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This is one of the most powerful phrases ever used in the world of beauty products sales!
In this new day of social distancing and self-quarantining, to say that the retail beauty business has changed would certainly be an understatement. Curbside order pick-up and delivery, even FB live infomercials that look like Home Shopping Network with regular salon staff and managers becoming online product sales hostesses … yep, a lot has changed! But no matter how many platforms you utilize to sell products, one thing will never change: “FREE” is always one of the most powerful marketing and sales tools in your salon!
I call it the most powerful secret weapon we have at our disposal to increase beauty product sales. Once a guest falls in love with a fragrance or how a product feels when they try it, the question is no longer IF they will buy it, but WHEN. The FREE method works in every beauty business in every country with almost every type of customer, yet I don’t see it used in tanning salons as much as one would think!
1. Establish a stockpile of freebies. Most manufacturers make this pretty easy and cost effective. They all offer monthly special offers such as purchase a bottle/tube of a product and receive a number of free packets with it. Designate some of those for open stock and some for your free sample stash.
2. When do you offer the samples to your guests? It should become part of the sales process when you make product suggestions, or even offered with products you might be featuring that day or week.
3. How do you do it? When I work a salon sales counter, I literally dangle these little packet gems right in front of the guest and ask, “I have a free sample for you – do you want to try it?” Of course, they all say “yes” but I make them work for it. You will be surprised how even the guest who is typically in a rush will slow down to get a free sample. That extra attention you pay to them is very effective. I also make sure I tell them about any current special deals they may be able to use.
Bonus Tip: Make sure the MSRP is on the sample so the guest knows the value of the free item!
4. You gave them a free sample … what’s next? After they have listened to your quick pitch about how great the product is, hand it to them – but I always at this point say, “the only favor I ask is that on your way out today, you give us a full review of the product.” This gives us even more opportunities to close the sale and more information about what the guest likes and doesn’t like for future sales!
5. Document everything! Salon customers have short memories, so you have to note all of this sales interaction in your database notes. If you don’t, it’s like it never happened! You don’t have to write a novel. Example: Ann tried a sample of ABC and loved the fragrance. She wants to buy when she’s out of current. Free sampling creates many future sales opportunities and good notes help make sure you don’t miss those opportunities.
Put the power of FREE to work in your salon and watch sales soar!
David McFarland is a National Educator for Sun Evolutions, offering brands including Supre Tan, ProTan, Fiesta Sun and Playboy. 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 customers.
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