4 Skills to Selling Salon Products

Happy woman shopping for beauty products at a store or a spa and talking to the saleswoman

Being a hairstylist is fun, exciting and creative. Not only do you have opportunities to make money by giving people the styles that they want, but you also have the opportunity to sell them the products that will help them maintain their fantastic new look. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with salon sales, you are not alone. Let’s take a look at some of the skills you can develop to help increase your sales numbers no matter what kind of salon you are working at.

Skill #1: Timing

Knowing when to pitch a product to a customer is going to be crucial to your success in sales. For example, if the timing of your product offer or suggestion is off, you may find that your customers decline to buy anything or become uneasy. Here are a couple of ways that you can recognize a window of opportunity when you are trying to sell salon products.

Customer States A Hair Goal

Often customers come in wanting a change. This can come in the form of cutting, coloring, or simple maintenance. The reason the appointment was booked can give you some suggestions that may lead you to a salon product sale. Is your client getting a vibrant new color they are excited about? Offer them a salon product that will help lock in their new hues. Do they want an easy, no-hassle haircut that won’t take up too much of their day? Offer them styling products that will make daily styling easier and less time consuming. If the products are helping them toward a goal, they already have it is unlikely they will feel pressured into buying it. Instead it will feel like you are being helpful toward their personal styling ambitions.

Customer Is Having A Hair Challenge

Another reason for a client making an appointment would be that they have encountered some sort of difficulty with their hair or their hairstyle. For example, perhaps they have come to you hoping to enhance their hair growth. Or maybe they also need your help combating heat or chemical damage and they need styling alternatives. The client may have received a bad haircut or poorly applied coloring that you are now tasked with fixing. Whatever the case is, there are products that you should be able to recommend to help boost the health and appearance of damaged, unhealthy hair.

When a Customer Mentions a Celebrity or Trend They Admire

As a hairstylist, keeping up with trends is more than just a leisure activity. It can also help you better engage with your clients and increase your revenue. Being familiar with “what’s hot” and “what’s not” allows you to recognize references without explanation and make helpful suggestions if your client is hoping for that sort of look. Giving them product suggestions that will get them closer to the spotlight looks they admire is a great way to be interactive without being invasive.

Skill #2: Interpersonal Skills

The idea of trying to sell salon products can be intimidating to some people. Not all of us have the smooth conversational skills that naturally lead to higher sales quotas. Regardless, that doesn’t mean you won’t be successful in salon sales. Here are a couple of tips that even those on the shy side will be able to explore.

Plan Ahead

Making a plan might seem silly at first, but it is a great way to break into sales if you have never done it before. If you know what kind of appointments you have booked for the next day, you may want to think about product suggestions and styling advice for your clients. If you don’t know your appointment schedule, or work in a salon with heavy walk-in clientele, then it might be in your best interest to come up with general product pitches. Things such as shampoo and conditioner are products that everyone uses, so you just have to give your drop-in client a good reason to try a new brand.

Ask Good Questions

Knowing what you can about your clients will help guide you toward the best product suggestions for them. For example, you may want to ask a client to tell you the things that they like and don’t like about their hair. This will help you think of products to enhance the qualities they like about their hair while also coming up with product solutions for the things they would like to improve or change. Asking about your client’s lifestyle can also yield a great deal of helpful information.

If your client is constantly pressed for time and always on the go you may want to suggest products and styles that cut down on their daily styling time. If you have a client that lives for social media and enjoys the glamour of hairstyling, you may suggest products that provide color enhancement or a strong hold for complicated styles. Whatever the case is, questions are a good way to get a sense of what products would be most appropriate.

Skill #3: Balance

Engaging with a customer to try and sell them salon products can sometimes be interpreted as being pushy or intrusive. It depends on your approach. Many hairstylists who go exclusively for the hard sell tend to make their clients uncomfortable and even push their clients to another hairstylist. Here are some suggestions on how to balance your sales job and your performance job so your clients are comfortable.

Pay Attention to Reactions

Most of us can tell when things aren’t going well during a sales pitch. Being able to read the room will be a huge benefit throughout your career as a hairstylist. Does your client seem uneasy at your suggestions? Or do they seem receptive and interested? Is your client in a hurry? Or are they more leisurely and conversational? Is your client excited by the way you styled their hair? If so, you can suggest they purchase products you used to style their hair at the salon to take home and use. Paying attention to your client is not only respectful and good social practice, but it can also lead to larger daily totals.

Be Patient

Guilting or coercing someone into buying a product they don’t want is entirely unhelpful. It might seem like an appealing short-term solution, but it is a terrible way to maximize your product sales. Being pushy works about as often as being quiet would because in both cases you are only selling to people who were planning on buying something anyway. Having a good sales record and a dedicated client base doesn’t happen when you make people feel uncomfortable by forcing them to buy something. People are more likely to spend when they are comfortable. Sometimes that can take a couple of appointments. So, don’t give up right away if you’re having a bit of trouble.

Make Sure There Is A “Next Time”

If you can’t get the sale, get the next appointment booked. Even if you aren’t able to sell anything at the initial appointment the next appointment is another opportunity to give it a shot. When there is no follow up appointment secured, you’re out of options to sell anything to that client once they leave the salon. Pushing a sale when it’s not the right time can make you lose clients. So, if you have a client who seems difficult to sell to make sure you get them back in your chair. As was previously mentioned, sometimes it takes time to get to know a client and a few tries to get the sales angle right.

Skill #4: Knowledge of Products

This is an incredibly vital part of your sales strategy. It doesn’t matter if you are naturally good at sales or if you’ve had to make an effort to become a good salesperson. If you are selling products you aren’t intimately familiar with you could end up causing severe and lasting hair damage, not to mention likely losing a customer. If you build a reputation of not knowing what you are talking about or have a track record of recommending harmful products or unethical brands, it is only logical that your career would eventually begin to suffer. In order to avoid being known as a styling idiot or a sales snake here are some things you should know about the products you are trying to sell.

Brand Safety and Ethics

You are going to need to know a bit about the brands that you’re endorsing. What are their products made of? Are there any warnings you should make clients aware of? Does the brand you are selling have any major consumer scandals? How are these products sourced? Are they tested on animals? These are the kinds of things you should know before you are making recommendations for other people. Few things will tank your reputation faster than being associated with or representing a company or product that is harmful.

Product Effectiveness and Industry Reputation

Aside from whether the product is safe you should also be concerned with how well it works. Even if a product is entirely safe and totally ethical it has to actually do the job. Checking product reviews online for certain products can help give you an idea as to whether they are all they’re cracked up to be. You can also ask around the industry for general recommendations and see if the product name comes up. Or you can test the products out yourself when appropriate. This will give you first-hand knowledge of how helpful the product really is.

Alternatives for Those Who Need/Want Them

Things such as allergies, sensitivities and lifestyle preferences will likely come up during product conversations with your clients. People often want to know if a product is vegan or if there is a vegan alternative. Clients also may be chemically sensitive or even allergic to certain product components. These reactions can cause severe discomfort or more serious health damage in some cases. While it’s good to have a go-to brand that you represent and recommend it is also a good idea to have other brands and product options available for these special situations when they arise.

Even if you aren’t a born salesperson there are ways to develop into one. It will take time and practice, but with the right tools and skills you can take your salon job from mediocre to motivational. Utilizing these tips and developing these skills will help you create sales success that lasts.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about the skills to selling salon products interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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