As the founder of the Six-Figure Hairdresser program, Harry D. Wood, IV, literally wrote the book when it comes to pushing the envelope on retail sales—he and co-author Nick Mantia penned Six-Figure Sales, helping stylists reach $30,000 or more in annual retail sales.
The first step in achieving strong retail sales is establishing a rapport with the client, says Wood, whose own retail sales as a master stylist at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, Georgia, topped $60,000 last year.
“I try to mirror their tone, speech and mannerisms to create a connection. If they’re excited and talk in a quick pace, I match that; if they are softer spoken, I reflect that to create sincerity,” he says.
Next, Wood works on segmentation, basically figuring out what type of client is sitting in his chair.
“A high-level dominant client speaks her mind and is quick to make decisions; while a highly social client wants what is newest on the market; a high detail client wants all the facts and needs to do research; and a go-with-the-flow client may need a second or third opinion,” he explains. “I figure out who is sitting in my chair and how I’m going to talk to them.”
Then Wood goes into effective questioning. “I ask the proper questions that will lead me to a solution for the guest for both her style and the process for finishing,” he says. “I start by asking permission—‘Can I ask a few questions about your hair before we get started?’ That gets them accustomed to saying yes.” Wood asks clients to tell him what they are doing with their hair and what specifically they’d like to change about it. Then he asks them to detail their routine and share what they are currently using.
As guests respond to his questions, Wood practices active listening—repeating back to the guest what he thought he heard—
“What I heard you say is you would like to have a little more volume on top and you are using a round brush with styling products but still having a challenge achieving the volume you want.”
Throughout the service, Wood talks to the client’s challenges, offering suggestions and solutions—always something for cleansing and something for styling. Then, depending on the client sitting in his chair, he’ll use the soft sell, the hard close or the assumptive close.
The assumptive close, which he believes is the most effective, assumes the client wants to take something home with them today: “Based on what you told me, I’d like to get you this shampoo and conditioner, plus the styling product and hair spray.”
“I give them a choice of these two or these two, not just one product,” Wood says. “If I offer four products, they’ll generally take two. When you give them an either/or choice, no is an awkward answer.”
When Wood does hear a no, he knows that might mean the client needs more information or doesn’t understand what is being offered.
“If the client says she’s not interested, I ask her why she feels that way, trying to determine whether she’s saying no because of the value or the price. If they say it’s too expensive, I explain the value of the recommended product and offer a smaller size.”
For clients who are concerned about price, Wood keeps an eye on upcoming customer appreciation days that Van Michael holds with product discount offers—he then suggests the client preorder the products for the upcoming day at the discounted price.
“You don’t have to sell to every client,” says Wood. “But if you know your goal and break it into a daily goal, it’s easier to keep on track.
Wood’s book is available on amazon.com
On May 19-21, the Data-Driven Salon Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, will spotlight data stars including Wood in a hands-on workshop approach to mining the metrics to drive salon performance. Learn more at datadrivensalon.com.
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