Clearly, tanning is a service industry. But so many salon owners separate customer service and the services that they charge for; in reality, these things are one and the same. The most valuable service you provide for your clients is free to them, and it is right in the lobby: It is your staff.
Your employees have a greater function than welcoming and cashing out clients, they are the main line of defense when it comes to sales. When working with consumers that are more educated than ever, it takes a trusted advisor to convert an inquiry into a sale. Training them on the various lotions, beds, and products available in your salon is just the first step.
Train your staff to get the customer talking. By clearly understanding a client’s goals and problems, you can begin to get a sense of how to exceed their expectations. As salespeople, the desire to make a sale is always there, but the most powerful tool at your disposal is the ability to listen. If you can give the customer what they want, then you both win!
It is easy to wait for a couple of key words that fit the description for a product on your shelves, but by taking a few extra moments in the relationship with a new customer, you can create added value for the client. So before you begin to learn about your client, make sure to dismiss your preconceived notions about the “type” of client you think you’re talking to. No one likes to be stereotyped.
Ask open-ended questions to reveal what clients value. Questions that begin with “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why” and “how” are easy ways to ensure that the answer will be more than one word. Make sure you’re not trying to lead the customer into a specific option when you ask the question. If you find out that a client has a particular problem, ask for more detail to ensure that you have a full understanding.
Lastly, make sure to avoid interrupting clients. Follow up questions can be essential to getting to the root of a problem, but make sure to address it when they are finished talking. Wait to recommend a product or service until after you have discussed their goals and needs. Blindly recommending a product – especially one at the higher end of the pricing spectrum – can make clients feel uncomfortable and pressured into buying.
Learning to interpret your clients’ goals and arrive at the best recommendation is a process that gets more refined with practice, so make sure to role-play with your staff on a regular basis. You may even want to work as a team to create a comprehensive set of questions that employees can be responsible for learning and using with customers.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
What services were you hoping to take advantage of?
What are the results you are trying to achieve?
What have you tried already that didn’t work?
How soon are you hoping to see results?
Where have you tanned previously?
Why did you decide to switch?
What lotions/products/beds have you used in the past?
Why did you like or dislike those products?
What has been your biggest challenge with tanning?
How often are you able to make it to the salon?
How long have you been tanning indoors?
What services do you use in conjunction with UV tanning?
By asking the right questions at the beginning of your relationship with a client and any time they have a problem, you quickly gain trust and increase the lifetime value of your customers.