There’s a gold mine of product sales and marketing assistance out there… all you have to do is pick up the phone and call your favorite “Road Warrior!”
The educators at many top tanning product manufacturers have a wealth of product and sales knowledge that they’re willing to share with you. They’re often called the “road warriors” of the tanning industry because all year long this merry band of marketing gurus travels to salons and various tanning events to help salon owners and their staff learn how to sell more products, memberships and sessions. If you’re interested in this kind of assistance, all you have to do is get in touch with any of the people featured in this story.
But what if you don’t know any of these road warriors? That’s okay… a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
This feature will introduce you to some of the traveling trainers responsible for educating hundreds of salon pros. Not only will you get to know a little bit about them, you’ll also learn about their unique approaches to training and even gain a tip or two designed to help you improve the way you’re doing business right now! Once you get to know these folks, we encourage you to reach out to them and arrange for your training soon, because valuable help like this is definitely in high demand!
So, without any further ado, let’s greet the gurus!
Company: Devoted Creations / Ed Hardy TanningTitle: National Sales TrainerYears “on the road”: 1.5
Kayla Brodie’s previous experience as a tanning salon manager equipped her with the right tools to train today’s salon staff.
When it comes to training, Kayla says she likes to keep it real. “Instead of just shoving my lotion facts down their throats, I make my presentations as fun as they are informative,” she said. “When I leave, I want to know that I’ve met the staffs’ needs, filled their brains with selling techniques and got them pumped up about Devoted Creations! I’m proud to say that many salon owners have been in touch with me after a month or two to say that their lotion sales have significantly increased after training.”
The best way to prepare a salon’s staff, Kayla says, is to teach them to succeed in real-life situations they’ll typically face while behind the counter. “Objections are something salon employees deal with every day when pitching lotion to a customer,” she said. “One thing I love to stress is having a good solid comeback for every ‘I-don’t-need-lotion’ excuse. For example, if you see a customer already has a tanning lotion that they recently purchased, suggest a facial product or moisturizer. It works almost every time!”
When it comes to sales strategies, Kayla reminds salon owners that their lotion display plays a huge part in retail sales success. “If you have products displayed on multiple shelves, put the high-end items on the middle shelf, right at eye level, because that’s where people will look first,” she said. “If your shelf space is limited, place the products in order from high-end to value-priced to allow customers to easily visualize their options. Both of these techniques have proven to be very effective at many salons.”
Spending an average of 200 days on the road causes Kayla to miss her partner, Abby. “It’s a good thing I love Devoted Creations so much!” she exclaimed.
Company: Devoted Creations / Ed Hardy TanningTitle: National Sales TrainerYears “on the road”: 1
When Kandra Covert trains salon professionals, she leaves them with the same healthy sense of confidence that she brings to her job.
When it comes to training, Kandra prides herself on the strength she believes all the “Real Trainers of Devoted Creations” have. “We’ve all worked in high-volume salons, so we can relate to the salon staff we train, and we use real-life situations to help them overcome obstacles,” she said. “In addition, we all bring something different to our trainings and I seem to be remembered as the funny one who likes to have a good time. I will never give up my title!”
Kandra says it’s extremely rewarding to receive an email, text or Facebook message from someone who attended one of her sessions that says how much they benefitted from it. “I love hearing how my training has made an impact on someone and that the owner overhears her staff quoting things I said during the session,” she said. “It makes me feel that I am doing my job well and that I deliver a special message to salon staff.”
When Kandra gives sales and marketing advice, she often keeps it to three simple words – events, events, events. “Customers love events!” she exclaimed. “When you promote things such as free-tanning weekends, free upgrade days and half-off sales, it draws clientele that haven’t visited your store, along with your best customers. Salons enrolled in our Five Star Diamond program receive a promotional kit filled with things to help make these types of events memorable and successful.”
Spending about 150 days on the road in one year, Kandra often gets asked what she misses most. “It’s a huge tie between my bed, my dog, my friends and Florida weather,” she said, “but when I’m home, I miss my bed being made for me and having an unlimited supply of clean towels!”
Company: Sunless, Inc.Title: Education Specialist / SIDES Team Member(Sunless, Inc. Development Education & SupportYears “on the road”: 2
A sunless airbrush technician herself, Jill Frank is the perfect person to lead any salon team.
When it comes to salon training, Jill says her approach is similar to the way a coach leads a team. “First,” she said, “I help develop competency and a comfort with the sunless equipment, application methods and products. Then, we begin the process of building their sunless clientele with special events, product launches and promotions. Finally, we grow sunless revenue with ongoing support through weekly webinars and fun contests to keep the staff engaged and inspired.”
Jill’s experience as a spray-tanning businesswoman provides her with a unique insight on operating a successful sunless business. “I establish relationships with our clients and work alongside them to help them reach their goals,” she said. “Over the last few months, I’ve worked with several of our sunless partners to help grow their retail businesses by creating contests to run in their salons. The results have been better than expected, with the participants doubling their previous sunless retail sales in less than a month!”
Jill has a promotion concept that any salon can easily implement – all that’s needed is a $20 bill. “I call it ‘Pass The Buck$’ and it’s designed to increase sales of whatever product, session or membership the owner chooses,” she said. “When a team member sells one, they pocket the $20, and when the next employee sells two, they take the $20, and the one who sells three then gets control of it and so on. The person with the $20 in her pocket at the end of the shift gets to take it home!”
Spending about 50 days per year on the go, Jill looks forward to coming back home at the end of her training cycle. “I usually expend a lot of energy while traveling so I miss the quiet time at home that allows me to re-charge,” she said.
Company: Heartland Tanning, Inc.Title: Pura Sunless TrainerYears “on the road”: 6
As a former salon manager, Loren Groom brings knowledge, experience and passion to all her training sessions.
To Loren, being a “guru on the go” means being a leader, and she believes in leading by example. “A truly fabulous trainer always walks the walk,” she said, “so I exhibit the behavior that I want to see from my trainees in hopes that they will model this same behavior toward their clients. I also cater to the salon’s individuality and the vibe it projects by creating a comfortable, visual, engaging and entertaining environment for all trainees.”
When she’s training salon staff, Loren applies all of what she’s learned from working in a tanning salon, herself. “Customer service is key!” she exclaimed. “For example, when delivering a sunless spray tan, it’s crucial to walk clients through proper skin preparation. By taking the time to educate them on how to prepare for a spray-tan and how to care for it afterward, they’ll get the best results from the experience and become loyal clients.”
Loren encourages salon owners and their staff to get creative while interacting with clients. “One thing I do is work with them to create different specials they can offer each day of the week,” she said. “For example, there’s ‘Tantrick Tuesday,’ ‘Skin Thirsty Thursday,’ ‘Fake It Friday,’ ‘Simply Pura Saturday’ and ‘Sunday Funday.’ I suggest offering a special on all sunless services and include complementary treats and goodies.”
When not at work, Loren lives a full life that makes for many things to think about while she’s on the go. “I miss spoiling my new Great Dane puppy and my cat, date nights with my man and game nights with my girls,” she said. “I also miss spending time with family and friends and, most importantly, my own bed!”
Company: Sunless, Inc.Title: Education Specialist / Sunless, Inc. Development,Education & Support (SIDES)Years “on the road”: 4.5
A former tanning salon manager and lover of sunless products, Lauren Hall knows how to make a salon’s sunless sales skyrocket!
An Education Specialist for the Sunless Inc. Development, Education and Support (SIDES) team, Lauren Hall spends about 50 days on the road each year. “I’m a product junkie and I’m passionate about sunless,” said Lauren. “This comes across in my upbeat, enthusiastic and hands-on training approach. I love to interact with my audience and give them the chance to smell, touch and experience the products because this teaches them to offer that opportunity to their clients. This is an important part of the sales process.”
With three years’ experience as a salon manager, Lauren knows how to motivate tanning professionals. “After my training, I enjoy setting up the staff with a 30-day contest to continue the momentum,” she explained. “This year, I worked with a 10-store chain and the owner wanted to increase sunless retail sales numbers. In 30 days, the chain increased its sunless retail revenue by 700 percent, generating more than $8,000 in profits!”
When it comes to increasing product and membership sales and community awareness for a salon, Lauren has many tips. “If you’re located near a university or college, try partnering with the Greek organizations to offer a sunless event at your salon,” she said. “Donate a percentage of the proceeds to the sorority’s chosen charities and in turn, the chapter will wear your salon logo T-shirt on campus. This is a great way to give back to the community and a low-cost way to advertise to a large group of future clients.”
While she loves her job, there is something this guru misses when she’s on the go. “When I’m traveling, I miss my one-year-old son Nolan, my wonderful husband and two fur babies,” she said. “They are my world!”
Company: Sunless, Inc.Title: Education Specialist / Sunless, Inc. Development,Education & Support (SIDES)Years “on the road”: 2
For sunless tanning trainer Michele Hynes, experience truly is the best teacher.
A salon owner for more than 12 years, Michele understands what tanning professionals face each day. “Three of my family members are also in the industry and we have a lot of discussions about what works when it comes to sales and marketing,” she said. “My salon clients appreciate that I understand what they’re going through and that I can share so many of my experiences with them.”
Since each salon is looking for different outcomes, Michele approaches each training session individually. “I ask a lot of questions beforehand so I can tailor it in a way that will help salon professionals learn new and interesting sales techniques,” she said. “The most important thing is for them to use the products and the equipment so they can sell from their personal experience. As a member of the SIDES team, I also help offer weekly Webinars and help our customers with special event support.”
One particular marketing promotion Michele recommends is called ‘Try It Then Buy It’. “This is great for salons because it’s easy to implement and very effective,” she said. “For every client who purchases a packette, deduct the price of that packette when they come back to purchase the full-size product. One of my clients implemented this and other strategies we provided and in just six months, he raised his monthly session count per salon from 22 to 202 a month. He’s since opened a fourth location and continues to grow his customer base and session counts.”
Being on the go makes Michele think of her family, whom she describes as being big and close. “The hardest thing for me is to be away from all of them,” she said.
Company: Supre Tan / HempzTitle: Senior Training SpecialistYears “on the road”: 5
During a typical training session with John P. Johnson, salon professionals will laugh, joke and have a blast, and gain a better understanding of sales and marketing techniques.
John has a lot of passion for the tanning industry and his job, and that’s no surprise – in 2012 alone, he travelled 285 days and trained 950 salons! “I want to do more because we have so much more to offer!” he exclaimed. “Not only do we educate staff about our incredible formulations, we go far beyond and help with sales, marketing and customer service. I have a passion for what we do and I want to pass that along to this industry; if I can help a single salon owner or employee to be better than they were before we met, that’s what matters.”
As far as John is concerned, customer loyalty is far more valuable than customer satisfaction. “To keep their businesses growing, salon professionals need to inspire loyalty,” he said. “Because of this, I approach each training session from the perspective of the client and remind salon staff what it’s like to be the consumer. I tell them that if they listen and empathize with their clients, they can go above and beyond customer expectations to gain client loyalty and increase business.”
With all time he spends on the road, it’s easy to see that John is one guru who likes being on the go. “This is where I belong, so I consider my traveling a true labor of love,” he explained. “I have made new friends and grown a larger family, so I am blessed to be able to see them throughout the year. Of course, if my kitty, Tate, were with me, I might be a tad happier, but she gets her pampering when I’m home.”
Company: Devoted CreationsTitle: National Sales TrainerYears “on the road”: 7 months
Having practically grown up behind the tanning salon counter, it’s no surprise that Courtney Lorraine is now helping salon professionals across the country.
Prior to becoming a “guru on the go,” Courtney specialized in tanning lotion sales for ten years. The things she learned about customer service in that time are invaluable, and she freely shares that expertise with salon pros. “I like to provide tips on how to connect with the tanners to give them exactly what they need so that they have a great experience,” she said. “I’ve had numerous emails from salons saying that my advice on connecting with customers has made a tremendous difference in their sales. That’s the best feeling!”
Like her fellow “Real Trainers of Devoted Creations,” Courtney also enjoys making her sessions fun. “I want to help salon owners and their staff learn all the things that make their customers happy in a way they can relate to,” she said. “To do that, I always share my experiences and funny stories from my years working in tanning salons, which really seems to help attendees get involved. I also ask for their opinions and get feedback so I can make each session really personal.” Courtney also stresses the importance of professionalism and training for salon staff, and highly recommends the Sun is Life® Certification program.
To do business these days means doing it in a digital world, which is why Courtney recommends her salon clients take advantage of everything that world has to offer. “Using social media to your advantage is key,” she said. “I recommend posting specials on Facebook and Twitter because it can reach hundreds of clients at one time, and it’s free!”
While Courtney won’t know how many days she spends on the road in a year until 2014, she knows who she misses the most when she’s gone. “My family and friends, my cats and my amazing boyfriend,” she said.
Company: New Sunshine LLCTitle: Sales TrainerYears “on the road”: 5 months
As the newest addition to New Sunshine’s training team, Jessica McLean brings fun and enthusiasm, as well as experience to her job.
Jessica has worked at a tanning salon for eight years and she’s found this experience comes in handy in her new career as a salon trainer. “I’m up-to-date with what’s happening in salons,” said Jessica. “I know what customers, employees and owners want, need and experience on a day-to-day basis and I love talking about the scenarios that occur in salons. People get so excited because I’m able to hit home on so many things that they experience.”
Having a keen ability to connect with people, Jessica approaches her training sessions as open discussions. “My personal mission is to breathe excitement into people,” she said. “You can offer product training all day, but if you don’t make a connection and motivate your audience, you’ve only completed a small portion of your job. I know that every time I host a session, I’ve made an impact and everyone learned something; I see it in their faces!”
When promoting a tanning salon, Jessica says a picture is worth a thousand words. “In addition to using Facebook and Twitter, I encourage clients to use Instagram. Take creative photos of your staff working, spray-tans in action, or even the lotions and products you carry so it’s all in one album that clients and potential clients can view anytime.”
Since joining New Sunshine, Jessica has travelled 55 days in the past five months. “I’ve truly learned what it means to miss someone, but distance makes the heart grow fonder,” she said. “Being on the road is super thrilling because I love to travel, but it’s also exciting to anticipate going home.”
Company: Devoted Creations / Ed Hardy TanningTitle: National Sales TrainerYears “on the road”: 6
Six years ago, Lisa Parsons became a guru on the go and she hasn’t stopped since!
As a traveling trainer, Lisa is one of the industry’s most well-known and beloved because she can relate to her audiences. “I started as a bed cleaner, then became a salon salesperson and eventually moved up to manager and district manager,” she said. “Because of this, I have experience in every aspect of day-to-day salon duties. This helps me relate to owners and staff and offer suggestions for improvement in a way that they will understand.”
When talking with salon pros, Lisa keeps things fun and interactive. “I try to teach in a way that the salon staff will enjoy, get excited about what they are learning and also retain,” she explained. “My main goal is for everyone to be able to go back to their salon and utilize our sales tips and training techniques to be more successful. The most rewarding part of the training comes maybe a week or even a month later, when the salon owner or manger calls me and tells me how much their sales have increased since their training session.”
Lisa believes that word-of-mouth is great advertising and she gives her salon clients ways to increase it. “Referral cards are the best!” she exclaimed. “Include an offer for a free week of level-one tanning for first-time customers and put the cards everywhere – have your customers and staff pass them out to their friends. Telling your tanners they’ll get a free upgrade session if their friends come in and redeem a card will bring many new people through your doors.”
Company: Aviva LabsTitle: National Business AdviserYears “on the road”: 4
Reach them, teach them and save them money while helping them earn more – that’s Brian Petersen’s approach to salon staff training.
If asked to describe his training method in just one word, Brian knows exactly what that word would be. “Fun!” he said. “I believe the key to a great training session relies on your ability to engage the attendees. If the atmosphere is light and fun, the learning process becomes much easier and much more rewarding.”
For Brian, training involves meeting diverse, intelligent and interesting people and identifying their learning styles. “I make sure each attendee learns as much as possible,” he said. “That, combined with my passion for this business helps me to teach people spray-tan technique and how to be successful with it. To this day, I continue to receive a large number of happy ‘thank yous’ from many of my trainees.”
“A penny saved is a penny earned” is an adage Brian urges tanning pros to apply to their marketing and promotional campaigns. “There are many ways a salon operator can market their business that cost next to nothing,” he said. “I encourage everyone to focus on these areas first before venturing out into more costly strategies. Whether it’s a tanning salon, hair salon, spa or mobile spray-tanning business, many of the people I’ve trained have used these proven and affordable tips to increase their business revenue.”
When he’s traveling about 50 days a year, Brian misses his daughter. “Even when I go for a day, just knowing that she’s a state away tugs at me,” he said. “I bring her back a souvenir from each trip, although I think the novelty of some of the city-named mementos might be wearing off. After all, there are only so many New York City hats, shirts and other things that a girl can use!”
Company: California TanTitle: Sunless Marketing ManagerYears “on the road”: 1
A lover of all tanning methods, Ashley Wottring makes her spray-tan training sessions fun, enjoyable and easy to learn.
As California Tan’s Sunless Marketing Manager, Ashley hosts one to two Doctorate of Sunless certifications per month in salons across the country. “Since our program focuses on technology and chemistry, it can be a bit dry if the trainer only refers to the manual,” she said. “By joking and interacting with attendees, I always make my presentation a really fun experience. I also incorporate ‘fun facts,’ tips and techniques that salon pros can only learn from our advanced program.”
Understanding the way she and many other people learn best, Ashley incorporates visual elements into her training. “I’ve added several diagrams featuring everything from beginner spray-tan application with a hand-held device to advanced contouring on different body shapes,” she said. “This will be a big benefit to other visual learners, while also giving attendees something valuable to share with their coworkers. We’ve recently uploaded an instructional video on simple spray-tan and contouring techniques to YouTube, and it can be found by searching for ‘California Tan Lotion.’”
A self-confessed “double-dipper” – someone who loves to combine sunless and UV tanning – Ashley knows what it takes to get the best results from both. “The benefit of a Color Maximizer Prep Spray is important for a salon spray session and as a retail add-on product,” she explained. “The salon prep spray helps the solution dry quickly, while the at-home version helps the DHA to penetrate the skin. Both are necessary for helping your clients keep that gorgeous glow.”
When she’s traveling, Ashley misses her co-workers back at New Sunshine because they’re the ones who give her the scoop on the company’s latest products. “Fortunately, the research and development group is willing to send me samples when I’m on the road!” she exclaimed.
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
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helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
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