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Make More Money: Advice for Selling Retail in Your Salon Suite

Your talent, skills and relationship building skills with your clients have made you a successful salon suite owner and entrepreneur. Clients are coming to you because you are great at what you do and they love the way they look and feel after visiting you. Now, you can turn your focus to growing your income. A great way to do this is selling retail products to your clients. Nobody likes pushy salespeople, so a lot of stylists can be uncomfortable when they start selling products. Here are a few ideas to help you get comfortable selling retail in your suite:

  1. Be Helpful: Show your clients that you genuinely want to help them look and feel great with the products you sell. Make a conscious effort after each client’s service to make short notes using your about your client’s hair and styling struggles, their lifestyle, upcoming events, etc. Prior to seeing your client again, use these notes to refresh your memory and pick out a few products that you think they will love and that will make their lives easier.  This shows clients that you care and value them, and sets the groundwork for trust, which is essential to selling clients the products you suggest. 
  2. Educate Yourself: Learn all the hottest and hardest to find products and the pricing of competitive retailers. Know all you can about the products you carry and know the pros and cons of each item. Your understanding of the product should be deep enough that you can compare your products to cheaper and more expensive brands. This knowledge will not only help you decide which products to carry, but will make you a better sales person because you can truly show client’s what product is right for them.
  3. Ask Open-Ended Questions: People love to talk about themselves. Ask your client’s questions that really get to the heart of why they are using X product or why they style their hair a particular way. This will give you the knowledge to understand your client’s behavior and opens the door for you to solve their problem. For example: your client wears pony tails because she feels her hair starts to look greasy after a couple hours of being down. This is a great opportunity to suggest dry shampoo or a product that might be less heavy on her hair. 
  4. Share Samples: For your top clients, put together a small gift bag with samples of product you think would be beneficial to them. After a few days follow up with the client to see how they liked the sample & make note of what they liked. If they liked the sample, on their next service offer a 10% discount on the product. Ensure you are working with your distributor to get samples you can offer clients, or buy small containers and make your own samples for clients. 
  5. Display Beautifully: Product displays are a science. National retailers spend millions on displays and product placement. Ensure displays are accessible, clean and orderly. Place related products next to one another, for example place shampoos together and conditioners together to avoid confusion. Labels should always face out. Have testers, if applicable, for clients to try.  Ensure simple, consistent pricing.  Display products as close to eye level as possible, people instinctively reach for what is right in front of them.
  6. Use the Backwash Bowl to Your Advantage: This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your client about the product you are using. As you are giving them the perfect, relaxing head massage, talk to them about what the shampoo and conditioner you are using can do for their hair. 
  7. Teach Your Clients: One of the greatest gifts you can give your clients is teaching them simple tricks they can do at home to style their hair. As you are teaching these tricks you are also showing them how to use styling products to achieve the style.
  8. Be Smart about Inventory: Be sure to maintain and manage your inventory.  If one particular product seems to sell better than other, be sure to have sufficient supplies.  Watch trends for possible changes in what clients will purchase. Don’t buy into all specials from suppliers, if is a great deal, typically that means they cannot sell it. Note past trends and your sales history for when a product sold well during certain times of the year and ensure you are sufficiently supplied when that period comes again. Maintaining good inventory records can save you money and allow you to strategize your displays. If you need a crash course on inventory control, talk to A Suite Salon, we can give you some more pointers. 
  9. Price Competitively: In the end, you should make money off the product you carry.  You spend the money to purchase and display the products, so get paid for that effort.  When establishing a margin (the difference between what you pay and what you sell it for) do not try to gouge your clients, primarily because they will be insulted if they see it elsewhere for significantly less. Consider your carry cost and the convenience that a client can purchase everything they need to maintain their great new style in the ease of your suite rather than having to travel to a retail location. Typically, a 20-30% markup is customary on products.  This will take a bit of homework on your part but it is important to find out what other salons or retail stores charge for the same product, this can set a price point for you to follow. You do not have to be cheaper, but be competitive. If you need help calculating your margins click on this on line calculator.
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