Editor’s note: This is the third installment in a series of articles that are a collaborative effort between Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice president of OPI Products, and the staff a Secrets Salon in Long Beach, Calif. NAILS has been following the salon since it began OPI’s The Edge business training program. Previous articles are in the April and July issues.

How many times does a great idea come up in a meeting then it never gets carried out? Without ongoing communication in a salon, it’s hard to keep any program working. We’ve found that the monthly status meetings we have with the Secrets Salon staff (and sometimes with a NAILS editor) are critical to helping us achieve the goals we set out to accomplish in April: building a retail business, increasing the client base, and increasing productivity through time management and organizational skills.

It’s easy to assume that “everyone knows what’s going on” in a salon because you talk every day or your salon is actually laid out in a way that facilitates open communication (like ours is). But salon meetings give necessary structure to the communication, keep everyone on their deadlines, promote accountability (you don’t want to have to admit in front of everyone that you haven’t done an assignment they all heard you get), and, not the least, they promote camaraderie among the staff.

At a recent monthly meeting one of the technicians at Secrets admitted she felt too shy to “sell” retail products to her clients. But because she brought it up in the group, others admitted their occasional hesitance and we worked out some strategies together. With a little coaching from OPI’s Southern California regional manager Nadine Galli, the tech learned about prescriptive selling, and made nine sales the following day.

Prescriptive selling means simply recommending a product to a client, either to maintain the health or look of her nails. View retailing as another service you offer, not selling or taking advantage of a client. Said the tech of her victory, “It was much easier than I thought. I simply set the featured product on my table and made a point of mentioning it to every client I saw that day.”

Having fun is as an important element of salon meetings as sharing information and training. Explains Galli, “Each meeting usually lasts about two hours and is always held at a nearby favorite restaurant. We share food, talk about our progress and our challenges, and then set new goals.” Cheryl McCowan, who’s the “team leader” of the year-long business makeover program, says, “We make the most progress immediately after each meeting, when motivation is high and we’re clear on our objectives. The important thing is to set individual goals that are attainable, and then help hold each other accountable.”

At one recent meeting, the staff at Secrets set specific retail goals based on the number of clients each tech sees on a weekly basis. The Edge teaches that attaching real numbers to a goal allows you to benchmark and measure your progress. It’s very satisfying to see what you’re capable of.

Besides regular meetings for productive communication there are other ways to communicate that salon teams can use between meetings or in addition to meetings. Using a bulletin board (out of clients’ eyesight, though) for notices works; some salons do newsletters, which they even modify and send to clients.

The point is that setting goals is one thing, but continuing the cycle of communication is vital to your success. It’s normal for enthusiasm to fade with time, but when a team communicates regularly, in whatever method, they help each other achieve both individual and overall business goals.

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