What is the Key for Successful Retailing? Knowledge!

By AHP Staff

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the key to successful retailing is being educated and knowledgeable about your product line. For hairdressers and barbers, that means becoming BFFs with your product line. You have to know everything about each product to explain to clients why you’re using specific products on their hair, and why they’ll need the same product at home to improve the condition of their hair or duplicate the look you created at the salon. This might sound tedious, but it can also be fun! You will become familiar with specialized products formulated to treat specific client concerns like color protection, damage control, volumizing, styling, texturizing . . . the list goes on and on. And as you learn more about your products, you will instinctively start thinking about which ones you can’t wait to try on your current clients.

So, where’s the best place to start? You can effectively learn a new product line, have fun while doing it, and increase your bottom line all at the same time! Will it take some time? Sure. But, it’s well worth the time investment in the long run.

1. Take Small Bites:

It is said the best way to learn a new language is to totally submerge yourself into that culture. We can apply that same method in learning a new product line. Attending hands-on training classes will help you effectively learn about new products and truly soak up the content about that product. Nearly every product brand offers training sessions, whether in person or online, and most will even send a representative to your salon to provide a personalized experience. These training sessions are usually given in bite-size, digestible segments so you can concentrate on one technique or product at a time. For example, if you start with a coloring course, you’ll learn the correct protocols, what professional products to use, and what retail products are associated with color protection and retention. When you feel you have a good understanding on that topic, you can move on to their designing/cutting course, or styling/finishing, or whatever interests you the most. Learn all you can, then practice as much as you can. The more you feel you own it, the more comfortable you’ll feel sharing your knowledge with your clients. Your retention rate will greatly increase when you learn in smaller chunks, and when your clients ask questions, you will feel confident about recommending retail they should purchase and why.

2. Crib Notes:

Let’s say you’re an expert at the product line you’ve been using, but then you take a job at a salon that uses a completely different line. You might feel frustrated and daunted that you spent so much time and energy learning one line, and now you have to do it all over again. This can be tricky if you have clients who follow you and loved the old line you were using. They trusted your expertise and retail recommendations, and they may hesitate now to be won over on the new line. Let your clients know you have done your homework, compared both product lines, and have determined the best products for them both in the chair and for use at home using the new line. Prove to the client you really do have their best interests at heart.

This is where crib notes may come in handy. Let’s say you’re looking at hair color for one of your loyal clients. She loved the color from the old line, and you want to match it as closely as you can. Most product lines have color conversion charts to guide you on correct color and tone formulation if you’re accustomed to working with Brand X and now you’re working with Brand Z. While there will still be plenty of learning to do in other areas, color conversion charts will ease the hassle of having to start from scratch. You can also consult with your product representative for their opinion on which of their products are comparable to your old line.

3. Basics First:

No one will be able to know everything about every product when they’ve just been introduced to it. But even the sweetest client in the world will see through you if you try to sell them something you know nothing about. It may tarnish their trust in you, and if you don’t really know the product, you aren’t doing them any favors by trying to sell it to them. A better strategy is to first focus on learning a handful of the new products that most every client could use, such as a hydrating shampoo, a volumizing mousse, a heat protectant, etc. Once you’ve learned about some basic products, you can then start learning the products that have been formulated for more specific concerns: deep-conditioning hair masks, texturizing sprays, strengthening treatments, etc. Bit by bit, your product knowledge will grow, and you can begin showing off your expertise about each product. Your client will never know how little you initially knew about every product on the shelf! By focusing on the basic products first, you’ll develop a more trusting relationship. And each time your client comes in, you’ll have new enthusiasm about another great product you just learned about that will work even better for them!

Hairdresser hands product bottle to customerFAQs

How can product knowledge increase my retail sales as a hairdresser?

Product knowledge builds enthusiasm. Learning the ingredients and benefits of hair products makes it easier to build enthusiasm for both you and your clients. When the benefits of a product for a particular client are clear, hairdressers will find it easier to convince their clients and close the sale.

Why is product knowledge imperative for retail success?

Product knowledge gives us the satisfaction of being experts and builds clients’ confidence in us as hairstylists. Retail sales doesn't always have to be about the client – being knowledgeable in your product can make you feel accomplished and allows you to speak with confidence around other hair industry experts.

Why is product knowledge a powerful skill for hairstylists to possess?

The simple reason is the more you know, the more you sell. More knowledgeable hairdressers contribute to closing more retail sales and instill confidence and trust in the customer, ultimately improving their experience. This, in turn, creates repeat business and can have a significant impact on the salon overall.

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