Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Setting Goals and Sticking To Them!

Soon the holiday decorations will be put away and the new year will be upon us. Many of us will start diving into our resolutions with a passionate cry that this year I will stick with my goals! Wait didn’t we say that last year….and the year before that… and the year before that. You get my point. Sticking to new goals is a challenge. Here are some ways to set appropriate goals and successfully accomplish them!

Define the Goals
- Create a clear definition of what your goal is.
- Be clear on the “why” of the goal which is your motivation.
- If you have more than one goal, group them into categories
- Tackling too many goals is a recipe for failure. Stick to a few key goals.

The Road Map
- A critial step is defining the how-to with monthly, daily, weekly steps.
- Put each step on a calendar to keep it top of mind and direct a clear path.

Celebrate the Wins
- Encouragement along the way keeps you engaged to accomplish your goals.
- Changing isn’t all or nothing. Celebrate victories with small rewards.

Evaluation – Practice not Perfection
- Put check-ins on the calendar to review progress
- Reviewing will drive more meaning to the goal and redirect efforts if needed.
- Each quarter ask questions such as - is the goal still relevant, how would you grade your progress, can you do other things to improve?

Example Goals
- Business Goal:
Define - grow retail sales by 5%
Motivation - a more profitable business
Map - create monthly retail sales promotion with help of sales team
Evaluation - monthly review of sales results,what worked what didn't
Celebration - quarterly catered lunch, bonus at year end if achieve goal

- Health Goal:
Define - Reach my goal weight of 150 lbs
Motivation - a healthier me to be active and live longer
Map - sign up and calendar an exercise class and attend 3 days a week
Evaluation - monthly weigh in and review of efforts
Celebration - quarterly get new shoes, year end a full spa day

Remember that life is about the journey. You will learn, you will fall, and you will grow– with focused intention, a plan, and self awareness you can stick with those goals and make them happen!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ask Questions to Close the Sale!

Adding value to your clients experience is the key to ringing up sales these days. Customers want to feel they are getting the most bang for their buck before parting with their hard earned cash. The product and service knowledge your staff have is a valuable asset your business that can provide is free of charge! Educating clients as a trusted advisor works in concert with providing the right service and products to meet clients needs.

Sample Questions to Ask Clients

* What is your biggest hair/skin/body challenge?

* What results are you trying to achieve?

* What styling/skin/body products have you used in the past?

* What did you like and what didn't you like about those products?

These answers will clue you in on services and retail product recommendations to meet the client's desired goals in a non-pushy but value-adding atomsphere.

Tips for Maximizing These Conversations

* Train staff to get the customers talking by engaging in relationship building discussions.

* Listen and truly hear what the client is (or isn't saying) can also help understand their expectations.

* Avoid stereotypes and preconceived notions of what the client wants and be open to what they want.

Understanding the client's needs, wishes, and pain points will drive better recommendations that meet the clients expectations. By giving clients what they want and solving there concerns, you will build trust with that customer and, in turn, sell more services and retail products!

Please share any additional questions that work well for your customer consultations. We all need to maximize every selling opportunity!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maximize your Seasonal Sales

Do you hear those sleigh bells ringing? It should be the jingle of your cash register ringing up those holiday sales. Now is the time to create your holiday plan to make the most of your seasonal sales!

Gift Cards
The #1 retail gift of the season - gift cards. They are easy to buy, easy to give, and they let the recipient pick the gift they would like. Use store signage to make clients aware of your gift cards. Create a retail display by your check out areas. Make it a no-brainer by including the gift card packaging. Learn more on the power of gift cards in a previous posting.

Ready-To-Go Gifts

Making gift giving easy will drive more sales. Create gift sets in a variety of price points to fit any budget. You can packaging them in cello bags, vinyl bags, or even holiday shoppers tied with a bow. Use signage to call out “Holiday Gift Center” to plant the seed that you offer the perfect gift. All clients have to do is walk the gift to the front counter and pop it under the tree.

Stocking Stuffers

Good things can come in small packages. In your gift center, add smaller items such as lip gloss, travel size hair or skin care products, music, or local vendors coffee or candy. Offer in a variety of price points to increase sales potential. These little items can add high margin to your business and be that perfect little gift.

Gifts that Keeping Giving

This season many clients have limited holiday gift budgets and are looking for value. Your business offers gifts that keep giving through out the year by providing beauty and wellness. Service packages for 3 – 6 – 9 – 12 months would make ideal gifts providing value long after the wrapping paper is gone. Professional hair and skin products get daily use and offer the recipient a luxurious experience.

Share these tips with your staff and check in weekly on progress and inventory status. You don’t want to miss out on a sales opportunity by running out of gift cards or popular retail items. Don't delay, prepare for a profitable holiday season today!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Using Social Media for your Business

Do you tweet... like… blog…+1? Social media is a new world (and language)for many business owners. By now many of us have put our toe in the water by opening a Facebook fan page or Twitter account. Some of you may have a good following with loyal customers and brand enthusiasts engaged in your messages. Then I get the question now what? Many businesses hit the wall with what to share to keep their readers engaged. Here are some tips to help keep your social media followers coming back for more and to streamline your social media time investment.

What to Post
* Ask questions! Just posting bland facts or your latest promotion can get stale. Try engaging your followers by asking their opinions. Poll them on their favorite product, service, or latest trend then share the results.

* Don’t just post a link when promoting a website update, a promotion, or new blog. Explain the content and give the “why” for their click through.

* Instead of talking just about what you are doing (the latest lunch order, coffee, or weather) talk about what is currently interesting you. If you were wowed by the latest red carpet fashion, then talk it up. You can even tie it back into your business showcasing your products or services to recreate your favorite looks.

* Promote others. Don’t just focus on you and your business. Talk about your friends and followers to share their good news. Connecting with others is what social networking is all about.

Stay Sane in the Social Media overload
* You do not need to read every tweet, posting, blog - talk about overload! UGGGH! There is too much out there and who has the time. There are many tools to help. I recommend free tools such as Tweetdeck or HootSuite that organizes your followers and allows you search for key words to zero in on important stuff and weed out the rest.

* Use Direct messages to keep conversations private or if you feel there is no need to broadcast the message to the world.

* Some sites and tools allow you to schedule your posts. This way you can plot out your days or weeks key posts - then set it and forget it. Monitor as you can and respond as needed but no need to be a slave the updates and posts!

Social media can help your business stay connected with your customers, increase their engagement, and potentially grow your business. The key is to have a social media strategy and relax – this is a fun and exciting way to market your business!

Have other tips to share? Please post your thoughts below! Happy tweeting, posting, blogging and beyond!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Retail Products - Your Insurance Policy

We constantly hear that beauty professionals loath being a salesperson. Their focus is on their craft and pleasing the client. It can be uncomfortable forcing retail products on customers or using hard sell tactics. Here is an easy way to help re-frame this line of thinking and get your staff motivated to sell more retail!

We all have some type of insurance. From auto, health, home and beyond we purchase insurance as a safety net to protect ourselves and our property. Use this idea to shift the attitude of your team towards selling retail products. Your staff is made up of highly train professionals. Their clients are investing in services to look and feel their best. These services can be expensive( color, straightening, anti-aging treatments etc..). Insure their results with the use of professional products.

This is a win-win for your staff and the client. Not only will the client keep their results longer but your staff has an excellent reasons to offer retail - pride in their work to insure results, making the client happy with longer lasting results at home, and increasing all their final tickets driving up their commissions and sales!

An example of how this technique plays out with a client:

Stylist - "I think this new cut really frames your face and this new color is perfect for fall! What do you think?"

Client - "Yes, I really love it. I'm so glad I went with the more layered look and the warmer color choice!"

Stylist - "I definitely agree. To make this warmer color last, I recommend this color safe shampoo. This helps keep the color in the hair shaft longer that the higher acidic drugstore brands and continues to moisturize to minimize any damage from the color chemicals. I also recommend this new root spray to keep the lift you now have with your layers. Just two pumps and then a shot with the blow dryer here (show client how to recreate at themselves) will give you that volume and won't damage your color. These products are my guarantee to insure the money you invested today makes your new look last as long as possible. Let me walk you over to our check out area with these products and will get your next visit on the calendar. Wow you sure look fabulous for fall!

That wasn't so hard was it? Build trust by making it simple for the customer to recreate their new look at home and increasing the longevity of their investment. Shift your attitude towards professional products as an insurance policy will insure happier clients, happier staff, and increased retail sales!

Friday, July 29, 2011

5 Tips for Successful Promotions

Promotions are a tool to grow your business. Many of us want to do promotions, but we can get stuck in the creative stage and bogged down in the details. Here are some quick hitting tips to help your business offer successful promotions.

1. Anything can be a Promotion
2. Have a Plan
3. Provide a Reason for Customers to be Interested
4. Promote your Promotion
5. Track Results

Its true - anything can be a promotion from a buy one get one free special or event celebrating national ice cream month. Work with your team to have a plan to set details. Determine your promotion or offer, set the dates of the offer, assign team members to work on the various to-dos, and talk it up in your salon or spa with signage, postcards, and email blasts. You need to give your clients a reason to be interested. Ask yourself what is the call to action - why would you response to this. Then roll out the plan.

One often forgotten detail is tracking results. How many people participated in your free ice cream cone day or how many more bottles of shampoo did you sell? You need to know what works and what didn't for future promotion planning. Hold a team meeting after each promo and gather the feedback. Anyone can have a brainstorm that will drive more sales next time.

What is your more successful promotion? Share your comments below and happy promoting!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Makeover Time - For your Business!

The power of the before and after pictures can be amazing. Your clients know the power of looking good by the services your talented staff provide. You can apply that same magic to your business location. Many of us suffer from tunnel vision of the the next thing on our to-do list and forget that our location is making a impression on our clients every time they walk in the door. Its time for a mini-makeover that you and your staff can complete in a few days. Your clients will be amazed which creates excitement and sales!

The Makeover How To:

Step 1. Take a few pictures of your reception areas, work stations, retail areas and all around your location. Pay careful attention to the "V-Zone". This is the area where clients first enter and get an instant impression. Stand in your front door, outstretch your arms into a V shape in front of you and hence you will see the V-Zone.

Step 2: Print and post these pictures up on a bulletin board. Call a team meeting with your staff and discuss what you see. Make a list of areas for improvement.

Step 3: Next do a walk through of your location with your staff. Discuss what you see making notes of pros and cons.

Step 4: Review the collective lists of areas of improvement. Decided the most important by creating your Top 10 list. From there divvy up the tasks and go forth and attack each area.

Step 5: After all the updates are made, take new pictures. Hang these next to the previous pictures and see the before and after makeover magic!

What To Look For:

If you get stuck at what areas you should be looking to improved, here are some easy areas to zero in on.

Clutter -
Is your reception area cramped or have too many messages hitting the customer? Make it clean so they can set purses and sign credit card slips easily. Have a few up sell features such as gift card displays or a acrylic sign with your latest promotion or event. This allows customers to focus on these items and not get distracted by stuff.

Decor - Is your store screaming the 80's with old wall colors or outdated fixtures or displays? Spruce up the color to natural tones or go bold on a few feature walls. Maybe some new shelves are needed for retail product. A new floor mat or a new waiting chairs could make it look new.

Retail - Do your retail areas grab attention and say buy me? Freshening up your retail displays every 4-6 weeks makes it look new to a customer easy time they visit. Keep products organize, uses signage, and try me areas clearly indicated.

Missed Opportunities - Are you missing opportunities to promote your services or highlight whats new? Small signage at styling stations could discretely help you promote various items and give a stylist the in to mention it during a service. How about a small sign on your restroom counters. Keep it simple but capitalize on all of your space.

Flow - Walk the store as your client does. Is their odd traffic flow pattern that cause traffic jams or bottlenecks? Potentially relocating a retail area or your front counter could help streamline the flow around the store.

Add some quick makeover magic to your location. Take some before and after photos and share with us. It doesn't have to cost a lot to look fabulous so make your business shine today!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Won't you be my Neighbor?

These days we can become laser focus on day to day operations of our business. Taking care of staff issues, reordering the latest product that sold out, or chatting up our clients. Sometimes it is good to take a step back and start planning more strategic ways to build your brand and grow your business. One option is to start looking outside your front door. Sharing public relations efforts with neighbors, participating in local events, and become more involved in your community can be a business booster. Here are some quick tips to look beyond the day to day and knock on your neighbors door!

Next Door Neighbor
Whether there is a coffee shop or travel agency that is your next door neighbor, stop in and say hi! It is a great way to partner and co-hosted event. An example is she could provide the coffee and you could provide free hand massages or trial sample goodie bags. Offer some appetizers and maybe a local band. Brainstorm on ways you can co-promote both businesses and bring more traffic through both your doors.

Local Cross-Promotion
Networking with similar industry businesses can also allow cross promotion opportunities. An example is a local clothing boutique who is a few blocks over. You both could partner by doing a fashion show with you supplying hair and makeup and the boutique showcasing the clothes. Offer a discount or a free product for all attendees who stop in for a service at your business. This is a great way to attract new clients who are fashion-forward and want to look their best!

Community Events
From charity walks, book drives, and block parties there is always an event cooking that you can offer help for easy PR. If there is a breast cancer awareness walk, have your staff form a team. Talk it up in your business with pictures and a box for donations. Be sure to take some pictures and submit press releases to your local media outlets. Aligning your business to community events will create goodwill and get your name out there.

Movers & Shakers
Did you know that 80% of new movers shay they are willing to try new merchants? A great tactic is to welcome new residents with a special offer. A spa could do a postcard or letter saying "Moving is Stressful...Let us Help! Take advantage of an introduction massage...". Introducing your business with a friendly welcome will grow your business and build your brand. There are many companies that offer access to new resident info and will help you mail. (Try www.movingtargets.com)

Thinking and acting locally can help your business grow. Take up the challenge and go say "Hello" to your neighbors today!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Be a Marketing Maven!

Marketing is a way to increase awareness about your brand and grow your business. Professional beauty business owners know the services and products inside and out but often could use a little help increasing their business savvy skills. Here are some easy ways to super charge your marketing efforts!

The Pitch
Defining what your business is all about is crucial for customers and your community to understand your brand. Your pitch can be a media kit, business fact sheet, or portfolio. These included info such as the business history, staff bios, company mission, and product/service menus. Think of this as your business's resume. The goal is to pitch what makes your business unique and sells the reader on why you.

Public Relations Contacts
This is an ongoing database of public relation contacts in your industry and area. Examples include local newspaper editors, reporters, TV and radio producers, or industry publication editors. You can meet and greet local PR reps at chamber of commerce or other events. Also look at the sources websites for emails and mailing address. You want these people to love you and your services to help promote your business.

Press Releases
Now that you have your PR list you need to send them newsworthy information. Press releases are generally a one-page document that highlights special events, new employees, or cutting edge services. Need help on writing the perfect press release - click here for my previous blog on "Press Release - How To Guide". The key here is to send meaningful press releases that are worthy of publishing. Avoid PR overkill that can land you on the black list. Be sure to find the happy medium between sending frequently but timely, relevant messages.

Your Guest List
Sometimes we forget to tell our current customers all the great happenings your business is involved in. Keep in mind your clients when creating your press releases. Maintain and continually update email, mailing addresses, and phone numbers of all clients. Tie in some of your press release efforts into your monthly newsletters. Sharing good news drives further customer loyalty and may entice them to take advantage of your new offering or join you at your next charity event.

Marketing is an ongoing quest. Marketing isn't something you set and forget. You want your business to create buzz and be out in your community. With a bit of effort and some tenacity you can be your own Marketing Maven!

Have some marketing tips to share with our readers? Post them below!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Suggestive Selling - that's not pushy!

Suggestive selling is a technique used to sell retail products in a non-pressuring way. I can hear the collective groan from some of your staff members - but there is a way your employees can encourge more products sales without having customers run the other way. I promise - you can do this!

Here's how to incorporate suggestive selling techniques:

Script - Create short scripts to help start the product discussion with the client. Probing questions such as what are the current styling products or skin care products you are using? What do you like about those items? This lets the staff member know areas which are appropriate to recommend. Providing your staff with key attributes can provide competitive advantages to educate and promote the product. Facts such as... "93% of users said this product added more volume to their hair... or 98% of women saw improvement in their skin texture" provide benefits and data. Ask your vendor for these tips or pluck them off their provided sell sheets. Offer trail free samples with these scrips as a no pressure way to encourage clients to give it a try before their buy. Be sure to note what samples you provide on the client's record and follow up on the next visit.

Prescribe - Another fun to way promote products is by offer beauty prescriptions to each client. This is a creative take on a perscription pad but related to hair, skin, or body services. It can include a touch up color date and recommended styling advice along with what products to use. This is a big winner with med spas for their skin care regime products.

Star Power - Celebrity endorsed brands is a selling magnet. Whether we love or hate the certain celebrity brands they definitely can move retail items. Be sure you prop these products with photos of the celebrity. You can also take this to a more hometown level by working with a local community celebrity such as an elected official or community director. Host an event to tie into their cause and be sure to take some PR photos!

Visual Merchandising - Create an inviting and attention catching retail area. Your business needs to look the part. Copy those retail powerhouses - department stores. Make retail displays that speak to the season, your latest product promotion or upcoming event. Tie in retail paper shopping bags, tissue paper, and promotional packaging of items in group sets. You can also create magic tables (just like those department stores). Take a circle table, drape it with a white cloth, and create a featured display. Ideal for a try me area where customers and smell and play with the products or to feature your monthy promotion such as Sun Care products.

There you have it. See that wasn't so bad! Selling retail products can be fun, adds value for your client's experience - and increases your bottom line. Try some of these tips today and share your ideas below. Happy Selling!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Celebrate your customers!

Loyal customers are the life line of your business. It is more important than ever to take time out to thank your clients for their continued patronage. Here are some small ways to celebrate your customer.

Birthday Cards
Many of us collect new client data via new customer cards. These can be small paper index cards that customers fill out when they first visit. These typically include birthday information (shh.. they don't have to give the year). This data is then entered into your salon database system or a spreadsheet. You can do a monthly pull of all your clients with a birthday that month. Mail them a card wishing them happy birthday. Include a message saying you can help them look their best with a special b-day discount! This makes your client feel appreciated and gets that back in the door bring you additional business.

Their Anniversary
When a client card is filled out also capture the date they become a new client. You can now send them a Happy Anniversary promotion for doing business with you. This message can say you value their loyalty and look forward helping them look their best. Offer a free product with their next retail purchase or a discount off a service. Clients will be delighted by the offer and happy you thought of them.

Your Anniversary
Another way to create buzz and thank your customers is by celebrating your business anniversary. Make it a week event! Decorate the salon with balloons and anniversary signage. You can send out postcards or emails offering a special discount for your anniversary week. Or you can even host a special VIP event for your best clients offering trials of new services and goodie bags of sample products.

Little things can have a big impact. It comes down to making your customers feel special and appreciated. It will lead to long term clients and bring in more sales. There is power in gratitude so share some today!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Boost your Marketing Mojo!

We can all become complacent. We settle into the day to day events and processes are on automatic pilot. But where is the excitement for you, your customers, and your brand? Now is the time to shake things up and become a bit more creative. Passionate leaders drive better staff and infect their customers with their drive to please and inspire. Let's re-energize your business image and boost your marketing mojo!

5 Easy Tips to Rev up your Marketing Mojo

1.) Wear your client's glasses.

Each of us have a variety of client types that have different needs and desires. Pay attention to the individual needs of each customer and create a system that personalizes the services to them. Cookie-cutter customer service and sales approaches rarely work. A warm greeting and 10 minute consultation on may work for some clients, but the busy professional may want in and out. Hard sell production techniques could work for some, but others prefer a softer try before you buy approach. Put yourself in your clients shoes and focus on how best you can market and meet their needs.

2.) Use Consistent Messaging

Rise - Lather - Repeat. Repetition is a tried and true marketing techniques. It works because people remember what they continually see over and over again. Use the same logo and colors on all items that touch your customers. From your business cards, your personalize retail packaging, gift cards, salon menus and beyond should all have a consistent look and feel. This increases brand awareness and enhances your professional image.

3.) Devil is in the Details.

Pay attention to the details such as an organized reception area, clean retail and sitting areas, and professional friendly staff. Stacks of magazines taking over sitting areas, gossiping staff who are always on their cell phones, and salon stations cluttered with products can have your clients running for the hills. Welcome your guests with a clean and inviting atmosphere.

4.) Create your 30 second elevator speech.

Why should a customer use your business? Create your unique selling proposition. This is the quick statement that defines what makes your business stand out from the competition. Once define this incorporate it in all your marketing messages such as your business cards and your ads. You and your staff should have it memorized and always being touting the "why us" in elevators, the coffee shop, and even to your loyal customers.

5.) Testimonials tell your tale.

When your best friend recommends something, you usually try it right? Third party perspectives are power marketing statements that build trust with potential clients. Don't be afraid to ask for testimonials and use them on our marketing materials. Your fans can drive more fans and create buzz about your biz.

Brainstorm some ideas with your team on this quick five pointers. See how your business stacks up. Come up with a few action plans and in no time your marketing mojo will be rocking!

What is your biggest business struggle?

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