Hate selling retail? You’re letting your clients — and your business — down.

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

When clients use the wrong products, chances are high they’re going to be unhappy with their hair. And guess who they’re likely to blame? They are most likely going to blame the stylist and not the fact that they can't style their hair or are using the wrong product.

This is the risk you run when you don’t educate your clients. (Notice I said “educate” and not “sell.”) They might end up feeling unhappy with your work even though you know your stuff.

Despite the obvious benefits of selling retail (can we say profits?) there seems to be a lot of hesitation from some stylists towards it. "I am not a salesperson" is a common line I hear. Some even view selling product as harassing their clients. The opposite is true. You are in fact doing your clients a disservice if you don’t help them to find the right products for their hair.

So how do we deal with this? Shift the focus from product sales to product education. When the goal is product education we ensure clients understand why they should choose a particular product and how is it going to help keep them when it comes to styling their hair, maintaining their colour, etc. When you focus on education over sales (I like to call this AUTHENTIC SELLING) these sales happen naturally, without makeng you feel like a salesperson. On that note, do you know that department store salespeople are told not to stop asking for the sale until after the 5th no?

Don’t wait for your client to ask what you are using on their hair, make a habit of incorporating the product discussion right into your service. While at the basin, let them know what shampoo you're using and why you've chosen it for them. When styling their hair show them what products you are using, why and HOW to use them. They actually do want to know. When their service is done make the products available at the front desk for them to purchase. Even better, take them to the the retail area and show them where to find what you recommend. Make it easy for them to purchase.

Worried your clients can’t afford your products? You should still be helping them with their product choices. If you're thinking your products may be too expensive, it simply means your current products might not be appropriate for your clientele. Re-evaluate the products you carry to ensure they are high quality and priced appropriately for your target markets. A salon in a small suburban town shouldn’t necessarily be stocking the same products as a salon on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Regardless of price, your clients will feel much better supporting your local, independent business than they will padding the pockets of Walmart, Costco or Fred Meyer.

When your clients are using the right product you’ll make sure they’re looking their best, you're keeing your reputation strong and this will have a positive impact on your bottom line. Retail product sales will really help pay your rent and increase your take home pay. As an added bonus, studies show that clients who purchase retail are more likely to be repeat customers and repeat customers have higher sales per visit.

Your retail sales should equate to 20% of your service sales. If you are generating $1000 per week in service revenue, you should also be selling at least $200 in retail product. This is the goal for best practice in our industry. If you are not able to do this you may need more product knowledge, more sales coaching or just need to start talking about the products you are using- if you choose to use a root lift product on fine hair to create volume, tell your client that. If they have fine hair, they are most likely wanting volume and would appreciate the info. You are their stylist, you are the one who knows their hair best and you are the one who should be prescribing their homecare products.

I challenge you to spend a month focussing on retail education not sales. Do it right and you’ll ensure your clients look and feel great. And, as an added bonus, you'll take home a bigger paycheck!

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