Business Management

Week 13: Suggestive Selling — Not Pushy, Just Persistent

Suggestive selling is one aspect of merchandising that is often overlooked, yet it can make a tremendous difference in the total retail sales of a salon. It is a proven statistic that close to 40% of clients will say yes when asked by a staff member if they wish to upgrade in size or quantity. There is a fine line to being perceived as pushy or merely suggestive, though.

Suggestive selling is one aspect of merchandising that is often overlooked, yet it can make a tremendous difference in the total retail sales of a salon. It is a proven statistic that close to 40% of clients will say yes when asked by a staff member if they wish to upgrade in size or quantity. There is a fine line to being perceived as pushy or merely suggestive, though.

A good way to assist your staff with suggestive selling is through the creation of simple scripts. Choose two to three products that you wish to feature during a period of time. Write out key features and unique selling points of each of the products and ask the staff to get comfortable with the language you have chosen. If you find this step challenging, your product representative is a great resource to turn to for help with descriptions and sales techniques for the featured products. 

Then require staff members to be sure that each client receives at least one mention per visit. When clients are scheduling their next appointment and paying for their service, this is a wonderful opportunity for your staff to suggest additional product. The “every client gets one mention” is a great way to boost sales of a new product, turn a seasonal item or a product that you are looking to move off the shelves before it is too late.

Many times new products will be endorsed by celebrities. This is a great opportunity to create visual aids that can assist with sales in the form of photos of the said celebrity with their testimonial. It is common knowledge that much of beauty industry sales are driven by celebrity use. The credibility celebrity endorsements offer is staggering and many clients will be more likely to purchase a product used by their favorite musician, actor, or performer. Ask your product representative for any and all press releases and endorsements the product line has. By keeping the celebrity endorsements stored and ready to go, you will have a quick way to do a mid-month merchandising touch-up if you feel the need to switch or change a display.

[Editor’s note: In addition to actual celebrity endorsements (think Brooke Shields and the eyelash treatment Latisse), consumer magazines often run stories on celebrity beauty trends. Rhianna loves bright yellow polish? Awesome. Tear out the trend page from US Weekly and put it up at your station with all those yellow polish bottles you’re retailing. Kate Winslet shares her beauty secrets? Super. Stock up on the lotions and colors she loves and use the page in InStyle to help you sell these products to your clients. NAILS keeps track of professional nail product mentions in all the major consumer beauty and celebrity magazines. Go to our Hot Off the Presses online channel to see what celebrities are wearing and what products beauty editors are talking about. This helps your suggestive selling techniques by giving you something to show your clients. Ahhh, the power of celebrity.]

Suggestive selling may also be accomplished simply by featuring a ‘product of the month’ in a high-visibility area. This technique is great for seasonal specials and time-sensitive products. Cross-merchandising is imperative for your staff members to learn and master. It is a technique that is used with tremendous success by top spas. It is simply the art of matching products together that complement each other. Try using merchandise from different parts of the salon or spa, with the intent to introduce clients to ancillary services as well as products. Displays using this tactic present a wonderful opportunity to introduce clients to other services the spa offers than what they usually visit for. Just like it’s counterpart cross-marketing, cross-merchandising creates opportunities to increase sales while creating loyalty to your salon. It is highly effective and is the suggestive selling technique that can offer a significant reward to your business when applied consistently. 

— Bryan Durocher, Durocher Enterprises 

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Keywords:   2010 Project     recession     retailing  

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