In a SmartTan.com poll, nearly two-thirds of salons said their staff does not use scripts to push sales. There’s no definitive right or wrong answer when it comes to utilizing scripts, but it’s no surprise that salons tend not to use extensive word-for-word scripts, as it can lead to staff failing to be adaptable and sounding impersonal. But, on the other hand, you want to ensure that staff is providing consistent information, maintaining professionalism, and using effective sales techniques.
So, as with most things, the best answer is usually somewhere in the middle: Whether you use sales scripts or not, incorporating certain phrases and opting to use some select scripted moments can make a huge difference on the bottom line. This concept was discussed in an article in last month’s Smart Tan Magazine:
Think about McDonald’s. Consistent use of six little words has brought in millions of dollars in revenue for the fast food giant: “Would you like fries with that?” For salon owner Dennis Ligon, four words were rocket fuel for his sales numbers: “Have you seen this?”
“We went to a Smart Tan convention eight or nine years ago and learned the phrase ‘Have you seen this?’ It sounds so ridiculously simple, but it really changed things for our salon. Most of our lotion sales happened when we had a sale going on, but this simple phrase let them talk about a lotion even when it wasn’t marked down,” says Ligon.
Scripted moments like these can provide a nice compromise between natural conversation and consistently asking for a sale. Look for extra moments where you can ask the client what they want or get them talking.
To take another note from fast food chains, introduct a service directly after your welcome statement. Try something like this: “Welcome to ABC Tanning! Would you like to book a session in our new luxury tanning bed?” You’ll make customers aware of your promotions and engage them is conversation.
“Little sayings like this can increase your per tanning averages by a little bit for each customer, and adds up to some real profit at the end of the year,” says salon owner and consultant Grant Miller.
Scripted moments are also great for your ever-changing promotions. Every time you run a new sale, give your employees a little scripted speech about it instead of just telling them what the sale is. This way, you can ensure that they are all sharing the value if your offers in a consistent way.
“We used to give a full rebate on lotions in the forms of free tanning. Wes topped doing it not because it didn’t work, but because over time the employees were explaining it like it was no big deal! Even though it was an amazing value, people go used to it. It’s all about the presentation,” says Ligon.
J.R. Homer, owner of InstaTAN, saw that his employees were giving all kinds of different asnwers to his clients’ questions, so he decided to create a tool that would put everyone on the same page. He created a presentation on his tablet that showed everything from pricing to the benefits of lotions and tanning beds. The presentation helps employees give out the same comprehensive information with each sale, and has improved engagement with customers, who enjoy the interactive visual component.
“My employees would tell customers different things about the same equipment, and sales suffered due to inconsistency and unprofessionalism. I created an app on our iPad that’s part of our sales presentation now. It has detailed, standardized descriptions and images of the equipment and products, giving every client the same story,” says Homer. “In the last two years it has rewarded us with decreased customer complaints and increased sales.”
But tweaking your sales conversation isn’t always about bringing money in; sometimes it’s about keeping money from flowing our. Do you know hoe many people cancel memberships each year? Lowering that number may be as simple as asking a few questions.
“If someone was coming in to cancel their EFT, I’d ask if they were moving out of the area, as if that was the only reason it made sense for them to cancel. I ask if they plan on tanning anymore, or if we can simply freeze their account for them. Sometimes I will try to keep them active by throwing in a free upgrade. If you don’t train your people at the front desk to have a conversation about it, they just let your customers cancel,” says Ligon.