Capitalizing on Trade Show Emotions
Every year, our industry conducts dozens of trade shows to display tanning products and services. And every year, thousands of well-meaning salon operators and managers attend dozens of workshops, seminars and keynote speeches that are conceived to elicit better business practices. It would be fascinating to have an “emotion meter” strapped on every trade show attendee to measure their interest and excitement about what they heard or saw; let’s call them “trade show excitement points.” Even more interesting would be to check that meter and see how many points remain when the attendees return home and actually pursue what they got excited about at the show. One of the major reasons that some companies experience more success is because they execute their plans and go after their new-found trade show dreams. I think what we would find is that every year, many salon owners fall behind the success curve that their competition is building on.
At last month’s “Winter Fair,” put on by Heartland Tan in Kansas City, (great show by the way) I spoke with dozens of retailers who are successfully setting up goals for this new peak season and have demonstrated in the past that they can follow through and reshape and redirect their business to become what the consumer really wants in tanning: a valued, unique experience. Then there were others who shared with me their outdated ways of conducting business and wondered why they can’t seem to get ahead (Why anyone would still debate the importance of building an EFT program escapes me!). One thing is true of our industry: if you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind. There is no middle ground: competition for “indulgence dollars” is too fierce and none of your competitors are going to wait for you to catch up. So what do I recommend? An action plan constructed between you, the owner, and your employees. If you have a manager and 4 other associates, 6 heads are always better than one! In the long and short run it will be your employees’ involvement in the execution of the plans that will make a difference, so why not get them involved from the beginning? You say that your employees are not strong enough to be part of the plan’s success? Then they shouldn’t be working for you…period. The days of having staff that only turn on beds and clean up someone’s DNA after tanning are over for those salons not wanting to fall behind. An engaged staff that helps you build your plans for improvements is critical. Jack Welch, the famous ex-CEO of GE often remarked that execution separates companies that lead from those that follow. The same is true in tanning retail.