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The best part about writing this column is that it’s been a platform for me to share what I’ve seen during many years out on the road working with staff at salons just like yours. These inspiring moments just unfolded organically as I worked with tanners alongside salon teams across the country. The best lessons were always just simple moments when I realized that this one little piece of knowledge could potentially propel sales upward for years to come.
While working directly with guests, most teachable moments occur within the broad and sometimes over-generalized subject of “customer service” and “in-store experience.” While many things can affect the in-store experience (e.g. products, prices, store environment, etc.), customer service is always going to be a top factor that impacts not only how tanning salon shoppers perceive your salon, but also how much money they are willing to spend on the products you offer.
Here’s a beautiful lesson I learned a while back as I worked with a team of the most efficient note-takers I ever encountered. By “notetaking,” I mean that in each customer’s profile, they had kept very detailed notes about them, both past and present. Like clockwork, as each tanner was greeted and checked in, the notes were used as a sort of script to help staff customize each and every tanner’s visit.
More than just an exercise in good “customer service” or another sales tool, this is a confidence-boosting, sales secret weapon that every salon should be using!
It was a lotion-seller’s dream come true! With a quick glance, they knew everything they needed to know to help open more sales opportunities at that moment – like a cheat-sheet with exactly what to say to each guest. Info like: where they were headed on vacation, what lotion sample they had tried a week ago and loved. I saw one note in a tanner’s profile that just said “addicted to raspberry lol.” The point is that this salon manager took notetaking to another level and as I worked with the team, I realized they had taken a really simple concept and ran with it.
It became clear that this was taught to each employee, practiced and perfected. Team members greeted each guest as they walked in, took a moment to glance over the notes and then, began to tailor the conversation based on those notes. Then, during the rest of the visit, the team member added to the notes based on the visit results, the guest’s comments, what was purchased, sampled, etc.
By the end of a night working with this team, I realized this was much more than just an exercise in good “customer service” or another sales tool. This was a confidence-boosting, report-building sales secret weapon that every salon should be using!
They say that necessity is the mother of invention and when I asked them why they decided to commit to this extreme notetaking process, they told me it was because the staff were always saying they didn’t know what to say to create conversations with guests, so they figured that the perfect solution was to keep a detailed log that basically tells them how to direct the conversation … and it worked beautifully!
What I love about customer service/experience is that you can create, craft and control it. You may not be able to control the weather, a pandemic or your competitors, but what your team does and says while working with guests is something you surely can control.
David is a National Educator for Sun Evolutions, offering brands including Supre Tan, ProTan, Fiesta Sun and Hempz. He is a face-to-face sales and beauty product fanatic who gauges his success solely on his effectiveness at selling real product to real, live salon guests.
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