We Are Sunshine

Paying Attention to Staff Pays Off

Thursday, October 5th, 2023

By Scott Nichols

Employees are your most important assets in the salon you run. Let me clarify: The most important person is the employee who is helping your customers, plain and simple, and there shouldn’t be any argument to that.

That said, we all are guilty of not paying enough attention to these employees all the time. It’s easy to come up with excuses and to stay busy with other important factors of running a business. But, what would happen to your salon if you paid the proper attention to your employees? In this month’s article, we are going to talk about the importance of communicating with your staff, knowing exactly what they’re selling, and creating a team atmosphere.

Importance of Communicating with Staff and Getting Rid of the Excuses

What can happen when you don’t pay the proper attention to employees? Well, without leadership they start to do their own thing. Multiple employees at your salon will all be doing something different – something much different than what you want, I can guarantee that!  They don’t have privy to the information you have. You might need to sell more memberships because you are coming into the slow season, while the employee thinks selling session packages are the way to go because it brings in money today along with making their stats look great. Fast forward to two months later and now you’re in the slow season. You are seeing less customers and you’re no longer selling those packages. You’re now scratching your head wondering what happened.

Communicating and motivating your staff is more important than any ad, commercial or special you can run. I will put a motivated employee up against any special you want to run any day.  But, if you’re not communicating and motivating your staff, things will fall apart fast.

If an employee sees an opportunity to succeed, they will. If an employee sees an excuse to fail they will. As long as they have that excuse, most people are okay with failing –  as long as they feel justified in their failure. It happens all the time. Take Covid-19 for example, as salons started to open back up, I heard how a lot of them were doing great. Customers, employees and everyone else were excited to be back open. But, a month later, the excitement was gone.  Less customers were coming in from a year ago and the numbers were showing it. The employees fell into the negative that surrounded them. It was their excuse or, should I say, their justification to fail.

After seeing this, I started talking with our management team and pointing this out. We saw an immediate turnaround. The very first week we were beating our numbers from a year ago with most stores still seeing less customers. What changed? The excuses were taken away and what was left was the opportunity to excel.

What Employees are Selling

Marketing is important. Most stores wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for the marketing. Our goal with marketing is to bring in new and old customers and keep current ones tanning with us. If you are spending good money on your marketing, it’s vital that you spend good quality time with your staff. Employees are the reason your customers keep coming back. Customer service is vital, but what your staff is selling is important too! Is that actually true? Can sales help with returning customers? Absolutely!

For instance, if your customer count is behind last year, take a look at what you are selling.  Where are your lotion sales, your sunless sales and your new membership sign ups? Think about it: If a customer comes in and your employee sells them a bottle of lotion at $100, do you really think that customer will tan one time and throw that bottle way? Or will that customer come back multiple times because they bought a bottle of lotion. The same goes with selling sunless and memberships.

You have heard me say this before: Dig into your numbers and look at the story they are telling you. Look at the things you are promoting and selling. If you are running a promotion that is 50 percent off regular priced sessions, this might increase your sales and customer count today, but what about tomorrow? When is the next time that customer will come in again? When you run 50 percent off again? Who knows? Selling a good quality lotion, membership or sunless package will increase the chances of the customer coming back in the immediate future. It all starts with an employee selling correctly!

Team Atmosphere

Get to know your staff.  Sometimes it’s a hard thing to do. You might have multiple stores, and it might not be logistically possible to see everyone.

From my experience, the employees you get to know tend to do a better job. They do a better job because they feel like they are an important part of the team. They have a great working relationship with the owner and/or upper management. Asking them questions and getting their opinion might seem like something small to you, but to an employee, it could mean the world. Get to know your staff, because it makes them feel needed and part of the team.

Outside of work, I coach soccer. I have coached soccer for about 10 years, and I can tell you what makes a team work. A team works and succeeds when every single player feels part of the team. They have their coach’s approval, along with their teammates’, and they feel on top of the world. For 10 out of 12 months, we practice twice a week. For the players, the practices are important to learn the game of soccer and to enhance their skills, but it’s also the time where they talk with their teammates and coaches. This is the time we make sure they feel they are an important part of the team.

Even though this is a sport, it’s the exact same thing that can happen in our stores. A great team will succeed due to proper direction from management. If that direction isn’t there, a team can fall apart pretty fast.

If you are upper management or an owner, I hope you are paying attention to your staff. They are important and are there to help you if you show them how. If you are an employee who is reading this, what does your team look like? Is there direction from upper management? Do you know the products you should sell along with memberships? If not, then work with your management team to figure out what would work the best. Each team needs a leader and maybe that leader is you.  Maybe it’s your time to step up and give your team what it needs – direction.