Here’s my latest article from SalonNV



Let’s be honest, it’s never been a favourite element of (most) hairdresser’s daily life. Creativity is what we are all about, and retail, well it just isn’t seen as a creative or exciting thing to do. The boss might put on a promotion and suddenly everyone SELLS like crazy, but those sales are only ever a short term spike in salon takings and invariably, the clients who buy feel pressured into doing it and won’t really enjoy the experience of the product because of that fact.

Recently I have been sharing something I call ‘the rule of 8’ with hairdressers and salon owners. The basic concept is; most of us will have at least 8 different items we use on our hair. A shampoo, conditioner, comb, styling product, brush, dryer, heat protector and irons or curling tools. That’s (at least) 8 opportunities for hairdressers to help clients get the very best from their hairstyle at home. 8 chances for the stylist to influence the client about the products they carry in their salon.

Most clients when they open up their bathroom cabinet see shelves crammed with unwanted and unsuccessful products that have been bought on a whim. Surely it would be better for clients to have only the products their hairdresser recommended to use on their hair at home?

When I discuss this when hosting training sessions every hairdresser is in agreement with the fact that they should be offering advice and helping their clients understand products and equipment better.

Yet still they shy away from the recommendations that would make their clients life easier at home. So what’s the answer, what might make retailing feel creative? My advice is simple, ditch the SELL and introduce the TELL, make talking about product like a story. Instead of trying to talk about everything in an initial consultation, break down the product elements of your time with the client into ‘chapters’ that they can respond to with ease. This makes the challenge of retailing easier as the information about product and equipment flows naturally as and when it is relevant throughout the duration of the client visit. Think shampoo and conditioner first, then after some light-hearted chat (very important by the way) you might talk about the comb you are using and why! Using this technique helps clients engage with you about everything you might use on their hair whilst in the salon.

Alongside this it’s very beneficial to use third party references, “my client who used this said …..”

“Clients who bought this also liked …..’

Adding simple statements to product recommendations makes your client accept the information more wholeheartedly and also makes retailing a more enjoyable, dare I say creative experience for hairdressers.

Oh and don’t forget, if you use the product yourself and recommend it ,that’s a really powerful statement from the person your clients’ trust with their hair.

Think about how you retail, do you constantly try to sell, or do you actively talk to your clients about what you are using and why it would be beneficial for them to do the same at home.

Retail is never going to be as creative as a haircut or a fabulous colour technique, but it can be absolutely creative in its own right.

Emil McMahon offers social media consultancy and bespoke training in salons. Check out the updated website or contact Emil on 07885985843 or