Focusing on Retail Sales

Dramatically Increase Your Business Profits and Client Retention

by Jenny Hogan

Imagine your salon and spa business as a high performance automobile.

As the business owner, you would be the car's motor, providing the power to make it drive. Your front desk would be the body and windows, parts that protect the business.

Your service providers would be the sound system and leather seats, the parts that provide comfort and style. Now, consider that your retail sales are the sophisticated fuel injection system, enabling the vehicle to operate flawlessly.

Lauren Gartland is the president of Inspiring Champions, a business training and coaching company specializing in the beauty industry, and she shares some advice on how to grow your businesses with retailing.

"If you want your salon and spa to thrive and not just survive," she explained, "you will need to focus on retail to fuel and energize your business. Retail is your key profit driver and will dramatically boost your income, increase client retention and loyalty and provide benefit. Retail will become your insurance policy to guarantee that you stay in business."

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) reports that in 2010, salon and spa profits from services ranged from 4.1 percent to 7.6 percent, while profits from retail ranged from 30 percent to 40 percent and grew even higher for salons with their own product lines. The majority of salons and spas today are not earning money, with only 16 percent of the nation's salons being profitable.

To jump-start your new retailing program in your business, set weekly times with your team members for product education and goal setting sessions. As an owner, you need to know where you are and where you are going financially.

Create a chart with the names of your service providers along with the days of the month. Have everyone list his or her numbers daily as well as their target goal numbers. Ensure they have accountability for recording them. You could even make a policy that if you do not list your numbers; you pay five dollars into a charity account. It is important for your team to know their numbers.

Commit yourself and your team to retail education. How would you like to buy a house from an agent who had no knowledge of real estate or a car from someone who knew nothing about engines? You have to love and understand your products.

Utilize your distributors and manufacturers. They can help you increase sales, share new ideas and provide resources. Create an educational calendar with their help, ensuring that they make you their top priority when their new promotions come out. Make a twelve-month promotional calendar so you can plan with creative ideas for product sales. Your plan should include attractive and compelling displays with great window and salon signage.

Let your team members know they have not successfully completed their clients' hair care services if they do not make product recommendations that allow the clients to duplicate their styles at home.

Your team may think that they cannot successfully retail, yet it is not that they cannot do it, they just do not know how. They do not want to be seen as pushy salespeople, as selling has developed a negative stigma. You need to develop a new language regarding your retail. Use words that minimize selling and instead promote recommendations. Instead of asking clients if they want to buy a product, ask if they want to take home a solution.

Make a firm commitment to educate your clients on your product lines. However, do not make the mistake of over explaining by talking about product ingredients, science, technology or philosophy. Keep it simple.

How exactly will the product benefit the client? Include emotions by telling them what they will love about their results. Seventy percent of salon clients are never offered product recommendations, while eighty five percent of consumers relay they actually expect and want to receive product recommendations by their hair care expert. You could implement a radical new policy. Put up signage in your salon and spa business that says: "If you do not receive product recommendations -- then your service is free."

For more information on Lauren Gartland and the Inspiring Champions collection of live training camps, coaching services, mentoring and educational resources, call 800-496-9305 or visit them at www.InspiringChampions.com.

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