Tiffany Conway, owner of CoCo Cheveux in South Portland, Maine, says implementing an upgrade...
Tiffany Conway, owner of CoCo Cheveux in South Portland, Maine, says implementing an upgrade menu was responsible for 20 percent growth in service sales.

For most salons, the majority of clients revolving through the doors tend to seek cutting or coloring services. A few years ago, Tiffany Conway, owner of CoCo Cheveux in South Portland, Maine, started leveraging this focused interest in hair by creating an upgrade menu with a variety of hair treatments to be handed to clients when they check in.

“We found stylists had a hard time suggesting upgrades to their clients—they feel like they are spending their clients’ money,” Conway says. “By handing them an upgrade menu upon check in, clients have time to absorb and consider the options for themselves.”

All of the salon’s upgrade services, such as the Glaze, the Blonde Recharge and the Express Smooth & Lock, are designed to be performed in 15 minutes or less, which makes it easy to integrate them into a current appointment. As a member of Goldwell’s Salon Alliance, Conway downloads a template for the upgrade menu and can access new fashion images from the manufacturer. Each month, new menus are designed and laminated and each one features a retail product of the month with a special offer on the reverse side.

An example of one of CoCo Cheveux's Upgrade Menus.

Stylists at CoCo Cheveux are on a level system, with five levels charging from $30 to $70 for a cut and finish. Conway says the upgrades have had an added benefit of allowing stylists at all levels to increase their income.

“We had a new level 1 who quickly started bringing in level-5 numbers, much to the dismay of her seniors.”

Over time, the menus have helped stylists feel more comfortable offering upgrades, and Conway encourages that behavior by asking her team to play the booking game, a tool she borrowed from Milady’s Steve Gomez when she was a trainer with the education company.

“In the booking game, stylists come to work 15 minutes early to study their schedule,” she says. “They spend time analyzing each client. Then, they predetermine the potential upgrades they will offer each one. The goal of the game is to take the number you have on the books for that day and double it with the sale of the upgrades.”

 Conway sweetens the deal by throwing in educational incentives. Recently, the entire team went on an overnight trip to New York City to attend a class at the Goldwell Academy after hitting a major goal, and many stylists are working toward a trip to Sweden for Goldwell’s Color Zoom.

The upgrade menu might seem a simple tool, but Conway attests it’s a powerful one. She believes the menus are responsible for the salon’s 20-percent growth in sales for the past few years.

“The menus really helped build stylist confidence,” she says. “Now, the team is excited about recommending an upgrade because they really see the value in it.”

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