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trying to sell them something. Clients will say no. “Many times, the fear of retail comes from a subconscious place,” says Steve Gomez, professional development manager for Milady Cengage Learning. Gomez says techs often have a fear of the clients’ perception of them when they sell. “Techs need to acknowledge that feeling but realize it’s a misperception,” he says. Think about it. If you go to the chiropractor, acupuncturist, or gym, for example, do you get upset when the person you’re consulting with offers an opinion? It may be a supplement that boosts your immune system, or a calming tea, or a protein shake. Is your initial reaction, “I bet they just want my money!” More than likely, if you have a relationship with the professional, you take a moment to consider why the person is recommending the product and then decide if you agree it’s something you want. In the same way, when clients come in for a nail service, they consult you as a professional. They want immediate results (the nail service), but more often than not, they also want long-term results. They want consistently pretty hands and feet. They expect you to have products to help them get the results they want.

1. Product Knowledge: “Many times I find techs are scared to recommend products because they don’t see themselves as an expert,” says Burkholder. “They don’t really know the benefits of using the product. They may not truly believe in the product, so they don’t have confidence recommending the client purchase.” Burkholder finds this unacceptable. “You have to know the distinct benefits of each of your products,” she says. “That way, if a client wants to buy on impulse — because she has seen an ad or a shelf-talker or has had a friend rave about a new product — the tech can either confirm it’s a product that will help the client or recommend a product that will work better.” Burkholder not only educates clients on the benefits of the hand and foot care products in the salon, she also makes it her business to recommend hair products. “If I hear my client say she hates her hair because it’s dry or has no shine, you can bet I’m going to recommend a product to help her,” says Burkholder.

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Gina Marie Burkholder, spa department manager at Salon Art-Tiff in Ephrata, Pa., is a retail superstar, regularly selling over 20% of her service totals in retail. Is it because she’s a natural saleswoman? No. Is it because she gets a cut of everything she sells? (She doesn’t.) Burkholder says it’s because she loves what she does, and she cares about her clients and truly wants them to have the best experience she can give them. “When clients take product home from the spa it turns an appointment into an experience,” says Burkholder. The secret to Burkholder’s success is her mindset. First, she says, you need to realize you are in a position to help your clients. You’re not likely to feel comfortable selling retail for the 10% bonus your salon may offer or to meet a goal your manager demands. You will feel comfortable selling retail only when you realize your knowledge helps clients, and they are paying you for your professional recommendation. Second, listen to your customers. It sounds simple, but active listening is a deliberate discipline. When you listen actively, you hear the needs of a client. Burkholder tells the story of a client who went on and on about how excited she was because her granddaughter was coming to town. She bought a gift certificate for a pedicure, thinking her grand-

2. Scripting: “Scripting sounds like a terrible thing to do, but the more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Eventually, you don’t even realize you’re doing it,” says Burkholder. When Milady coach Steve Gomez introduced the idea of scripting to the salon, Burkholder resisted. “It sounded so fake; so rote,” she explains. Gomez reminded her she already used rehearsed answers to clients’ common questions. Scripting provides a way to be prepared to talk about different products in the salon. “Now I’m able to describe what oils are used to moisturize cuticles and how a strengthener or top coat works,” says Burkholder. Read the manufacturers’ product info to learn the benefits of the product and how the product is supposed to be used to achieve those benefits. Write down and memorize the information so you can talk easily about it when a client asks.

3. Explain your products as you use them: “Explaining a product is just as important as recommending one,” says Burkholder. How many times have you bought a product only to be disillusioned. You probably told your friends the product “didn’t work.” To avoid this happening with products from your salon, Burkholder suggests explaining every step of the service. Pick up the ridge filler bottle, for example, show it to the client and say, “This is ridge filler. We use it for a smooth finish. When you use it at home, this is how you apply it.” Then do the same for the polish and the top coat and the cuticle oil. Explain every product to the client.


8/24/11 12:15:38 PM

Nails Magazine October 2011  

Magazine for the professional nail industry.

Nails Magazine October 2011  

Magazine for the professional nail industry.