You Can Sell Something to Every Client

By AHP Staff

If you want to increase your bottom line (and who doesn’t?), you must learn the art of recommending products. Whether you’re a hairdresser or barber, you work hard every day, but you also have to work smart. Selling products can substantially increase your profits. Hair professionals need to learn to ask the right questions to properly sell hair care. If you ask the proper questions, you are going to get the right answers—and increase your revenue.    

Retail Can Make or Break Your Business

We have all heard over and over again how important retail sales are. Depending on your salon, retail sales should account for 50 percent of your gross revenue. So, why do so many hairstylists and barbers hesitate to make recommendations to their clients? Remember, you are the authority and the expert in hair care, and it’s your professional responsibility to educate your clients. They want you to make them look their best, and they need the proper products to achieve that same look at home. They need and will value your help.  

hairdresser consults with clientRetail Success Begins with the Consultation

One mistake that happens too often—you wait until your client is standing at the cash register with money in hand to pay for their service. The time to start recommending products should begin with their consultation.

Every client appointment should begin with a consultation. You should ask about their current hair care regimen, lifestyle habits, past services, and what their expectations are from this visit.

When you ask them about their concerns, it’s the perfect time to address those concerns with product recommendations. Put the product in your client’s hand, explain how and when to use it, and describe why you’re using it on them today. When you recommend with confidence, your clients will trust your expertise. Keep track of what you recommended and what the client purchased. On their next visit (or during a follow-up call), ask how the product worked and adjust the regimen, if needed.

During the consultation, you should

1. Listen: While you’re forming your own evaluations, take time to really listen to the client’s needs and concerns.  

2. Explain: When you make a recommendation, explain what the product does, how to use it, and how it works.     

3. Educate: Let the client know how the ingredients will benefit their hair, helping to maintain their best look until their next appointment.  

4. Assist: Start by suggesting two basic products, such as a shampoo and conditioner, to address their concerns. These are products every one of your clients use nearly every day. During their next visit, you can always add a new product, such as a hair mask or styling spray, to their regimen.    

Focus on the Details

Keep your retail space organized and clean, with all products easily accessible.

Use up-to-date shelf talkers that will help explain the product.

When you use the products on the client during the service, explain why you chose those products. When they see the results, they will be much more likely to buy.

Use social media to remind clients of their next appointment and keep track of when it should be time to replenish their home hair care products.  

Everyone loves to get a gift. If they purchase a style cream, give them a free travel-size shampoo.

Believe in What You Sellclient buys hair product   

You made your final decision on a product line based on product results, sales support, and the education the manufacturer provides. Your line also has to speak to your clientele and mesh with your brand.

Since it’s so important a product delivers what it promises, make sure you research the reputation of each product. It will help drive sales if it’s a reputable line and will increase your credibility and enhance your professional image. When you truly believe in the products you’re selling, you’ll be enthusiastic and sincere when you inform your clients about the products. It makes selling easy!     

You CAN Sell Something to Every Client                

Of course, you should address the obvious need on a regular basis (think shampoo and conditioner). But this is when you need to look at their specific concerns. Dry, frizzy hair may need a deep conditioning treatment every week at home. Barbers can sell their clients aftershaves or serums to prevent bumps after shaving. Every client can benefit from buying sunscreen, so always suggest that purchase. If you have the space, you can also sell hair accessories, seasonal candles, scarves, and other enticing merchandise.   

The moral of the story is that there is something to sell to every client. In the end, your clients will thank you for caring enough to help them look and feel great.


My clients always tell me that my products are so much more expensive than what they can buy at Walmart. How should I respond to this?

Over-the-counter (OTC) products will not have the high-quality ingredients that professional products do, and since they are more concentrated, they will last longer. Ask your clients if their hair looks the same using these products as when they leave your salon.  The answer will most likely be no.

I’m just not comfortable selling products to my clients.

Don’t sell, educate! By teaching them about the product and how to style their hair, you won’t be taking extra time out of the appointment, and you’ll be educating them on how to keep their hair looking like they just walked out of the salon. It shouldn’t feel like selling because it’s not!

As a salon owner, I have a hard time motivating my employees to sell retail. Any ideas?

Salon owners, remember that nothing motivates hairstylists more than education. They will not be motivated to sell based on money. Teach and train them in the newest techniques to keep them passionate about passing on that education to their clients!

Product advice and demonstrations, coupled with continued education for a strong alignment with your brand will ensure that your salon is in it for the long haul.

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