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Competitions to Drive Sales

The competitive landscape is so different now compared to just 10 years ago that the industry must continually look for innovative ways to tie the customer closer to the salon and spa as place to buy product. As every salon group knows, it’s a struggle. However, stylists’ competitions have proved a winning formula for Design 1 in Michigan, not only driving up sales but also creating good habits among the team.

Paige Cheever, Design 1 manager, detailed two examples in a recent ISBN webinar – Retail Appeal, where we brought together a panel of experts who have proven, again and again, they know how to drive retail. Scott Missad, CEO of Gene Juarez, situated in Washington, moderated over the discussion between Danielle Dean, assistant vice-president of L’Oréal USA, Debra Penzone, president of Charles Penzone Inc in Ohio, and Paige.

According to Paige, competitions are superb for ratcheting up the excitement in-salon, giving the teams something positive to focus their energies on. Design 1 aims to run two competitions each year, for set periods of four to six weeks. This is just enough so it keeps the buzz, and allows the habit of retailing to become ingrained in the team. And that’s the real aim, getting the team so used to retailing that they do it with every single client all year round.

The first of the two competitions occurs in each of Design 1’s four locations, with the teams divided into various levels. The least expert are in level one, with the most experienced in level eight. Each stylist competes with others of a similar ability, receiving a point whenever a client buys two or more products from the specified range.

The competition runs for four weeks, with targeted activity, posted online and in-salon, to promote the product range. Stylists are encouraged to focus on educating the client, helping them understand how to use the products to recreate their look at home, leaving it to the highly expert front desk team to close the sale.

In addition to the proactive marketing, the group also offers automatic entry to a draw for those buying retail, with prizes such as a $500 Tiffany gift card. This support gives stylists an easy opening into the retailing conversation with clients.

However, Paige argues, the success of any competition is down to the level of education and support provided throughout. All sales are posted so everyone can see how they and the other stylists in each location are doing, which motivates the more competitive team members. But they also highlight those struggling, giving in-salon mentors and educators an opportunity to swoop in to nurture them and make sure they don’t lose confidence. Keeping that positive vibe is crucial, especially when it comes to Design 1’s second competition.

Paige admits it’s a bit more work, but worth it. She creates teams within each location which are pitted against one another. This creates a real sense of team partnership and accountability, with the top sellers keen to advise and support others in their team. After six weeks the two winning teams in each salon go head to head with teams from the other locations. The winners get $1,000 and the top seller a prize such as an iPad or Coach purse.

Design 1 has seen sales rise dramatically during these competitions, but, more importantly, they have been sustained at a rate higher than previously, suggesting that Paige’s aim of changing stylists’ habits has been achieved. And running the competitions twice yearly ensures she is confident they will continue to drive through with retail.

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