your client talking also frees you up to concentrate on performing the service efficiently, and can help you plant the seed for a recommendation a little later on in the appointment.
Present options – show and tell
It is a truth universally acknowledged that people like choices versus a singular option. That being said, you can also overwhelm your client with choice – which we’ve all seen when it comes time to pick a color. Once you’ve narrowed in on the category your client needs; color, moisture, treatment, etc, offer them two to three options in that category and relate the features and benefits of the product back to their personal life. For example, if a client needs to be using cuticle oil religiously, make the recommendation that she take one home with her today and share that the safflower oil in the product will penetrate the nail plate and allow her nail coating to stay flexible, and last longer. This is your chance to share your knowledge, which also helps solidify your position as a nail expert. THE EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR SALON RETAIL SALES
Take them on a journey
Help your client picture what a wonderful world it will be when she steps out of the shower and onto her memory foam bath mat. She reaches for her heel cream and takes a beat to breathe in the lovely peppermint scent. She catches her reflection in the mirror and what’s that? She’s suddenly transformed into a perfectly moisturized glamazon? How lucky! Ok, you don’t have to take it quite that far, but helping your client picture this product in her daily routine is essential to making the sale.
Confirm their decision
One big mistake novices make when selling something is second guessing the client’s decision to purchase. Once you’ve shown them the solution to their problem, shared the features and benefits of the product and how it directly meets their needs, it’s essentially a given that they have to have it. Confirming your client’s decision to buy is as easy as saying “I really think this is the perfect solution for you.” Hearing your expert opinion again reinforces your client’s decision and helps them feel good about their choice. THE EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR SALON RETAIL SALES
Another thing to remember in this point of the sale is to not use a lot of questions. Once the client has decided to buy, stop asking them questions. You already found out everything you need to know during the ask questions phase. Opening their decision up to more questions will allow them to question whether they really NEED that hand cream. Obviously, no one should feel forced into buying something, so if you hear “you know what? I’m going to pass this time,” that’s fine. Just chalk it up to learning and hone your technique for next time.
End the sale
Once the service has finished, and you’re ringing up the total sale, use your confirmation statement again. “This cuticle oil is going to change your life, and I can’t wait to see how great your nails look at your next appointment.” Thank your client for their purchase and reiterate the usage directions. This reinforces the idea of actually using the product, and creates a little bit of accountability for home care, since they know you’ll be looking for improved nails on their next visit. People want to feel good about spending on themselves, so a conspiratorial tone also helps. “You deserve a little present for yourself – I know you work so hard.” Visiting the nail salon is an indulgence, so help your clients indulge themselves with the products you carry.
Important items to remember
Sales takes practice. You will hear “no” more often than you care to. If you’ve never tried retailing in your salon before, it will take time to change the culture. Don’t get discouraged. Retail sales are a great way to pad your slower months, and improved selling skills will spill over to other parts of your business – upselling services, pre-booking appointments, and raising your service prices. THE EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR SALON RETAIL SALES
Avoid giving away items you retail as gifts. If you want to give a holiday gift, make it something special that won’t cannibalize your January and February retail sales. Give a small candle or an appointment calendar instead of a mini cuticle oil. Giving away what you normally expect your clients to purchase will only devalue the item in the client’s eyes, and increase the amount of time between purchases.
Offer only high quality items in your salon. Once retailing starts to “click” with your clients, the temptation can be to start selling phone cases, home décor, and reusable totes. Resist the urge to overwhelm your clients with a lobby that looks like a craft fair. Use an editorial eye to only sell items that make sense for YOUR clients. Other salons can become a bazaar all they want. If it works for them, great. Concentrate on mastering what works for you before adding superfluous items.
We could get into so much more content about successful retailing, but in the interest of keeping everyone awake, we’re going to stop here. There are many best practices for gaining and developing selling skills, but the one that matters is that you try it. Try the five steps above as many times as you can, and as you work on it, you’ll naturally hone your craft. Practice saying your confirmation statements out loud. It sounds insane, we know, but better to sound unsure and weird in the mirror than in front of your clients. THE EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR SALON RETAIL SALES
What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to selling retail? Have you tried it before? What was the result? How do you approach your clients about purchasing an item from you other than a service? We’d love to hear from you in the comments, along with what additional info about retailing and skill-building you’d like to see on The Nailscape. THE EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR SALON RETAIL SALES