One of the salon's most valuable sources for education, business, marketing and product advice is the Distributor Sales Consultant (DSC). This month Salon Today asks a salon owner, a distributor and a manufacturer:

How do you get the most from your DSC?

How do you get the most from your DSC?
Steve Cohn
Premiere Beauty Supply
Wheeling, Illinois

SALON OWNERS NEED to take advantage of all the information and assistance that distributors and distributor sales consultants have in their arsenal. The best way to do that is to plan strategic meetings at least once a month to discuss topics that include upcoming promotional opportunities, educational offerings and a strategic marketing calendar.

Salon owners should use their time with the DSC to plan three or four months out so that there is plenty of time to implement the plans. Salon owners are busy, and I am sure they often are not aware of the ways in which a DSC can help them, or they simply do not think to ask. Owners need to clear their schedule to make quality time for DSC meetings so the time is not merely devoted to discussing inventory and taking product orders. No two salons are the same and owners should never hesitate to say, "Here's what we need. Can you help make that work for us?"

The salon industry has changed dramatically in the more than 20 years I have been in the business. Today, most salon owners are very savvy business people and DSCs need to do a lot more than sell products. A good DSC gets that and is focused on listening to his or her customers. So, salon owners, don't be afraid to ask questions. You may be surprised to find out all that the DSC can do for you.

How do you get the most from your DSC?
Tiffany Groenenboom
Studio Luxe
Naperville, Illinois

FOR ME, IT'S COMMUNICATION (and lots of it) that is key to the successful relationship that I enjoy with my distributor sales consultant. Before each visit to the salon, we talk on the phone and exchange a few e-mails so that we have a clear and concise agenda in place when he arrives at the salon. As an owner, I appreciate and need my consultant to be organized and ready to go when we meet because I frequently have 10 other things going on at the same time.

It's important to meet with the DSC at least bi-monthly. If you establish a continuity and frequency, the consultant is always up-to-date on the salon's current needs and he or she has the opportunity to get acquainted with your staff. Our consultants are great at understanding the pulse of our business and the needs and personalities of the salon team members. Since products and trends are so fluid in this industry, I need another set of eyes and ears to help me grow my business.
When you and your consultant are on the same page and you view him or her as a partner, rather than a "sales person," you can achieve some amazing results together.

How do you get the most from your DSC?
Steve Goddard
Pravana Naturceuticals

THE BEST WAY TO MAXIMIZE the relationship with your distributor sales consultant is to understand how he or she can help your business and what kind of support you can and should expect. A good DSC should be able to advise you on many matters and help take some of the load off you by performing some basic, but important, tasks:

Inventory Control: The DSC should monitor and balance inventory so that the salon has the proper amount of back bar and retail products without too many or too few of any item.

New Product Introductions: The DSC should keep the salon completely updated on the latest product launches as well as trends in salon services.

Review Distributor Promotions: Salons should know when the products they carry are available at the best price.

Plan Salon Promotions: The DSC should be able to tell the salon owner what is working for other salons in the area.

Retail, Merchandising and Space Utilization: The DSC can help with positioning products on the shelf placing displays to create a natural traffic flow to the retail area.

Education Calendars: The DSC should be the salon's primary source for information, planning and booking of in-salon, seminar or classroom education, and for the purchase of show tickets.

CLICK! Do you have a hot topic on which you'd love to see different perspectives from the industry? Send it to Stacey Soble at and we'll get the dialogue started.

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