The Salon Advantage — Getting to Know Your Distributor

by Karl Sweis

Building a relationship with your local professional beauty distributor can provide you with a true business advantage.

By growing your circle and surrounding yourself with successful people whose experience and perspective are different from your own, you are sure to learn valuable lessons for building your business.

Through getting to know your distributor, you will gain access to a fresh perspective from a trusted business partner who is experienced at selling merchandise in salons. This distributor is dedicated to helping you increase sales and grow your business -- so take advantage of it. Consider the benefits of collaborating with an industry expert who could offer insight and ideas to affect your bottom line.

Surely, you have at least seen your distributor sales representative before. He or she comes into your salon regularly. However, you delegate the purchasing to someone else in the salon. So, you have never really taken the opportunity to get to know this person, but why should you? What is in it for you?

Utilize your resources and tap into the knowledge of the experts that are available to you. Your local distributor has selected and trained their sales representatives, who have detailed knowledge about the salon business, industry trends, new product information and educational events. Best of all, it is their job to work with you, get creative and help make your salon more profitable.

"Every time the rep comes in I'm with a client." Ask the front desk to get this person's contact information the next time they pop into the salon. Send them an email with your question or schedule a time for them to come back. The rep should be happy to plan around your schedule and set a time to come back that is convenient for you.

Do you have business ideas that you need help executing? Are you eager to move more retail, but haven't found the time to create a plan of action? You just have to ask the right person. Your sales rep will work with you to create a strategic plan to sell product to your customers.

Each of you brings to the table a unique piece of the retail puzzle. You have information about your customers, their likes and dislikes and habits, and your rep has a broader perspective on the beauty industry as a whole. Since they work with many salons all day, every day they have seen firsthand what works and what does not.

They can make recommendations on products and promotions, set up visual merchandising displays, develop special contests or programs, and they generally have a good idea of what will be a success. The two of you together can create a strategy that is stronger and more effective than you would separately.

Your distributor likely offers excellent education programs with top talent. Wouldn't you love a meeting with one of the beauty industry's famed artists? They are sure to be a wealth of information enabling you to grow and hone your craft at an affordable price. Often distributors look to host a larger event for many stylists in the area. Talk to your rep about hosting the next big education event in your salon. As the host, you will be in the position to meet key people that may be valuable to know.

These days everyone has a Facebook page and most likely Twitter too. Frequently these pages are updated with the latest and greatest information that the company has to offer.

Become a fan of your distributor and you will be the first to know about new products, special promotions, contests, and more. Often companies hold online events that are only accessible to their social network community. There are secret specials occurring all the time and all you need to do is tap into the right sources.

"Building relationships with your distributors should be primary on your list in order for them to help you build your business", notes Doreen Guarneri, owner of American Culture, and The Look Salon in Greenlawn, New York. "Reason being, you need to be a good customer in order to gain and earn rewards through your distributors such as exclusives, sampling, discounts and, above all, the best service! The squeaky wheel gets the oil. If you're a small business, this is of particular importance. Everything that a distributor can do to help grow your business will allow you more time behind the chair. Relationships are the key to success for everyone involved."

If you have been searching for innovative ways to increase retail sales and grow your business, reach out to your local beauty distributor. The advice, expertise and ideas that they provide may just be the spark that your business has been looking for.

Karl Sweis is the President and Founder of Sweis Inc., an independent professional beauty product distributor based in Southern California, servicing salons and salon professionals with quality in every capacity from products, to customer service, to shopping convenience and education since January 2000. For more information visit www.sweisinc.com.

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