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Management Practices

The Art of Suggestive Selling

Jim Bower | March 13, 2017 | 7:03 PM

Suggestive selling is a very powerful tool. Not only can it improve your salon or spa’s bottom line, but when done right, it can help your clients discover beneficial products and services and in turn, increase trust and customer satisfaction. It’s a win across the board!

There are different approaches that you can take in making sales suggestions, so here are some tips to maximize your results without falling into any of the pitfalls.

Engage in Conversation

First get to know your client before attempting to suggestive sell. It’s not feasible to suggest something until you clearly understand their needs.  If you do so prematurely, they likely won’t trust you from that point on.

The best way to understand clients is to engage with them in conversation. Take the time to ask questions, and to be genuinely interested in what they have to say. When you gain insights into the client’s lifestyle and combine that knowledge with a thorough understanding of the products and services that are available, you can go further and suggest things they didn’t know that they were looking for. With suggestive selling, it comes down to customers appreciating the value in what is being offered and how the product or service can improve how they look, their sense of well-being, and even their lifestyle.

Know Your Salon or Spa’s Offerings

It’s important for your entire staff to possess a really good working knowledge of all products and services that are offered in your salon or spa. That way they can make suggestions quickly and effectively.

In the case of services, have your front desk and all non-service providers try as many of the services as possible or at least witness as much of the salon or spa’s offerings. After all, the best way to talk about a bodified blowout or a certain type of massage is to have actually experienced it first-hand.

In the case of your retail, knowing the inventory inside and out also helps you and your staff drive interest and sales. Also, having the necessary product and stock information prevents you from suggesting things you don’t have. Always keep your POS and salon inventory management system up to date and have the data handy, that way you and your staff always have access to the information that you need.

Another good way to ensure that all team members are familiar with your products is to set aside time to discuss all services, specifically with your front desk staff, and have regular classes for product knowledge. Most manufactures offer such classes, plus likely have detailed information on their websites.

Aside from product and inventory knowledge, see to it that your staff is also on top of the latest industry news and beauty trends. Customers expect staff and service providers to know what they’re talking about, so make sure they have that knowledge at hand.

Establish Trust

Establishing trust is critical to suggestive selling. Once a customer feels that they are being pushed into a sale, they will not trust that person’s advice and will be less likely to make the purchase. And offering them something they don’t really need will only help your sales temporarily but the long term loss of a loyal client (or their trust) can be devastating to your business.

To gain their trust, take a genuine interest in your customers. Know their names, their history with the salon or spa, and their favorite services and products they are likely to purchase. Get to know what they do for a living, their interests, hobbies, and any special occasions coming up. Once your staff starts building relationships with customers, and uses this information to offer targeted and informed suggestions, they’ll actually enjoy the sales process. It truly feels good to offer someone something that makes their day, makes them look good, or can make their lives easier.

The Right Timing

The perfect opportunity to use suggestive selling is once the client is getting ready for checkout. For example, if they have just invested in their hair color, it would be a good idea to recommend product that would help prolong their color. In this case, color care products become an up sell to the service itself, however the client will benefit from the use of the products, as they will help to protect what they just had done. Essentially you’ve just added value to their salon service and have helped protect their investment.

To help make the process easier, consider using salon and spa management software that offers intuitive suggestive selling features. At checkout, the system would automatically suggest appropriate products based on the services your clients have just done. It should also suggest product to complement their past or currently booked service when they book or confirm their appointment online. A really good system will even allow clients to reserve product for their next appointment, which can help you make decisions when ordering inventory but can also help increase your retail sales without really lifting a finger.

The Right Reasons

Suggestive selling should be about enlightening people on how they can improve their lives and showing them products they can actually use. Learning how to effectively suggestive sell can do wonders for your salon or spa’s bottom line, but you shouldn’t just do it for the sales. Use suggestive selling to genuinely add value for your clients. Do it because you want to help clients find products they want and need, and because you want to educate them on how they can get the most out of their salon and spa services.

Jim Bower is the founder of Floydware, LLC and Rosy Salon Software. He is a former salon and spa owner with more than 30 years of experience in the industry.

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