Q&A

Dear Shari: How do I convert acrylic clients to gels?

Q.

In my area, acrylic nails are more popular. I would like to do gels and am wondering how to convert acrylic clients to gels. Sincerely, A Gel Fan

A.

Dear Gel Fan:

It can be difficult to get women to give up their old acrylic nails. Some clients just don’t want to change. Maybe they had a bad experience with other products or just don’t expect perfection from their nails. Be careful when converting happy acrylic wearers — it could turn around and bite you. Just keep in mind the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That said, I have hooked life-long clients who had adhesion problems or a sensitivity to acrylic by introducing them to gels.

Here is your game plan:

Step 1: Educate unhappy acrylic wearers as well as long-time acrylic wearers that other products are available.

Step 2: Broaden your service menu by adding gels, not by replacing acrylic. Gels and acrylic nails can live happily together, and should be used to accommodate your customers’ individual needs. Use your new service to beat the competition and put new customers into your chair. Here is a list of ways to promote your new baby:

> Wear them. This is a must! What does a customer do the entire time you’re doing their nails? They watch your hands, and if your hands look fabulous, you’re going to sell the product.

> Talk about it. If you’re excited and believe in the product, your customers will be more likely to give it a try.

> Use visual aids. Take a snapshot of all the people who have tried them. Display the happy faces for everyone to see. Make it fun — consider a drawing for a free service or gift basket.

> For customers who aren’t sure or just don’t handle change well, offer one free gel nail so they can see for themselves.

> Give a deal on the soak-off of the old acrylic set if they try a set of gels. Your profit will be made on the repeat business, not on the soaking-off process.

> Run ads, send out direct mail material, hand out fliers. If you have a limited advertising budget, concentrate on word-of-mouth. I have landed my best clients from word-of-mouth, not from a newspaper ad.

Veteran nail tech Shari Finger — owner of Finger’s Nail Studio in W. Dundee, Ill. — fields reader questions in the areas of salon management and workplace politics.

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