Top Ten Sales Tips for Skin Care Salon Profitability

by Aaron Sonnenschein (as seen in Salontoday.com)

Healthy retailing requires creating a fluid, personal space [that] moves and changes often enough to capture the attention of easily jaded shoppers. Consumers are all about the next shiny new thing. Retail product must be front and center, and the way the product is presented must be kept fresh, surprising and new. We are not an insurance company selling policies. We are selling an upbeat, fun, inspiring, and highly personal concept that needs to feel relevant, contemporary and absolutely necessary.

Another key to seeing through the eyes of your customer is to step outside the gender stereotype. Valentine's Day is a classic example. We think of this as a woman's holiday, with rose-petals and bon-bons thrown everywhere. But don't forget that the world is full of guys who are expected to not only remember Valentine's Day, but also to present the alpha-female in his life with a great gift, not just some schlocky card from the convenience store. Here's an example of where spas and salons need to market to men, as gift-givers initially, offering the solution to a problem. This specific example is a great opportunity to attract new clients: at the end of January, start reaching out to men, not women, with reminders and offers for February 14. Once you make the guy a hero on Valentine's Day, then reach out again and offer him products and services for himself, like a smoother shave, sports massage, and more.

Top 10 Sales Tips

1. Rethink Your Real Estate

A huge couch [that] dominates your space, and plush chairs [that] face into a vase of flowers, do not sell your product. Consider reducing the size of your waiting area. Use that space to display-and SELL-more retail, and train your team to work the floor.

2. Make Sure That Retail Is Visible in a Starring Role

If your retail area is tucked away on the other side of a wall, behind the front desk, on the way to the treatment room, you are not doing your products justice. The shelves of retail products must be treated like catnip, like chocolate, like gold. Make them enticing by first making them visible and accessible.

3. Seeing Is Desiring

We all get numbed by repetition. When we look at something long enough, it becomes invisible. This is true of products on your shelves. Re-arrange your inventory, and create sweet-spots with nesting tables and acrylic display cubes. People will "see" these highlighted products as they are seeing them for the first time. Change the layout, display and window once a month, minimum, to keep it seeming "new."

4. Get the Big Picture

Stand in every spot in your salon where a customer could possibly stand, including in the restroom, and take a digital photo. The good, the bad and the ugly. Put these photos into a PowerPoint slide show and review in detail with your team. Make two sets of notes: Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame, i.e. what works, and what needs to be changed. This is similar to what coaches do to guide their players on to victory!

5. Make It Matter

Your team has to be fully invested. Rather than presenting the team with a finished plan and telling them what to do, involve them earlier rather than later in the planning process. Encourage brainstorming, where ideas are welcomed and received without criticism. Reward participation so that your people feel ownership and accountability.

6. Start Early

Develop a year-long calendar of promotional ideas, including new product launches, giveaways, events, speakers, contests, promotions and brand alliances with local community organizations, with the realization that it's a moving target. Flexibility is always a sign of strength, not weakness. Each month, discuss the calendar with your team. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for major promotional / sale / holiday planning, and maintain your commitment to update and "make over" your retail space, windows and floor space each month.

7. Feel the Love

Listen for passion from your team-members. If someone on the team really can't get enough of a specific kind of holiday, or a specific aspect of planning, such as working with local charities, creating edgy window-displays, or coordinating merchant association participation, recognize this, acknowledge the interest, and give that individual a significant level of participation in that area.

8. Know Your Numbers

Track your retail, service and Gift Certificate dollars to set goals for greater achievement. Review the numbers at the end of every week, and call a team meeting every two weeks to review in detail. Today's technology allows the entire team to be present virtually if needed, through Skype, text and of course phone.

9. Face the Music

Identify with utmost clarity what worked and did not work, and make each meeting the time for proposing solutions. Make special note of products and services [that] underperform, and analyze why this happens. In the best circumstances, sometimes products don't move because they simply are not displayed properly, are not presented to the customer in an engaging way, or because key personnel cannot explain the product clearly and persuasively. Look into every possibility. When some aspect of your process fails consistently, it is time for a major strategic overhaul.

10. Educate Your People

It is essential that your team know the menu and the product assortment the way they know the alphabet. Sampling makes it possible for your employees to experience every product in an economical way. In terms of treatment, it is a critical part of your budget to allow your team-members to experience key services at least once. Require that they take written notes about their experience and report this experience to the group at the next meeting. This must be an ongoing process for your team, and ongoing education is absolutely the bedrock foundation for retail success.

Brand "literacy", being able to speak effectively to customers on products, ingredients, treatments and services, is critical to your professional credibility. This applies to everyone on your team, including interns and reception-desk personnel who may not be licensed skin therapists. If they cannot speak effectively on your behalf, they cannot be permitted to come into contact with customers.

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Top Ten Sales Tips for Skin Care Salon Profitability