Learn to increase your paycheck by making an extra sale or booking an unexpected appointment.
By pitching the perfect service or recommending a specific product to accommodate your client, you can easily increase your paycheck by making an extra sale or booking an unexpected appointment. We reached out to nail techs to find out what works for them and asked, how do you easily upsell additional services or products to your clients?
"My tip for an upsell is wearing your nail art! Always have your nails done, no exceptions. Your nails are your walking business card. My nails are always decked out with full nail art so I can showcase my best work on my fingertips. When my clients see my work they always want it. During every service I always ask them what kind of designs they want. Everyone who sits in my chair is ready for the full nail art experience! If a client is looking for a simple set, I always try and get some type of art on there, even if it is just an accent nail. I suggest what is trending at the moment or advise her to add some Swarovski crystals to bling it up. Always remember your nails are an advertisement of your work and services. If you wear it, they will buy it."
iLuvUrNailz , Bay Shore, N.Y.
"When it comes to up-selling services I have to understand that not all my clients like loud nails. Therefore, I have to offer them different alternatives depending on their personalities. The key is getting to know your clients. If it is their first time getting their nails done with me, we have a 15-minute consultation before we start the manicure. This is to find out what they prefer and to offer them a piece of my creativity to add to their nails according to their likings. It is extremely important to have a portfolio of my best, unique, eye-catching, and neatest work to show my clients different possibilities for different designs, stones, charms, glitters, 3-D nails, and everything else regarding nail art. Right now, my portfolio is my Instagram account @thenailsqueen. A portfolio will give your work credibility and work will speak for itself. Clients are most likely to trust you and add your special touch to their nails if they like what they see, which means more money for you. My best advice when it comes to offering extra services is to be honest and educate your clients about the benefits and disadvantages of the products being offered. Provide quality over quantity. Make sure your nails always look flawless to represent the product and to be able to offer extras. Keep your upsells relevant to the original product, and last but not least, provide clients with outstanding customer service in every way to keep them happy and to keep your business running."
"This time of the year, I like to upsell a gel-polish pedicure to my spa pedicure clients. I advise my clients that the gel-polish will last them up to six weeks, so switching from the typical four-week interval to a six-week interval will actually save them money. Also, no one likes to leave the salon and go out into the cold with pedi slippers on. With the gel-polish pedicure, they can slip their socks and boots back on and skip on out of here without the worry of smudging!"
Salon Legacy Nails, Rolla, Mo.
"If you can’t draw, you can add a few embellishments to nails for an easy and quick upsell that will leave your client wanting more! When a client comes in for her appointment, offer her some nail art. I offer my clients embellished nail art for free the first time to see if she likes it. If she has never had nail art, I pull up Pinterest nail art images for her so she can scroll through them while I do her service. Once she starts receiving complements on her nail art everywhere she goes, she will ask for it every time!"
Salon Legacy Nails, Rolla, Mo.
"I find that trying to upsell really starts with understanding your client’s needs. I start by asking my clients what they do for their nails currently, what their daily routine is like, and what their goals are with their nails. A lot of people will tell you exactly what they need and want just by getting to know who they are and what they do on a daily basis. The moment I hear someone is a marathon runner, I know not to sell her a callus-smoothing treatment even though her feet may be rough. Why? Because she needs calluses or else her feet will be sore and blistered after her next run. Instead, I offer a paraffin treatment and an extended massage to relieve aching feet and muscles.
If you push products that aren’t customized to your clients’ needs, they’ll sense your sales pitch right away and will shut you down quickly. Make it about getting to know them and helping them and you’ll both feel good about the sale. I’m the pro so my clients expect me to show them what’s best for their health and also to help them feel beautiful. Always be honest, ethical, and confident in your knowledge and abilities and your clients will trust your advice."
Va-Va Varnish, San Diego, Calif.
"I never realized how important it was to upgrade services and sell products until I worked at a salon that forced me to meet sales and upgrade goals. At first, I was quite annoyed at the fact that I had to sell — I am a nail technician not a salesperson.
I used to give my nail art away for free — yes free. I loved that my nail art was out there for everyone to see and my clients felt elated that they were wearing a one-of-a-kind creation by me. This salon wanted me to charge $2-$5 per nail, sell products to my clients, and upgrade manicures and pedicures. I thought it was pure insanity! I needed a job and I really liked this salon, so I figured, let’s give it a go. I listened to the other technicians selling and upgrading and they all just sounded like used car salesmen, which was not what I ever wanted to sound like. I created my own method of selling and upgrading and wouldn’t you know, I started seeing a huge increase in my paycheck.
The method I created is actually one that is quite simple and has three steps: Know your products, listen to your clients, and be honest. I know that sounds extremely simple and possibly even like common sense. You have no idea how many times in my 17 years of being a nail technician I have heard technicians give bad recommendations to clients just to sell a product or upgrade a service. Let me break down each of these steps to give you a better understanding.
1. Know your products. Read and research. Our clients come to us because we are educated professionals in the nail industry. We should know more than they do about services, brands, and products. Clients do not need us to repeat what is already on a label. They need us to break down what is on the label into layman’s terms and explain how that product or upgraded service will help them.
2. Listen to your client. This may sound really easy but there is more to it than just listening to words coming out of a client’s mouth. We must listen and hear exactly what clients are saying. Clients are not always going to tell you exactly what they need or exactly what they want. This is why we need to read between the lines and ask questions while we work. As we all know time is money; don’t let conversations hold up your client service time. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the goings on of the salon, conversations being held around us, thinking about our next client, etc., and the current client starts to just sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown. Don’t let this happen!
3. Be honest. No one likes a pushy, overbearing, obnoxious salesperson who will do anything to get a sale. Be honest, believe in your products and services, try your products or services, and don’t just sell or upgrade something for the sake of making a few extra dollars. If you do, you will lose a client and you will get the reputation of being the pushy salesperson and lose other potential clients through word of mouth.
Happy selling, upgrading, and beautifying!"
Franklin Park, Ill.
"I always start out by making the service sound super exciting, mostly because I’m always excited for nail art! I show my clients pictures for reference and show them the products I will use to help get them pumped up for the look.
Once we find a look they’re going to love, I let them know what the add-on price will be. This way, they’re pumped about the design and won’t be surprised at their total cost when they check out. During their service, I talk about future add-ons that they could benefit from, tell them about the products I use during the service, let them know the products are available for retail, and explain why they’re so awesome to have at home. I’m often booked too tightly to do additional services on the spot, so I will offer a discount if they book their next service ahead of time."
The Cut, Crown Point, Ind.
"When I meet a client they fill out a welcome form that includes occupation, hobbies, allergies, skin care concerns, etc. This clues me in to the type of services that will be helpful to them. In addition to their paperwork, I provide a complimentary color and skin consultation to check out their hands feet, nails, and skin. This gives me a firsthand insight into products and services that can help.
I also like to offer package perks. When a client is booking, I offer her a pampering package so she can save some time and money. She saves time by having two services in one visit instead of booking a second one. It saves her money because I will offer a certain amount of dollars off the grand total. If the client does not have a schedule that allows time for a mani and a pedi, offer other upgrades like essential oils, fresh lavender, or peppermint leaves. By recommending additional services at the time of booking, I ensure I have all the time she needs or would want. I also ask if there is any special occasion or reason she is booking an appointment. All these insights can help you to help clients.
I have a loyalty program that has been especially helpful with nail art upgrades. I start a Shellac service at a base price and have upgrade services for nail art, French tip, foils, gems, carving, decals, water transfers, glitter, etc. Most clients keep it pretty basic, but sometimes it’s because they have not yet tried nail art techniques available to them. My Shellac loyalty card encourages clients to try nail art if they spend $5 more on their Shellac by upgrading to nail art. If they do, they earn a punch on their punch card and after a certain number of punches, they get a free nail art Shellac service. It’s an opportunity to not spend too much out of their budget, while exploring the world of endless options in nail art."
Sugar N Spice Nail Salon, Saratoga Springs, Utah
"I only work on hands and do nails, so my up-sales are for my art. For a client who does not wear art or might not be ready for it, I offer the art for free. I do something little, cute, and easy. I give it to them free the first time because 99% of my clients return, and they want more art! They get excited because people have complemented them. I have more than a handful of clients who want nail art on all 10 of their nails and they started with just two nails. I can make an extra $100 in a day from my art alone. Do not be scared to push your clients into some art. I just tell them it’s not attached to them permanently and it will come off whenever thety want!"
Bentley Hair Salon, Moline, Ill.
"The best way to upsell clients is to first offer a complimentary product or service so they can first experience the advantages. This applies to services such as callus removal treatments, paraffin wax treatments, and hot oil manicures, etc. Once they see the benefits of such services, they’ll be sure to want to add it onto the next service. If it’s a service such as a design then it’s always best to uncover the look clients are going for. If it’s a special occasion, inquire about what their attire is going to be and make suggestions based off that and encourage them to get a little bling, or nail charms that will complement their ensemble."
Tina D. Boyd
Creatively Yours Nail Salon by Tina, Baltimore, Md.
"When doing a client’s nails, I always ask what kind of nails she wants, what styles she likes, and I just get to know her as a person first. A lot of clients who are more subtle are pretty set in stone with sticking to simple and subtle nails. What helps me a lot is having my nail art board displayed on my station. Once clients sit in my chair and see what I can do, they start asking how I think it would look on them. Being professional and confident in your work makes them value and trust your opinion. Then of course as you’re putting ideas together, suggest rhinestones, foils, or any other extra add-ons."
Mia Bella Nails, San Antonio, Texas
"I believe one of the main things you need to do when you upsell your clients is tell them the benefits of the add-ons and always insist on package deals with a discount. Everyone always likes to feel like they are getting more for their buck! I like to offer two-for-one deals. Even if the clients are unsure of what they want, insist on setting a price you can accommodate."
Celebrity Studios, Miami
"I specialize in gel nails and gel nail art so I upsell add-on services based on
time and cost of products, which can be expensive. I also base it on the difficulty of the nail art, especially hand-drawn designs. I always offer a client one accent nail even for the client who likes the more simple gel manicure. Almost all my clients leave with one accent nail. Most choose from studs, crystal embellishments, charms, polka dots, etc. An accent nail can range from $3 to up to $10 per nail in addition to my basic gel manicure price. When a client first comes in for a basic gel manicure, I offer her an OPI lemon scrub for an additional $5."
Cgoldnglam Nails, Houston