Overcoming Retail Obstacles at Your Salon

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By Missy Megginson (@soyoureahairstylist)

I begin any retail conversation I have with fellow pros with these words: “Hi, I’m Missy, and I didn’t sell retail for the first 12 years of my career.” You might think I’m joking, but I can assure you, I’m not. When I started doing hair almost 18 years ago, social media didn’t really have a presence and I had limited exposure to retail education. My (poor!) solution to my lack of retail knowledge: burying my head in the sand and pretending retail didn’t exist. I could even be overheard telling my clients to “get it at the drugstore.” I wish I was kidding!

Fast-forward to today, and that could not be further from my reality. Now, my retail profit has become a huge part of how I pay bills inside my salon, and my strategies have helped hundreds of stylists do the same. What’s the secret? You might be surprised to know that it’s not the brand you’re selling, the packaging or even your promotions. Don’t get me wrong, those things all are very important, but they aren’t what finally changed my game.

What ultimately altered my relationship with selling, and prompted me to eventually write a curriculum all about retail sales, was understanding the “emotional intelligence” behind it all.

Your sales emotional intelligence involves three important parts:

[1] Empathy in sales

[2] Sales situational awareness

[3] Sales self-awareness

By definition, empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Hello, almost every hairstylist ever! But so often, your empathy might be the biggest factor keeping you from selling retail. Too much empathy and you end up absorbing what you think your clients are thinking or feeling. This is where you start deciding how much you think they can or cannot spend and begin making financial decisions for them, instead of offering them solutions for their home hair care and leaving it up to them.

Sales situational awareness is where you start becoming aware of what is going on around you. This is where you get to use that empathy as a superpower. What is a pain point in your client’s life that you could help offer a solution for? If she’s a busy mom, what is the one product she needs most to do her hair in a snap? If she’s a teen who spends her days at the beach, what can you recommend to keep her hair in tip-top shape? If hair care truly is a solution—which it is!—then you need to use your emotional intelligence to help clients.

This brings me to the concept of sales self-awareness. What is holding you back from selling? In order to overcome something, you first have to figure out what’s holding you back. Do you have a fear of judgement? Fear of rejection and being told “no”? For me, it was the fear of being considered “sleazy.” Once I was able to pinpoint that fear, I started identifying the truth of what I was actually doing when I offered a product—allowing my clients the option of achieving their best hair possible during the six weeks before they returned to my chair. I was helping solve their major hair dilemmas. And, I was creating an insurance policy for my work. All of these aspects far outweighed my fear of being too “salesy.” Ultimately, the risk wasn’t really a risk after all, because learning how to sell retail quite literally changed my business, which in turn, changed my life.

I want that for you. One of my favorite quotes is by Brené Brown, who says, “Don’t shrink, don’t puff up, stand your sacred ground.” Stand your ground. Start using your empathy as your superpower. Be honest with yourself about what’s holding you back, then go for it!

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