Selling Ice to Eskimos: Why Can't Nail Techs Retail?

If these kiosk salespeople can sell three-way buffers, why can't you?

It’s one of the beauty industry’s enduring mysteries: There’s a company that exhibits at most of the major beauty trade shows that has one of the busiest booths on the show floor. It’s usually swarming with salon professionals getting demonstrations of their “revolutionary” product and often buying it. Only the product isn’t revolutionary, and it’s the kind of thing you can get at the next booth over for a fraction of the price. But this company is marketing the product its own way.

’The product is essentially a “kit” that contains a three-way buffer and a half-ounce bottle of cuticle oil. They promise healthy nails and a permanent shine. I’ve had the demo done myself: The booth worker lightly buffs the top of the nail with the high-grit side of a three-way buffer, puts a drop of cuticle oil on the nail bed, then goes to town buffing with a micro-buffer. You do that every day. And not only is the “kit” not worth the $39.95 they’re charging for it (can’t you buy the stuff yourself for about $2?), it isn’t trying to be a scam. The people working the booth are simply selling the benefits of a product that nearly every nail technician already knows works.

Here’s my question: If hairdressers (or whoever they are) are interested in a nice nail buffing and are entranced by the sales pitch of the guys in the kiosk, why aren’t YOU selling them this very thing when you’re in the same salon with them? How much of a pitchman do you have to be to sell a nail buffer to a hairdresser? If it’s as easy as it looks—and it sure looks easy—why can’t you sell buffers and cuticle oil to the nail clients who are already sitting in front of you, paying you for your service, acknowledging your professional expertise?

I have no beef with this exhibitor and I say more power to them. They’re simply selling a product for a high price and nice tidy profit margin at a show where they believe they’ll find interested buyers. Couldn’t nail technicians say the same thing?

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