Motivating your team to retail

Resistance to selling by salon staff is a common problem suffered by most salons.

So how do you get your staff to focus on how beneficial it is for the client to have the right products?

And what role can a supplier play in offering training that raises the level of product knowledge?

You must find out what motivates your staff and what they are fearful of.

That was the advice our Professional Beauty’s industry round table experts came up with at our third event, held at restaurant Hubert in Sydney.

Our nine industry supplier and salon owner experts – including Ultraceuticals’ Karen Wilkin-Donachie, OmniDerm’s Sue Dann, Ultraderm’s Pauline Valle, International Beauty Supplies’ James Carroll, Zing Business Coaching’s Jay Chapman, Beauty On Latrobe’s Clare Lamberth, Sharkra Medi Spa’s Tanya Ahmed, Focus On Skin’s Kellie Cohen and Skinsational’s Sarah Austin – also shared ideas on how a supplier could best guide a salon owner when it came to optimising the retail presentation within a salon or clinic.

Jay said accountability was key while Pauline said it was very important when choosing your product range that you had a full understanding of what was expected from your supplier.

Tanya said the responsibility was with the salon owner to create a selling environment, while Kellie said it was crucial to constantly talking to clients to ensure you were addressing their needs.

Sue raised the issue of therapists getting very scared of rejection, which inhibited them from recommending products, while James said therapists often forget their client trusts them.
Clare posed the question if you love the client and you wanted the best for them, why wouldn’t you be recommending products that are going to help deliver amazing results for them?

Read their edited responses below or watch the video for the full discussion.

“There are two points I want to raise. The first one is, what motivates us in the first place? Why should we recommend products to our clients? Once we have awareness and clarity on that, that forms a really good, solid foundation for the product company reps to come and do their thing and educate on active ingredients and how the product needs to be applied, etc. A lot of salon owners ask me, ‘How do I motivate my team to get them to recommend, to get them to sell?’ It’s a really boring answer. It’s accountability. You’ve got to keep them accountable. That word accountability has a bit of a negative connotation. You can hold your hand of your staff member until they get it. Focus on one area. Absolutely nail it and praise them and shine on them. That is the key. Working on their mindset. Find out what holds them back, help them through that and then come in and educate on the product and the process and the system. I’ve always said, if you care, you will share. The sale will come.”


“It’s very important when choosing your product range, that you do have a full understanding of what is expected from your supplier. We offer continuous training; we don’t just do one training session. As soon as our clients take our product line on board, we hit them straight away with training. We follow up with a VIP, we give them promotional data. Usually, we’d spend a day or two with them to really get them up and running. What we’re doing is working side-by-side with these clients, so they get a full understanding of how the Ultraderm range works on the skin and what outcome they can expect. It’s us empowering them and taking them through the educational steps that they need to understand to get to the end, and how best it’s going to work for them and their clients. Education is number one. We have to accommodate all ways of training. We do a lot of in-salon training. You’ve got to offer internet training at any given time, too, because of staff turnover. If we can offer training online at any time, that works very well. We like to do conferences annually. That is all about training, but we offer awards as well. We offer a rewards system to staff that make targets within the salon. We offer that to their customer as well. Everybody gets a little bit along the way. But, it’s all about making sure they meet these targets and there’s a very big gap between services and retailing. As suppliers have to empower them and the education is just absolutely paramount. We must educate out therapists. We need the salon and the therapist to understand, we’re not flogging, we’re just introducing, and we’re doing our job. If we’re not doing that job, we’re selfish, because we’re not really looking after the customer to the best that we know we can. With a client, 97 percent of time is what they do with their skin at home; three percent of the time is what the salon does. That’s why it’s so important that we have a really good home regime going on.”

“The responsibility lies with the salon owner to create a selling environment. It can’t just be a one way street for therapists, telling them ‘You must sell, this is your job, you must do this’. It’s our job as salon owners, suppliers and manufacturers, to create that selling environment and that buying environment. I learnt this from some recent training. We went from ‘sell, sell, sell,’ to ‘hang on, let’s create that buying feeling for our client’. Get the client excited about what is on that shelf. It changed the dynamics of my medi-spa clinic dramatically. Recommending retail products is doing your job professionally and ethically. You’re doing it with your core values in mind because you’re looking after your client and having their best interests at heart. To be ethical, to be knowledgeable, to be passionate and to not recommend a professional product to your client, you are doing such an injustice, that you really do then have to think about where your position lies in the industry. Product and services, they’re together. There’s no more separation. There can’t be. Also find out what motivates your staff. I presumed it was money, but it’s not at all. Get into your staff’s mindset and try to imagine what they’re thinking. Getting them motivated is usually just being on their level. Remember that knowledge is power. If the therapist has knowledge, they have the power. If you as a therapist don’t know what you’re selling, and you don’t know what the top three active ingredients are and what they do and how they benefit the client, the client can see straight through you. They will not trust you, and the answer will be no.”

“As therapists, we get so hands-on. We’re doing a treatment, we’re really making sure that we give our clients incredible service, but we’ve got to keep talking to them, making sure that we’re giving them exactly what they want and giving them the information. That information is about the product they need at home, to continually get the result that we’re working towards. Often, we have to keep talking to the client so we know what it is that they’re after as well. We think we know sometimes, but sometimes we don’t because we forget to ask. So, I keep talking to my clients and that results in other products that I can give to them to use at home to get the results that they want.”

“It’s something like 500 hours between monthly salon appointments. I tell my clients, ‘You’ve got your skin at home much longer than I’ve got your skin’. There can be, for therapists, a bit of intimidation around the concept of selling a product. If you as a therapist are coming from a place of love and care, you have that duty of care to be recommending in a comfortable way, with a client who knows, likes and trusts you. Selling them the skincare products that are going to help them correct their concern. If you love that client and you want the best for them, why wouldn’t you be recommending products that are going to help them and deliver amazing results for them? It’s the culture you create of your business. Education can really come down to that, too. Is a therapist struggling because she just doesn’t understand the product? Is it being prescribed it in the right way? What are her obstacles that she’s facing to get over? How can we seek the support of our suppliers to help overcome that? Once you address that, it’s almost like a burden is lifted off the therapist’s shoulders, and you see them blossom. It’s really lovely as a salon owner to see your staff feeling comfortable and re-loving what they do again.”

“Therapists get very scared of rejection. It’s that fear which stops the therapist from recommending products. From their initial training there should be some sort of retail focus, because they come into the salons with no real idea of what they’re doing. They’ve got salon owners telling them you have to sell. I’ve had therapists say they just don’t know how to do it. It’s as simple as that. You have to find a way to motivate the therapist. Find about what they’re scared of. When I ask the question, there’s a lot of different reasons. You’d be surprised at what I’ve been told over the years. You’ve got to find out what motivates them and what scares them. The answers really are amazing.”

“Therapists forget their client trusts them. It’s the relationship they have with them – it’s relationship selling. They come to the therapist to get advice. That’s the unique opportunity that a therapist has. We have to mentor staff. It’s not something that comes naturally. It comes from the salon owners – what they do themselves very much flows through their whole team. Leading by example is the best thing that you can do in your salon to help motivate staff. They need the tools. As a supplier, we can provide some of those. But, it’s not an easy task, for someone to overcome their fears of recommending retail products. We’ve got to remind our staff they are empowered. It’s also sharing the accountability. You might be better off to set some goals which associate to the whole team. Share with the team what your percentage of your retail business is and then the goal. If you’re trying to get from five perfect to 10 percent, share that number and take the burden of responsibility as a whole team and not just as one individual being picked out. Create an environment where it’s all of you as a team. Find out how you can motivate each other.”

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