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Last updated: June 13, 2018

10 Things You Can Do Now To Sell More Retail

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You didn’t become a hairdresser to sell retail, but there’s no question—you HAVE to be doing it. It can be intimidating, but the more retail you sell, the more money YOU take home. Plus it significantly boosts your client retention and shows your salon owner that you’re serious, which means more career opportunities for you. So get your sales face on! Here are some of the top tips we’ve heard throughout the years for how to increase your retail sales.



First, let’s just acknowledge the reasons you DON’T like to sell products. You don’t want to feel pushy or “sales-y” to your client—we get it. Or maybe you truly aren’t sure what to suggest for some clients, so you stay quiet and suggest nothing.


Here’s the thing: your client values your expertise and comes to you for your recommendations and abilities. That includes retail product suggestions. Many hairdressers will say that if you aren’t explaining what products you use to style (and if you aren’t selling those products to your clients), you’re not totally doing your job. So keep reading for the tips you need to get over your fears, build your knowledge and—bottom line—make more cash.




1. Appearances Are Everything
With retail, it doesn’t start with the consultation—it starts with what clients see when they step in the door. Cluttered displays or dusty products makes it obvious that you don’t really care about your product line or appearance. Keep it clean and streamlined but still well-stocked and think about signage (it should be small and tasteful, with no spelling errors, of course).


Robert Cromeans (who is a retail-selling MASTER) suggests studying displays at boutiques and high-end stores to help you in setting up your retail area. And if you still find that merchandise isn’t moving, then move it! Change its position, advises Beata Gola, former Vice President of Adam Broderick Salons and Spas. Department stores do it all the time to get customers to notice things they walked by a week ago.



2. Check Yourself
Once a client passes the retail area, the next thing they notice? You. So make sure you’re dressing like a pro. Think about how Clinique sales consultants wear white lab coats—that one detail immediately adds credibility. Think about what lends credibility to your look (it’s probably not a lab coat, but maybe it is!). Your hair, makeup and clothing can project that you have it together and can do wonders for your own confidence, says Jeff Grissler in his book, “How to get a J.O.B. in a Salon.”



3. Complete A Thorough Consultation
You already know that your consultation is key to completing a service that will make your client happy. It’s also the time when you get to know the most about your client’s lifestyle, hair issues, wants and needs. Listen closely—it will be important to remember everything to come up with your product recommendations.


A good consultation prevents this reaction.



4. Explain Everything
While you’re at the bowl, share exactly which products you are using to shampoo and condition, advises Eric Fisher of Eric Fisher Salons & Academy in Wichita, Kan. For example, “I’m using this shampoo, (state the name), because it will add fullness and volume and it smells amazing.”


5. Know Your Products
If you haven’t personally tried all of the products you are using on your clients, you probably can’t speak confidently about those products, says Neil Ducoff of Strategies. And take advantage of your salon brands’ product knowledge classes. Michael Crispel, owner of Earth a Salon in Toronto, conducts product knowledge classes twice per month. This way, his stylists feel comfortable suggesting products to their clients.


6. Keep A Blank Station
While some stylists like to keep their favorite products at their station, Robert Cromeans has a different idea for his salons. “Our stations are blank,” he says. As a stylist works, the products they use begin to appear. It’s a systematic way of talking about and showing what we recommend for each guest’s hair. The guest may or may not choose to buy. But we’re doing our jobs of servicing the guest with what’s best for her hair.”


Educating your clients means they’ll be less likely to try stuff like this on their own.



7. Show, Don’t Tell
Putting the product in your client’s hands gives her a sense of ownership and allows her to open the top, smell it and read the label. Dispense the amount of product your client should use in her hands, then show her how to apply it to her own hair. Hand her the hairspray and talk her through how you recommend applying it. Not only are you passing on your professional expertise—which is invaluable—but you’re also giving her a chance to really experiment with your retail offerings.


8. Come Up With Creative Promotions
Earth a Salon stylists encourage their clients to bring in gently-used drugstore-brand hair product from home in exchange for 25 percent off any in-salon retail purchase. The salon then donates these drugstore-brand hair products to a women’s shelter, which can be included in tax write-offs at the end of the year. “Clients love the idea of being part of a good cause,” Michael says, “and I wanted to make sure the percent off was large enough to encourage clients to participate.”



9. Stand By Your Line
Another great idea from Earth a Salon? Offering full credit back to clients if they aren’t satisfied with a product purchase. “We mark any returned product with a big ‘R’ and my stylists use it at the back bar and at their stations,” Michael says. “It makes a client so much more apt to buy retail from me knowing that we guarantee everything we sell.”


10. Bring It Home
There’s an old rule that salesmen swear by—recommend at least three products, because there’s a better chance of her buying at least one of those products than if you were to just recommend a single product. So after she’s finished, keep her at the station. Ask her to grab her phone and take a video of you explaining each of the three products you recommend (including how, what, when, where and why to use each product). Then walk her up to the front desk and watch her make a purchase! Not only does she have the professional products she needs—she also has a take-home video of her hairdresser explaining exactly how to do her hair at home. This makes you stand out AND makes you more money!


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Jeff Grissler