UPSELLING: ARE MORE SERVICES ON THE UPSWING?by Sue Marquette Poremba
- Boost Tickets
- Give ‘wasted´ floor space value
- Enhance your customer experience
- Refresh your salon image
- Create ‘news´ and excitement
- Unify the staff
- Keep clients coming back
In a down economy, it may seem that this is the worst time to convince customers to buy additional products or try new services. However, upselling can actually boost tickets as long as salon owners understand the market they are servicing, says Ego Iwegbu-Daley, business director of Miss Salon (www.misssalon.com), a salon business consultancy, and author of Kick-Start Your Salon into Profit...Fast! “Upselling is something I advise and advocate, especially in these times, as it creates value,” she says, “and value is key when trying to stay in a business whose offer is generally viewed as being a treat, postponable, or expendable.”
ARE YOU ADDING OR SUBTRACTING?
Usually when business gets tough, salon owners look to cut and slash costs that can negatively affect a customer´s experience at your salon, cautions Iwegbu-Daley. Switching to cheaper lower-quality products for use in services will certainly result in sub-standard treatments. Cutting back on product lines you sell and display results in empty shelves and fewer choices for clients. Some salon owners try to raise prices for the same services — a measure most customers will simply NOT stand for. But have you thought of how you can offer more instead of less, without taking on a significant amount of cost?
According to salon business consultant Andrew Finkelstein, owner of The Beauty Resource (www.thebeautyresource.com), there are three ways for salon owners to earn money: increase prices, increase visits, and increase unit sales. Increasing unit sales is the easiest of the three options to control. Finkelstein adds that if salon owners want to increase business, they have to do things to encourage it, and the best way to do that is to communicate, both with the clients and with your salon team. Iwegbu-Daley advises salon owners to understand their clients´ core needs and then choose add-on treatments to suit those needs. “Survey your regulars and simply ask them what they want,” she adds. Choose services with a low cash and equipment investment at first and see what kind of interest they generate. “Try eyebrow threading or facial hair removal because every woman wants to control the hair on her face,” says Iwegbu-Daley. Salon employees should always be asked for ideas on services, products, and ways to upsell, and Finkelstein advises to take each suggestion seriously. “Not every idea will be perfect, but no idea is ever wrong,” he advises.
ADDING A ‘LIFESTYLE´ ELEMENT
While Iwegbu-Daley believes that hair salons should stick to services that provide instant gratification for low investment, such as make-up, nail services, and hair removal, others have seen that providing spalike services or other unique products have helped boost tickets.
Daniel Gravel, owner of Daniel Gravel Salon in Beverly Hills, added one-on-one Pilates sessions for his clients because, “You don´t make much money on just a hair cut,” he says, explaining why he has sought out upselling options. The private classes are now in the third year at the salon, and Gravel says the offering has been well received by his customers. “Many like going in for a session before their hair appointment and some sessions can be as quick as 20 minutes,” he says, adding that his salon also offers shower facilities for clients. Based on the success of the Pilates, Gravel is considering other options for his clients, such as a dentistry service for things like teeth whitening. “If someone doesn´t want a product or service today,” Finkelstein advises, “you can always plant the seed for a future visit.”
That´s what Jim Nissila of Hip Snips in Windsor, Ontario, discovered. The idea behind his salon is to focus on families. After all, he says, kids need haircuts, and they are usually brought to the salon by a parent. There are separate areas for men, women, and children, with flat screen TVs and video games available. One of Hip Snips´ ways to upsell is to offer mom or dad the opportunity to get hair-styling services while their kids are getting a cut, too. And if the kids are done first, there are plenty of electronics to keep them occupied. Hip Snips also offers party packages, Mommy & Me days, and nail and make up services. He even has a line of stuffed animals for sale. Most recently, he´s begun targeting teens and added a tanning bed, which he hopes to turn into a ‘prom package´ that will include tanning, makeup application and an up-do for parties…yet another market and another way to increase business.
Arrojo Studio uses more traditional services for upselling but recently added a full body line to complement its haircare products and even a cafe inside the Studio space called Tramezzini. “We wanted to become more of a lifestyle brand for our customers and we´ve even created a cafe for socializing, too,” says Ellen Marth, spokesperson for Arrojo Studio. “This way if they love Arrojo Studio, they can come with friends, use ‘bring-a-friend´ discounts and packages, and satisfy all their grooming needs whenever they come to get their hair done.” Unlike the haircare products, which are available in retail venues outside the salon, the skincare products are currently only available in the Studio, and Marth believes that the products will provide a boost in sales.
SIMPLE SALES 101
Lorry Green, co-owner of Elle Marie Salon in Bothell, Washington, believes the most important aspect to upselling is education. Have you simply forgotten how to sell? ”During a consultation, we look at the customer´s best feature and educate them about an item or service that will best highlight that feature,” Green says. “You don´t want to sell a customer what they don´t need, but whatever you can upsell results in a bigger ticket.” Finkelstein agrees and adds, “When you have them in the chair, it´s not ‘what else can I sell,´ but ‘what other services will benefit this client?”
Right now, conditioning treatments are one of Green´s most popular upsells. “We can formulate the treatment for individual client´s hair needs,” she says. “Also, highlights are really popular right now, with people wanting to feel like the sun is out and so they are going blonder.” Because of that, more clients are looking for conditioning treatments to help repair damaged hair. “If someone comes in wanting a cut, we want to come up with a way to encourage them to get color,” Green says, summing up the thoughts of other salon owners. “We´re constantly trying to think of what more we can do for our clients.”