Retailing: Let Them Make Their Own Decisions

By Lisa Marie Arnold,  Salon & Spa Solutions

Every so often I get a “wake-up” comment from a client that I feel is absolutely necessary to share with my other accounts. We can implement systems, RX cards, sample bars, incentives, and product knowledge classes, but it may take a real-life conversation between a client and tech to drive home a huge point.

In this case, the story comes from a non-technician owner who happened to play receptionist for a week while her front-desk employee had time off. (Of course, when it comes to getting retail into the hands of a client, an owner’s motivation is sometimes a bit stronger.) She found that her conversations with the clients, whether trying to recommend a product or close a sale, were surprisingly easy. It was as simple as asking if they needed anything or if their technician had recommended any product. She often discovered they did need the product. What shocked her was how many clients said, “Why didn’t my technician ever talk to me about this product?” or “My tech never said anything about this to me before.”

How many clients leave feeling they did not get a proper recommendation? About two-thirds, according to a national survey I read ages ago (I can’t recall the source). How many clients purchase something for their nails, skin, or hair within 24 hours of a salon visit? Eight out of 10! Do these statistics not teach us anything? Our clients want the recommendation!

Why are we not giving it to them? Is it fear of rejection, fear we are being “pushy,” fear they do not have the money? We need to stop holding onto clients’ purse strings and consider them for the people they are — mature human beings, adults, able to make their own decisions. We have to give them what they deserve — a proper product recommendation — and let them make their own decisions.

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