October isn’t necessarily the busiest month for most salons– but rather than view this decreased foot traffic as a problem, I suggest we use this opportunity to build stronger relationships with our existing clients. This month, I’ll discuss the often-overlooked importance of one-on-one interactions.
We all know that people tan for many different reasons, so we try to understand and help our clients achieve their tanning goals. During the busy season, this means we might only have time to ask our clients the most basic questions about their tanning needs. However, when your salon is slower, you have the chance to get to know your clients on a more personal level. This month, I challenge you to talk to each client who comes through your door about something unrelated to tanning in order to build more personal relationships.
For example, you might ask your clients about their work, holiday plans, or maybe even what they did last weekend. These conversations can easily lead to sales! Not only does taking this extra time with your client help you build a rapport, but it also shows them that you care about them as a person. This extra effort shows that you’re interested in more than just selling to them every time they walk into the salon. Building relationships with your clients will foster trust, which means they’re more likely to value your product and service recommendations, and more likely to be loyal to your salon in the future. Investing a little more time and effort when talking to your clients can have a significant impact on your business. If you don’t feel comfortable asking personal questions, try bringing up the unusual weather, mentioning the big sporting event in town, or complimenting a client’s cute handbag. Everyone loves a compliment, and most of us just like to talk; so get a conversation going. Once she feels comfortable talking to you, use the opportunity to ask your client what she’s looking for in a tanning lotion. Learning more about your clients’ lives can also help you make product recommendations that really meet their needs and concerns.
Even if you don’t have time for a personal conversation with each client, I always recommend asking open-ended questions, which are those that can’t be answered by a simple “yes” or “no”. During my in-salon trainings, I see a lot of staff make the mistake of asking questions such as, “Do you have lotion with you today? or, “We’re having a sale – do you want to buy a new lotion?” When asked these closed-ended questions, clients are going to feel like they are being sold to rather than talked to, and this tends to make them shut down. Asking open-ended questions is a much softer approach that makes them feel like you’re genuinely interested in understanding their needs. So, instead of asking, “Do you want to buy new lotion?” ask, “What are you looking for in a lotion?” Answering open-ended questions will get your clients talking about their results and product choices and allows you, the salesperson, to gauge what products or services you should suggest in a way your clients will be more receptive to hearing.
In closing, I think that if we focused more on educating our staff about the importance of open-ended questions to getting a conversation flowing, our client relationships would improve, as well as the level of understanding and trust. Every person who walks into your salon represents a potential sale! Don’t miss those opportunities by asking the wrong questions. Instead, really talk to them and build more personal relationships. Remember: the grass is only greener where you water it.
My advice for the month of October … get personal!
As Director of Brand Development for Devoted Creations’ family of brands, Lisa brings 17 years of industry experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to all aspects of the business, including social media, product development, training, customer relations, public speaking and marketing strategies. Lisa worked at the salon level managing a large chain of salons, which infuses her sales training and brand concepts with real world experience. Lisa has been chosen IST Magazine’s “Person of the Year” four times.
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