How to Sell Beauty Products

Sales are considered to be the most difficult area among beauticians. However, the percentage of sales is the largest source of income, which largely influences the income of a beautician. The Estonian Cosmetics Association visited the founder and leader of the biggest beauty retail store in the Nordic region, Tradehouse, Avo Kivimaa, to find out what is the secret of successful sales!

Foto: Rauno Liivand
Foto: Rauno Liivand

Estonian Cosmetics Association: Tradehouse's beauty retail store has been very successful for 16 years. What was the story behind this great and powerful organization?

Avo Kivimaa: When we started this business, the market situation was such that only beauty salons sold the professional beauty products. I decided to make a store where the regulated pricing policy, allows shopping for both, professionals and retail customers.

The beginning was not easy, it required enormous energy and dedication. Since years ago I was a sales representative at a company selling professional products to hair salons, I realized that there is a need for such a store.

Very many companies are afraid of competition. They are working hard to think about new, brilliant business ideas, but they often do not notice that in front of their noses are plenty of opportunities to start their "own story". 

EKL: What is one recommendation for beauticians to sell better?

AK: One is not enough:) But the rule number one is that we can not sell! We must not sell, because it ruins process and it is not possible to move on from that. Our goal is to recommend. However, we need to complete this so-called "sales", close sales and use traditional sales techniques, but: we must not sell. If the customer realizes that, the beautician is actively selling something, a product or service, then we unfortunately already have "lost the battle".

EKL: Do You have some more suggestions :) 

AK: Many beauticians set their own limits. They lock their thoughts, and instill in themselves that no one will buy this expensive cream. My recommendation is to get rid of this kind of thinking. Clean your thoughts and get rid of obsessive thoughts and start with a clean slate with your client. If we were able to treat the sales process in such a way, that we provide a solution to the problem of our client, whatever it would be - dry skin, dry hair or bad nails. Often we have no courage to suggest solutions. This is, however, an extremely wrong approach. That's why it's important to think about it beforehand and put an end to that false noise in your head. Look for experiences of other with this specific product and start recommending. If the customer service representative does not communicate with the customer in order to sale, then, unfortunately, the client will not ask questions, and product will stay on shelf.

EKL: What is the biggest mistake of Estonian beautician in sales? 

AK: One of the main mistakes that are made, beautician brings her own problems into the situation, and then this position is passed on to the client - I have no money, then nobody else does.

Second, when we divide people into two groups - those who are humanitarian and others who are science oriented. Beauticians are predominantly humanitarians, beings who like art, creativity, and crafts. The business and the mathematical side are not so pronounced in their case. An "ideal" beautician would have both the qualities - she/he likes her/his work and creative side, and she/he can also turn it into a commercial benefit. Among the beautician, however, the most common thing is that they like their work, but the sales are more reluctant activity and seem to be coercive.

EKL: Does this mean that beauty salon owners are thinking of improving their business skills, but beauticians, whether they are hairdressers, beauticians or makeup artists, are also entrepreneurs, but they do not approach their work from this perspective at all. 

AK: Yes, that's right. Each customer service representative is an entrepreneur, because as much as she/he works, the better she/he is providing for her-/himself. Let's not just talk about products, but about sales in general. When I talk about selling, I also mean the service.

For example: let's assume that the customer will take an eyebrow correction and tinting. The procedure costs around 10-15 euros. Usually, the beautician tidies client's eyebrows as agreed and sends her/him out of the cabinet.

Another option, however, is that the beautician will, during the eyebrow correction, sell additional services to the customer by introducing her/him other services provided by the beautician. It is important that the customer does not leave the salon without the next booking. From where the beautician will otherwise find her/his customers? Many beauticians are discontinuing their work because they have not found enough loyal customers. Who has to find customers for them? If the beautician does not sell, then she/he will not find customers either and her/his clientele cannot grow.
Foto: Gerda Carina
Foto: Gerda Carina

EKL: I will take the opportunity and ask what should the beautician more precisely tell the customer that the client should return? 

AK: It is important to ask open questions, not those that are easily answered either YES or NO. For example, instead of asking "do you want to make a new appointment?" to which the customer can answer, for example, "yes, I'll definitely come back in case needed", it's better to ask "When can you come again?" This gives the client the opportunity to offer a specific time. All sales tips are learnable and there are hundreds of these. However, you should always start with simple techniques, especially less experienced beauticians who are just starting their career as a beautician.