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Management Practices

Getting New Employees to Retail

Laurel Nelson | July 10, 2011 | 1:34 PM

Getting New Employees to Retail

Getting new employees on the retail bandwagon can be difficult. However, some owners maintain they need to be in a retail state of mind before they start their first day of work.

“It should start even earlier,” says Patricia Owen, owner of the skin-focused Faces DaySpa, BeautyBoutique and SpaShoppe in Hilton Head, South Carolina. “We include questions about retailing in our interviewing process.”

Kristi Valenzuela, success coach, speaker and owner of the consulting firm Crystal Focus, Inc., suggests that can be as easy as handing the applicant a red pencil and asking her to attempt to sell you the product. “They may feel silly, but what you’re looking for is their willingness to try. If they push it aside and say they can’t do that, chances are they won’t attempt to retail your products either.”

Once you’ve made the hire, retail training needs to be an integral part of your orientation and training program. Valenzuela recommends developing a retailing system, writing it down in black and white, scripting the pitch, and role-playing the system during orientation. “Finally, draft an agreement that says they’ve been introduced to the system and agree to play by the rules, and ask new employees to sign it the first day. It makes them take retail seriously.”

But make sure all your employees play by the retail rules, or your new employees will quickly backslide into bad habits.

Valenzuela saw the power of an entire organization in retail action when she recently coached a salon in Round Beach, Illinois.

“Their retail to service ratio was a startling 23 percent, where the national average is about 8 percent,” she says. “We kept questioning the math, but found the ratio was right—so we took a hard look at the system. We found that when appointments were booked, the front desk advised clients of upcoming product specials. When clients checked in, they were again reminded of specials and told to ask their service providers what products would work best for them. Service providers talked about products during the service and at the shampoo bowl. At the end of the service, the service providers pulled recommended products and handed them to the client as they checked out. It’s solid and it’s brave, but because everyone in the salon did it, it didn’t feel uncomfortable, and it worked.”

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