You’re not really selling shampoo!
‘The professional beauty market is flooded with great products’. And today, as consumers we are spoilt for choice, so whilst the great product is a great start, it’s really just the beginning.
As consumers we live in a world of over supply. Whether it’s cars, airlines, hotels, clothing, coffee shops or hair product, we are spoilt for choice! Quiet simply, “As consumers we can get the product [whatever it is] elsewhere”, and sometimes at a lower price and quicker and more conveniently!
So what is it that we are really selling?
I love the expression, ‘People buy people first!’ Because that’s the perfect expression of what is happening. If I can get ‘the product’ elsewhere, then it’s not just about the product, it’s the ‘Relationship’ around the product and the ‘Experience’ you have in dealing with the company and the person that’s selling it that becomes your point of difference.
That’s what we are really selling, ‘people, and the relationships and the experience' that you have with the people and the company that you are dealing with.
“The relationship” part is all about your ability to connect with people, the level of empathy that you can create with people, your communication skills, the energy or passion that you have for what you doing
Relationships are about having integrity, genuinely caring for people, sincerity, discretion, attention to detail, courtesy, intelligence, charm, and flexibility… Relationships are about your ability to build trust and rapport. That’s what you are selling! And all that is every bit as important in determining our business success as doing a perfect graduation in a haircut or an amazing colour job.
So after the product and the relationships the third component is the “The Experience”. The Experience is how you do business. The processes involved in how you and the others on your team interact with clients and those that come into contact with your business, so that there is a consistent brand experience. So how do you do that? I think it’s a 4 step process.
Step 1. Is that you need to start by defining what sort of in-salon experience you want your clients to have and matching it to your client’s needs and expectations. For example that will be things like, how clients are to be greeted, how consultations are done, how refreshments are offered, even how complaints are handled. Ask yourself, “How would you do those things, what would best practices look like, sound like and feel like?
Once you have defined what you want the clients in-salon experience to be, the challenge is making it consistent, so that no matter who is dealing with a client in the salon, the client has the same experience, the same level of service, commitment and professionalism, every time. And that takes us the next step.
Step 2. Is the process of making the service ‘consistency’ a reality. So after defining what you want that experience to look like, sound like, feel like, then you need to write it down and perhaps use images to define it. The goal is to make it a system, because if it’s not a system it will not be consistent, as it will be at the whim or discretion of the person that the client is in contact with.
In other words it will literally be determined by who it is, their up-bringing and their personal life experiences, and how they are feeling at the time. Think of it like a making a recipe for a cake. This is the cake we are going to make, these are the ingredients that are needed, and these are the steps you need to follow in putting them together. So now, if someone else follows the recipe they will likely get the same ‘cake’ or the same result.
After writing all the steps down and capturing it with pictures and maybe even video it’s now a system, and can be replicated by other people whether you’re there or not. That takes us to the next step.
Step 3 is following it up with training. Everyone on the team needs to be taken through the system to make sure that they understand it, and can follow the steps. This might involve roleplaying, or practicing it in front of someone else who can point out any inconsistencies and what improvements are needed and answering any questions that the person being trained has.
When you are happy that you have the training step completed, that then takes us to the next step.
Step 4 is ‘implementation’ and follow-through. Now, just because you have defined how you want it done, written it down and turned it into a system, trained people in how to do it, it still doesn’t mean that they will do it!
Someone has gotta be the boss and pull people up when things aren’t being done consistently to the standards that you have defined. That might involve tweaking the system or going over the training again.
If you are the owner or manager part of your job is to constantly monitor the performance of people, and evolve or fine tune the systems and give people on-going training to ensure quality control.
In short, “you want it to become system dependant rather than people dependent.”
As salon owners the problem is that we are often focusing only on “The Product” the product being the technical and creative skills of hairdressing, and not focusing enough on developing relationship skills of our people and the delivering of a five star client experience.
Being good at the technical and creative side is not enough, it’s an expectation, an assumption. To really succeed you need to be a well rounded professional that can also deliver a consistently great experience and to nurture and build long lasting relationships.
Thanks for watching, have a great week!