November 2012

LeAnne Velona

Strictly for Students| by LeAnne Velona


Retail Conversation Made Easy

Boosting retail sales is a great way for stylists and salons to easily grow their profitability.

Another benefit is that clients who buy products from the salon are more likely to be retained as your client than those who do not, and client retention is a key element of your future salon success.

But for some, initiating the retail conversation with clients can be a difficult, sometimes an uncomfortable task, especially when trying to introduce the client to new beauty products.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to seamlessly introduce new products into your service without sounding like a product pusher. These tips are simple tricks that will boost your retail sales and make your pockets and your salon owner very happy.

Become Educated: To become a master of retail, educate yourself on the new products carried in your salon. Spend some downtime at the shampoo bowl, and take note of the new products other stylists use on their clients based on their hair texture and goals. Many hair care lines have products designed for specific hair types: fine, medium, coarse and stressed. Knowing which products to use on particular hair types will make it easier to suggest the products to clients.

Sampling: Obtain samples of new products in the salon. Try the new products yourself and encourage the rest of the stylists to try them as well. After all, how can stylists recommend a product they haven't tried? Stylists tend to recommend products they have used and this can hold sway with clients.

Samples also come in handy for clients who aren't ready to commit to buying the product. Allowing a client to take a small sample home with them may encourage them to come back to buy more, and free samples are a great incentive to get customers to keep coming back for more services.

Show and Tell: If the client never sees the product, they won't buy it. Make sure to place each new product you use on the workstation in front of the client so they can touch the product. Briefly explain what you are doing with the product and how it benefits the client's hair.

Another place to subconsciously prep your client for a sale is at the shampoo bowl. Comment on the scent and texture of the shampoo you're using and mention any other back-bar products that you're currently coveting. Let your client play, touch and smell the products. By activating pleasure centers in their sight and scent receptors, your client will subconsciously be thinking about these products throughout the rest of their service.

Also be sure to display your new products at the front of the lobby close to the checkout stand where they are easily accessible to customers. As clients are paying for their services, seeing the retail could sway them to buy on their way out.

Don't Sell, Suggest: The reason most stylists struggle with selling products is because they feel pushy and don't like being told "no." Instead of selling products, try to suggest products. Change your psyche so you feel less pressure to sell. Remind yourself that you are the expert on your clients' hair, so you have the knowledge to suggest what products the client should be using.

Ask your client what his or her concerns are about their hair, and then suggest a solution. Your client could be coming to you because her hair is constantly falling flat. Now you are able to prescribe a new product to help bring some life back to her locks.

Throw a Product Party: A fun and social way to boost retail sales is to throw a product party. Invite your staff and their clients to the salon after-hours, and throw a little cocktail hour to introduce your clients to your latest retail products. Make inexpensive gift bags out of product samples and maybe even include a 10 to 15 percent off coupon for their next product purchase. You also could hold a raffle and recruit someone on staff to perform a styling demo with the featured new product you're selling.

Remember that it is also important to sell products to your clients to help them maintain their new looks and create salon-perfect hair at home. By providing styling tips and suggesting professional products to your client, you are positioning yourself as the expert and an invaluable resource. The benefit for you, as the stylist, is not only a loyal client but also the added sale of retail products.

LeAnne Velona, director of esthetics and massage therapy education for Marinello Schools of Beauty, has been a certified licensed esthetician for over 18 years and is also a licensed holistic health practitioner. Marinello Schools of Beauty offer cosmetology and esthetics programs at campuses in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. For more information, visit