Even though STX’s Jeff Mason is talking to salons about salon management software these days, as a former stylist and salon owner he understands exactly how hard it can be to motivate a team to sell retail. Because he has a vested interest in seeing his software clients succeed, he shares his wisdom in a class he teaches called “How to Retail Without Ever Selling Anything.”
“The mindset we have to get across to the hairdresser is they need to educate the client, and the easiest way to do that is through Interactive Styling,” Mason says. “That means putting the products directly into the guests hands and it can start at the shampoo bowl. Invite them to experience the fragrance, which will help put them in a relaxed and calm state.”
Once the client is at the station, Mason suggests not just putting the styling lotion, leave-in conditioner or mousse in their hair, but also take the guest’s hand and then put into it the exact amount they should use at home, then show exactly how to work it in their hair.
“Clients typically use three to five times the amount of styling product as they should, and although many stylists comment that means they’ll just sell more, that isn’t the case,” Mason says. “If the client uses too much, they’ll be discouraged with the result because their hair will be too stiff or too greasy, and now they’ll blame the stylist for selling them a bad product and not come back to the salon.”
Educating the client along the way not only changes their mindset, it also changes their experience. Mason suggests that for every product a stylist uses during the client’s service, he or she place the retail size of the product on the shelf in front of the client.
“End the service by recapping what you used and why, and make your recommendations,” he says. “If you recommended several products and they can’t buy them all today, write them all down and rank them in order of importance, then use your software to enter in your recommendations so you can ask about it next time.”
When the client has the product bottle in her hands, she’ll start smelling and reading the packaging while the stylist is explaining its benefits—they are far more engaged.
“The reality is the stylist and the salon make more money, you are taking better care of your clients and when they purchase retail they are more likely to return.”
Clients also need to be able to interact with the product in the retail area. It should never be behind the counter or locked up, Mason stresses. “If they can’t see it, they won’t buy it.”
Mason says if a new client purchases one product, she is 30% more likely to return. If she purchases more, the likelihood she’ll return goes up exponentially. “If you recommend five and she purchases all five, there’s a 90% chance she’s going to return,” he says.
Mason believes an industry e-commerce system like SalonInteractive just expands the opportunity. If a client leaves without purchasing all of a stylist’s recommendations in the salon, she can learn more about them on the salon’s website. “And while she’s in the online shopping mode, she just might check out a thinning hair formula for her husband or products for her kids—you’re expanding that opportunity to everything the salon carries, as well as what it may not have room to carry physically,” Mason adds.