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They’re wearing no make-up – by choice. At times, they are adorned in a mish-mash of hamper-salvaged garments that would make a Walmart greeter cringe. They are callously aware of the consequences of being spotted by a nosey neighbor, a jealous co-worker or an insignificant ex.
And yet, several times each week, your devoted customers joyfully thrust themselves “au naturale” into the ebb-and-flow of the general population and confidently trek their way toward your salon.
A bit melodramatic? Perhaps. However, I’m simply pulling back the curtain to reveal the unique business environment that has been so effectively staged within your salon … and the fantastic selling opportunities that abound there.
For the majority of your salon guests, the business you operate provides sanctuary from the rat-race of everyday life. You offer a welcome respite from the cold world outside. Within the walls of your salon, they can let down their hair (literally), and have time to catch their breath while basking in the soothing warmth of their own private oasis.
They also realize (per your expert instruction) that to obtain the best results from UV-tanning, spray-tanning, red-light and wellness pod sessions, etc., they should wear as little make-up as possible and dress comfortably. And, it’s this freedom from inhibition that has created the ultimate environment – and the opportunity – for effortlessly selling a select variety of health, wellness and beauty products to your guests.
I recently had a casual discussion of evolving business trends with Craig Johnson, the co-owner of the successful, 22-store Celebrity Tanning salon chain (Phoenix, AZ area), when he made a passing, yet highly profound statement that caught my attention and provided the basis for this article.
Recently, Craig and his father, Mike (co-owner), had made the decision to expand their business model by adding more health, wellness and spa-related products to their menu of services. While he was explaining the coming additions to his staff, Craig asked them to think about the many different types of customers that Celebrity Tanning salons attract. They concluded that, like most salons, the majority of customers are female (65%) and range in age from 18-79, with a majority in the 29-49 age group. And this group included the typical array of soccer moms, students, blue collar workers, professionals, etc.
He then asked his team, “Why do you think Celebrity Tanning has been able to attract and keep hundreds of thousands customers during our 30+ years in business?” Many employees were quick to respond with great answers such as, “we offer the best equipment” and “we have great locations and a fantastic staff.”
Craig then pointed out that, while these things are true, there is a powerful, albeit “intangible” reason why Celebrity Tanning has so many loyal and satisfied customers:
“They feel comfortable coming here!” Craig exclaimed.
“Yes, we feature the best equipment. Yes, we have wonderful, friendly and professional employees,” he added. “And, yes, we keep our salons spotlessly clean. Collectively, it is all of these things that contribute to creating the enjoyable and comfortable atmosphere and experience you get every time at Celebrity Tanning,” Craig concluded.
As our conversation continued, Craig then brought it all home by explaining the financial benefits that can be reaped by creating such a “comfortable” buying and selling environment.
“There are many products such as weight-loss supplements, anti-aging serums, etc. that people just aren’t comfortable purchasing at the local drug or department store,” he explained. “And while their favorite tanning salon is an oasis for self-improvement and relaxation, it also provides a very customer-friendly environment for purchasing these select products.”
Craig’s comments reminded me of a statement I made in response to a question that was posed during a panel discussion at an industry trade show. The question was: “What are the top-selling lotions in the industry today?” While responses from the panel members named several of the high-quality, celebrity-endorsed lotion brands, I threw a bit of a curve ball when I offered, “the best-selling lotion in your salon is … whatever YOU want it to be!”
My point is that your salon guests trust your guidance, direction and product knowledge. They expect your shelves to be stocked with only the best products available. And it is within the comfortable confines of the salon where we have both a captive and receptive audience, that we should broaden our horizons and maximize every sales opportunity.
Let’s face it – tanning salons attract many of the most appearance-conscious consumers in the world. It only makes sense to offer them products and services that will help them to look good and feel good! The bottom line: they are already buying these products … why not buy them from YOU! ν
It is within the comfortable confines of the salon, where we have both a captive and receptive audience, that we should maximize every sales opportunity.
About the Author:
Jerry Deveney is Director of Business Development for IST Magazine. With more than 30 years of hands-on experience working with tanning salons, beauty salons, health clubs and spas, he has helped thousands of people own and operate successful businesses. His extensive market research became the foundation for thousands of business plans and inspired his book, Sun Business.
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