There’s an excellent reason why ‘show and tell’ rolls off the tongue – that’s the order in which ideas are best received. Lisa Conway explains.
There’s a lot of complicated theory about retail sales and how to go about boosting yours in your salon, clinic or spa. And why not? It’s a massive opportunity for financial growth. We all get that, even if we’re yet to master the skill of selling.
Most of the theory misses the core truth in the retail sales process – you are simply solving
someone’s problem. Why else would a person buy something from you?
The theory gap is this: understanding that what you sell and what you solve are two different things. I call it the ‘I need to buy a hole’ principle.
If you were to go to the hardware store and buy yourself a drill and a packet of drill bits, you’d have bought two items but not solved your problem. Not yet. Stick with me here.
It’s not until you get the drill home and actually drill a hole that your problem is solved. We buy drills when what we actually need are holes.
We buy a haircut or colour when what we actually need is to feel stylish or sexy, to get noticed and admired, or simply to feel neat and tidy.
We buy a facial or a skincare program because we want to feel more beautiful.
We don’t get waxed or plucked to feel the pain. There’s no fun in that.
We endure the pain because we want smooth, silky, hair-free skin.
“When you show a client how it’s done and tell them about a genuine beyond-the-salon solution to their problem
– something they can take home and benefit from between visits – you give them an incredible, priceless gift.”
I have my forehead injected with needles. There’s no fun in that either. But I want to look good. At 51, I’m very happy with looking good, so I endure the needles and the cost for the outcome I desire.
If you approach a sales conversation thinking about yourself and what’s in it for you – the money you’ll make from sharing your knowledge – you’ll fail before you begin.
If you approach a sales conversation thinking about what your client needs and how you can show them the solution –
right here, right now, today – you’re headed for a positive result.
I believe that whatever we do, whatever we say and whatever we hear in our salons leads to solving a problem. If I’m taking the volume out of someone’s hair with my scissors, I’m solving a client’s thickness problem. I take them through what I’m doing; I show them and I tell them.
In beauty, I might use the laser on someone’s legs to remove hair. The problem I’m solving is my client’s aversion
to painstaking waxing.
Take that thinking a step further. If I apply a hair reduction serum and explain (showing and telling) why I think the client would be best to use this daily, then I am going above and beyond in my ability to solve her problem. The same goes if I make suggestions about the shampoos, conditioners and styling products that would best suit thick, mop-like hair. Again, I’m solving the problem. And again, I’m showing and telling.
If you care, you will share. It’s that simple. Although it’s a very natural lead-on from what you do for your clients every day, you need to consciously make it a hallmark of your service style. Make a system around what and when you show and tell.
You have a lot more knowledge than your clients. You’re just too concerned about coming across as pushy. What if your suggestion gets rejected? What if she says no? In reality, what you’re doing is putting your fear ahead of your clients’ best interests. Your clients pay for your expertise and they deserve the benefit of your knowledge. Sharing your know-how to solve their problems is a meaningful part of what you do as a professional.
If a client declines to take your advice, accept that perhaps they don’t see the value… yet. Maybe they don’t make
spontaneous decisions. Maybe they need to hear it a few more times in a few different ways.
The way you deliver your information is paramount to your success. If you think that once is enough, you’re not really thinking. It’s like raising children – sometimes 100 times is still not enough but if you persevere and it matters enough to you, you will continue to lead by example and achieve positive outcomes all round.
Every year on my twin boys’ birthday my mother would send two separate birthday cards for them, each with money inside. Every year I would get the boys on the phone to call Grandma to thank her. The first year they were only four years old. When they turned 16 one of them said, “Where’s the phone? I’m going to call Grandma and say thank you.” It only took 12 years, or 12 times!
I persevered because teaching my sons to be grateful is important. If looking after your clients and adding amazing
value to their lives by solving problems concerning their hair and beauty needs is important to you, you won’t stop at the first sign of resistance. Instead, you’ll persist and continue to give solutions to their problems, even the ones they don’t know they have.
The ‘show and tell’ method lets your true professionalism shine. When you show a client how it’s done and tell them
about a genuine beyond-the-salon solution to their problem – something they can take home and benefit from between
visits – you give them an incredible, priceless gift. It doesn’t feel like selling, it feels like sharing… and they’ll love you for it.