AN INNOVATIVE, day-long business forum hosted by America's Beauty Show (ABS), P&G Salon Professional and SALON TODAY at the 2011 ABS not only pumped up salon owners with new client thinking and business-building strategies, it provided a leadership foundation to support them as they went home to implement these inspired ideas.

"Smart Thinking, Straight Talk: A Salon and Spa Owner Dialogue" unveiled the way clients think through a presentation about shopper-based design and a unique panel which paired beauty editors of consumer magazines with top salon owners who serve the same target clients.

In the afternoon, Neil Ducoff, award-winning author and founder of Strategies, put attendees on the path to "No-Compromise Leadership," while Jim Lafferty, CEO of Coca Cola for West Africa showed attendees how to achieve a better work/life balance.

Following are some revealing stats and eye-opening thoughts from the forum:

The average client spends 45 minutes in the stylist's chair, versus 22 minutes shopping in a retail store and eight seconds making a decision at a product shelf. "You have advantages that mass-market retailers don't have-the personal consultation, expertise, the power of recommendation and time," says Mark Komanecky, director of shopper-based design for P&G.

"The trendsetter client already knows the trends and popular products," says Allure Beauty Director Amy Keller Laird.

"Tailor your advice. She's too smart for the classic upsell."

"You can recognize the experience-seeker client because she is your retail and gift card purchaser," says Larry Silvestri, chief operating officer of Mario Tricoci Salons and Spas. "She's looking for innovative services that deliver immediate results and give her a great experience, both in the salon and at home."

"In a February 2011 Self magazine poll:

  • 68% of readers say the day before a stressful work deadline, they'd rather get the best hair cut of their lives than the best massage of their lives.
  • 50% say a great hair cut puts them in a better mood than amazing sex."-Elaine D'Farley, beauty director for Self

On how to recognize your perfection-seeking client, Ginger Boyle, owner of Planet Salon in Beverly Hills advises, "She has good posture, a nice manicure, well-maintained eyebrows and designer shoes and accessories." "Every day, you watch opportunities pass you by," says Neil Ducoff. "This business holds plenty of potential, but turning that into dollars takes a no-compromise leader."

"People can rise to your greatest expectations or sink to your lowest," says Jim Lafferty. "Trust and delegate. Young people can step up if you belief in them, but if you micromanage them they'll never show you what they can do."

Inspired Thinking
Reuben Carranza, CEO of P&G Salon Professional North America, welcomed attendees and provided the framework for the day of learning.

Inspired Thinking
The forum was moderated by John Moroney, vice president of business development for P&G Salon Professional, and Stacey Soble, editor in chief of SALON TODAY.

Inspired Thinking
"First and foremost it comes to understanding your clients," says Mark Komanecky. "You want to be the ultimate authority-that translates into loyalty."

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