Winning at Losing
Vinnie Ferrara styles with Nioxin
The Approach to marketing and retailing products and services geared towards clients concerned about hair loss involves more listening and learning than showing and telling.
Before any solutions to concerns about thinning hair can be offered, the problem needs to be identiﬁed. Opening the subject requires skill on the part of the stylist. Broaching the topic requires tact, but paying attention to a client’s responses and language truly reveals the way ahead.
“Speaking on the subject of hairloss can be taboo for some, but 78 percent of male and female salon clients are concerned with thinning hair,” says Nioxin Artist Soﬁa Flores. “This should be an everyday topic we are addressing. I believe the best way to start the sensitive topic of hairloss is to be sympathetic, informative and share the message of proactive care. Asking open-ended questions is a must. You will be surprised to see how their own dialogue will pave the way to mention treatments suitable for their concerns.”
Paul Reynolds, president of Easihair Pro, a provider of tape-in and clip-in hair extensions to salon professionals, says that most stylists make the mistake of approaching the conversation too casually; they either inquire about the client’s immediate needs or simply ask, “So what are we doing today?”
“Many salon clients have shared, in their own words, a desire to have more volume at some point, but they reported not feeling heard,” Reynolds says. “When solutions were suggested, it was either a prescription for volumizing shampoo or mousse, which provided little or temporary relief. Otherwise, they were simply told it wasn’t achievable with their hair type. As a result of experiences like this, many clients don’t share what they ultimately want, only what they believe can be realistically achieved based upon these experiences and their limited knowledge of the available options.”
A one-size-ﬁts-all answer isn’t practical, but as Vinnie Ferrara, also with Nioxin, shares, being positive is always the right approach.
“What I have found helpful is to have what I call ‘sound bites,’” Ferrara says. “This is a statement I use for all my clients any time they have a challenge. Mine is ‘I can help with that.’ I have found that this is an easy way to stay focused on what the clients’ challenges are and to focus on a solution. For example, the client says, ‘I wish my sides would grow longer,’ and I respond, ‘I can help with that. A big part of growing out those sides is how you are styling and what treatments and products you are using; let me show you some options.’”
AND SO ON
In the 1980s, Fabergé ran a television commercial about the power of word-of-mouth. Holding a bottle of shampoo, actress Heather Locklear said, “When I ﬁrst tried Fabergé Organic Shampoo with wheat germ and honey, I told two friends. And they told two friends. And so on, and so on, and so on.”
Today, clients have global publishing power in their pockets. Social media means they are not telling just two friends—they’re telling thousands. And just as Locklear’s locks were the shampoo’s shining endorsement, stylists can also be their own best billboard.
“We always encourage our salon professionals to wear our extensions because there is no better way to feel, understand and believe in a product than experiencing it for yourself,” says Lisa Kenna, CEO and founder of Platinum Seamless. “You become a walking advertisement for your services, allowing the product to sell itself while you sit back and look beautiful. A client would undoubtedly want extensions after seeing their trusted stylist rocking Platinum Seamless.”
Conversely, it is the clients walking out the door who have the power to bring other clients walking back in.
“The best marketing team you’ll ever have are your good looking, well-coiffed, happy clients and raving fans,” Reynolds says. “Asking your biggest fans to share their rave reviews on Yelp and Google is a great way of gaining interest and attracting new business. Your best advocates are already in your circle and sit in your chair.”
Reynolds also suggests stylists leverage their great relationships and incentivize referrals.
“Use your network,” he says. “Ask your best clients to refer a friend and receive a reward toward future services. Have inexpensive cards printed that read, ‘The best compliment you can give me is to refer your family and friends to sit in my chair. You and your referral will both get 20 percent off your next service.’”
The power of the virtual thumbs-up impacts every business, no matter their size.
“The most amazing thing about social media is that it doesn’t matter if you are a large salon owner or if you are a booth renter conducting your business from a small suite,” Kenna says. “You are still able to move and inspire others with a single post.”
Viviscal Professional, makers of dietary supplements formulated to nourish thinning hair and encourage existing hair growth for men and women suffering from temporary hairloss, offers an eLearning hairloss program from which stylists graduate and receive a certiﬁcate of completion.
“We recommend they take a picture of the certiﬁcate displayed in their salon and post it to their social media outlets,” says Lauren Dudek, Viviscal Professional marketing director. “And deﬁnitely take photos of your clients with their success stories. The perfect combination for a testimonial is a ‘before’ shot and an ‘after’ glamour shot with a quote from the client.”
Viviscal Professional is launching its Hair Growth Challenge, a new campaign to speak to the end-user while making it easy for salons to share. Clients are challenged to try Viviscal Professional with a 90-day money-back-guarantee.
“The campaign contains all of the marketing tools that a salon would need to educate and market the products,” Dudek says.
If the stylist’s consultation is thorough and the client felt heard, then retailing will be a natural progression in the developing relationship.
Margot Wojtyla, director of internal operations and customer support at Tony Odisho, the hair extensions company run by practicing stylist Tony Oshido, says that having a selection of options is key to finding a thinning-hair solution.
“Our three lines of extensions offer three distinct types of benefits,” Wojtyla says. “One can be worn for up to four months; one can be worn for up to two months and can be installed two more times; and one is for clients to install themselves. Carrying all three options will definitely give you the greatest impact by appealing to the broadest possible range of clients.”
The physical retail space in a salon, how the product is incorporated into other services and how it is described on a salon menu also creates demand.
“Retail is a form of art at times,” Flores says. “Depending on your demographic, use relevant and proper strategies to promote and generate sales. For example, in my salon, we offer Nioxin Scalp Renew as a spa service. This can be joined together with a shoulder massage or paraffin hand treatment. Clients love to be pampered, and if you can do two things at once, that’s a sure bonus.”
Other retail strategies from Flores include:
· Get creative and offer discounts as an incentive when purchasing more than one product.
· Use enticing words to sell premium additional services. “You can list ‘Vitamin B blowout’ under your pricelist,” Flores says. “I don’t know about you, but that surely causes one to ask out of curiosity.”
· Label the retail area under Nioxin as anti-aging; you’ll welcome a larger crowd.
Clients have an emotional attachment to their transformed selves and want to sustain the feeling, making retailing all about doing good work.
“Most clients get so completely addicted to extensions that they feel naked without them,” Kenna says. Platinum Seamless extensions can be suggested as a long- or short-term solution. If a client is using hair growth supplements to thicken their hair (like Viviscal Professional), has damaged hair or has a less than stellar haircut, extensions can act as a short-term fix.
Ultimately, as Reynolds reminds us, this industry is an industry of relationships, and you never know when or where you’ll meet your next potential client.
“Always look the part and be prepared to share with people what you do and invite them in to experience your difference,” Reynolds says. “Wait staff, baristas, cashiers, valet parkers—everywhere we go, there are opportunities to market yourself and grow your business.
“Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, so save quality photos of your best work into one easy-to-locate file on your phone and share it with family, friends, colleagues, and people you meet—and watch your business grow.”