Focusing On Retail Sales

Northwest Stylist

January 2012

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Focusing On Retail Sales


Imagine your salon & spa business as a high performance automobile. As the business owner, you would be the car's motor, providing the power to make it drive. Your front desk would be the body and windows, parts that protect the business. Your service providers would be the sound system and leather seats, the parts that provide comfort and style. Now, consider that your retail sales are the sophisticated fuel injection system, enabling the vehicle to operate flawlessly! Lauren Gartland is the president of Inspiring Champions, a business training and coaching company specializing in the beauty industry and advising business owners on how to grow their businesses with retailing.

...focus on retail to fuel and energize your business.

Gartland says, "If you want your salon & spa to thrive and not just survive, you will need to focus on retail to fuel and energize your business. Retail is your key profit driver and will dramatically boost your income, increase client retention and loyalty and provide added value. Retail will become your insurance policy to guarantee that you stay in business." The Professional Beauty Association reports that in 2010, salon & spa profits from services ranged from 4.1% to 7.6%, while profits from retail ranged from 30% to 40% and grew even higher for salons with their own product lines. The majority of salons & spas today are not earning money, with only 16% of the nation's salons being profitable.

To jump start your new retailing program in your business, set weekly times with your team members for product education and goal setting sessions. Gartland shares, "As an owner, you need to know where you are and where you're going financially, with a strategy to get there. Create a chart with the names of your service providers along with the days of the month. Have everyone list their numbers daily as well as their target goal numbers. Ensure they have accountability for recording them. You could even make a policy that if you don't list your numbers then you pay $5 into a charity account! It is important for your team to know their numbers. There is no way you can do this exercise and not grow."

Commit yourself and your team to retail education. "How would you like to buy a house from an agent who had no knowledge of real estate or a car from someone who knew nothing about engines? You have to love and understand your products," Gartland says. Utilize your distributors and manufacturers. They can help you increase sales, share new ideas and provide resources. Create an educational calendar with their help, ensuring that they make you their top priority when their new promotions come out. Make a 12 month promotional calendar so you can plan ahead with creative ideas for product sales. Your plan should include attractive and compelling displays with great window and salon signage.

Let your team members know they have not successfully completed their clients' haircare services if they do not make product recommendations that allow the clients to duplicate their styles at home. "Your team may think that they cannot successfully retail, yet it is not that they can't do it, they just do not know how. They don't want to be seen as pushy salespeople, as selling has developed a negative stigma," Gartland says. You need to develop a new language regarding your retail. Use words that minimize selling and instead promote recommendations. Rather than saying 'product,' say 'homecare.' Instead of asking clients if they want to 'buy a product,' ask if they want to 'take home a solution?'

Make a firm commitment to educate your clients on your product lines. However, do not make the mistake of over explaining by talking about product ingredients, science, technology or philosophy. Keep it simple. How exactly will the product benefit the client? Include emotions by telling them what they will love about their results. Gartland notes, "70% of salon clients are never offered product recommendations, while 85% of consumers relay they actually expect and want to receive product recommendations by their haircare expert. You could implement a radical new policy. Put up signage in your salon & spa business that says: If you do not receive product recommendations – then your service is free!"

Inspiring Champions is a business and coaching company offering live training camps, coaching and mentoring services, webinars, audio tapes and educational resources. For more information call 800-496-9305 or visit
Jenny Hogan is the Media Director at Marketing Solutions, Inc., a full-service marketing, advertising and PR agency specializing in the professional beauty business. For more information, contact 703-359-6000, visit or send an email to