Why your salon needs to offer express services, with Lisa Conway

Lisa Conway
Salon Coach
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In many salons today, the skill of putting hair-up is optional, and not an essential part of being a hairdresser. How disappointing!

I can’t imagine how a hairdresser choosing not to master the art of hair-up can be in the best interest of clients. If you understand that your role is to create a wonderful environment and to share your knowledge, then not offering hair-up is selling your customers short.

I constantly hear from the average Joe or Josephine on the street that they love their hairdresser making suggestions. Hair-up is a suggestion that adds another layer of fun and lets you show clients just how wonderful they can look and feel.

If you don’t do hair-up, I believe you cut the opportunity to impress somebody in half.

There is almost always someone in the team who is superb at hair-up. They enjoy it, is practiced at it and promote themselves as the hair-up specialist. So, why aren’t you making time to share that person’s know-how across your team so that everyone has this expertise to offer your clients?

Hair-up is not a whole new skill. We’re sculpting hair every time we blow wave. We’re managing the weight and the shape of the hair every time we cut. Hair-up is just an extension of that.

When I worked on the floor, I often put my own hair-up on the third day. It wasn’t suitable to wear out on day three but it was fabulous to put up. I’d create a quick (perhaps five-bobby pin) construction. One round of hairspray and I was out the door.

An amazing number of women admired my do, so I created a service called “EXPRESS hairdo” at an additional cost of $37. I could finish the blow wave, hold their hair roughly with one hand, where I thought it should sit and, with the other hand, hold the back mirror, getting them excited about the look I was creating. I’d just added $37 to my average dollar sale. My client was out the door without having to wait an hour to be pinned or sprayed to death.

Most clients don’t want to leave your salon looking like they might fall over and break their hair. They don’t want bullet-proof hair. They want hair that looks sexy, elegant, and believable. I’m not talking about extreme styles that need to last from sun-up until sundown and be photographed for lifetime memories. I’m talking about a woman who is going out in a couple of hours and will be fast asleep a few hours later. They don’t want to spend half an hour removing dozens of bobby pins and dealing with a head of hair they’re not sure whether to wet or brush.

The first step is to excite your team and build their belief that those who can offer hair-up are an awesome bonus to the clients they serve, and a bonus for them.

Let’s talk about how you could introduce the express service to your salon:

The first step is to excite your team and build their belief that those who can offer hair up are an awesome bonus to the clients they serve, not to mention a bonus for them. It’s easy to share some tips. Within two or three lessons everyone on your team will be off and running, and on their way to getting over the “I can’t do hair up” speed bump.

You’ll need models – they’re simple to find because you can just pin and unpin; no changes are really made. And long hair models are far easier to find. You’ll also need some good images of what you’re going to be working on. A Google search will soon turn up what you need.

Keep the training short and sharp. Be ready when they arrive and don’t run over time. Deliver what you promised and you won’t have any trouble getting them back for lesson two. Add some homework to the mix. Suggest they re-create the look before you meet again next week. Smart phones mean they can share images or video footage with each other.

Now, you need to get the “EXPRESS DO” word out to your clients. You could collect the homework images, post them to Facebook or Instagram and ask the question: would you love an EXPRESS hair up after your next haircut? Explain that it will only take 15 minutes and cost just $37 instead of $90.

The beauty equivalent of the EXPRESS DO is smoky eyes, something the average untrained person struggles to master. Done well, smoky eyes (or any creative eye makeup) are stunning; they change the whole face. Game changer. People cringe at the thought of having their makeup done. They see it as a special occasion only service. Why not think outside the square and offer EXPRESS makeup services? A junior is the perfect candidate to train-up on this. I’ve seen it work well – the staff love it and can recommend retail as well. That’s an an added bonus for your salon’s revenue, too!

You could offer two types of express makeup services:

  • Out-to-impress evening style
  • Natural and subtle day style

Incorporate a ‘how-to’ lesson as you apply and you’ll double your chance of a retail sale.

Beauty salons that sell a makeup range have a distinct advantage over hair salons because the retail range can be so extensive. I counted more than 17 shades of eyeshadow in my personal kit, yet I only have two eyes.

Perhaps now is the time to review the full range of services you provide. Are some of them rarely (if ever) requested? Why not replace those underperformers with something new, affordable, fast and easy-to-sell to your clients? I dare you. Introduce EXPRESS hair up or EXPRESS makeup to your repertoire and enjoy the take-up from your inspired team and eager clients.

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