How would you feel if you had an in dustry expert or an outside view o f your business to hand? What if I to ld you that you could get that, a nd it wouldn’t cost you an extra p enny? To do this you just need to improve one thing – your product partner relationships.
It’s easy sometimes to feel like your suppliers are a hinderance rather than a help, competing for profit margins, encouraging you to spend more and taking up your client time with meetings, but when managed properly, these relationships can actually be a massive asset to your business, helping you work towards your goals. Here are five ways you can get more from your suppliers.
1. Ask for more informal training
I’m not talking about big expensive days of formal education at your supplier’s academy, but if a brand rep comes into your salon and they have a new product that they would like you to stock then I always ask them to come to a staff meeting as part of the opening deal and sell that product to the team.
Reps are trained salespeople and they can often do a much better job at getting your team fired up and motivated about a product than you could – sometimes the problem is that your team is hearing it from you, the boss. Let the brand rep come into your team meeting and explain the product’s features, benefits and the best ways your therapists can sell it to customers post-treatment. It’s a win-win.
2. Build that communication
We all know that our product houses’ sales reps like to come in with a promotion under their belts, but the problem is that we can sometimes find out about these a little bit too late. So, you need to build a better relationship with your rep.
Tell them, as soon as they’ve had their sales manager meeting, that you want a phone call ASAP to hear about that cycle of promotions. You’re less likely to miss out on a great deal by asking for this and it’ll save time during your rep’s regular salon visits too.
3. Take stock – literally
Stock control is a weak spot in a lot of salons across the country, so why not ask your brand reps to help with this. They will know the products from the range that are the easiest to sell and will have an idea about the items that are likely to be out of stock very soon, all of which is helpful information.
I managed to get one of my reps to come in 20 minutes before every scheduled meeting and count the stock for me, then when I came into the meeting she would have my order written out as well as highlighting any promotions that I might want to take advantage of as well. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
4. Knowledge sharing is key
You will not get a rep to come in and tell you about what’s going on in the salon down the road, but what they will be able to tell you is how things are working in other salons without naming names.
For example, if you’re struggling to sell one particular product then why not ask your rep what other salons are doing to use that item in a more creative way in treatment, or their techniques for selling that product more effectively to clients?
5. Staff incentives
If you have a team that’s motivated by free product then speak to your rep about it. Any time a new product is being added to a range, I would ask the rep for some sort of staff incentive. For example, they could launch a small incentive at the same time they are delivering your team training, and this can really help a new product or range get off to a flying start.