As you read this article, imagine the strains of the “James Bond Theme” playing in the back of your mind…
It should seem readily apparent to all of us that the days of double-digit unique tanner or individual sessions are in the past… as in the movie From Russia with Love, it was quite an adventure trying to determine what to do with all these tanners, but both that annual growth and representatives of “SPECTRE” are gone.
Unlike Mr. Bond, you want to keep all of your staff both “shaken AND stirred.”
Salons now have to get a bigger piece of the market, which is to say their competition’s market share, and for that they have to do some spying on their competition.
In the last 12 months, our consultants have many times helped salons install a staff “spy” who actually spends home team money tanning at a competing salon. “What, give money to the enemy?” Yes, good G-2 is not free. There are so many positive takeaways from an undercover sleuth that it’s hard to know where to begin the list, but here we go:
The spy (one of my clients prefers “scout,” saying it sounds less predatory) should be an employee who knows precisely what to look for or experience in the enemy salon. How was the greeting you got when you walked through the door? Was it real and sincere? Did anyone take the time to work on rapport: perhaps complimenting ANYTHING about you? “Oh, those shoes are really cute, where did you get them?” Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have vanities, and even the simplest compliment can be powerful in getting us to relate to the person doing the selling. (No, “Wow, John! You don’t look as old as you do in your photo!” won’t do it).
Building rapport is key to getting a customer to buy from someone “they know, like, and trust.” Also, the spy should be checking out the enemy equipment for recognizably old lamps, worn acrylics and cleanliness of the beds and rooms, and noting the deals being offered. Don’t let your customers tell YOU what the competition is doing – get your spy to find out before you lose business. Social media presence? Yup, your spy should be a subscriber to all the media that the enemy is using. For example, too often I start my consulting with salon owners and managers who don’t have a clue that the enemy is currently offering, say, a free-tan week. Lastly, the spy should do a traffic count at the competition on a Monday evening between 4 and 6pm. Compare that count to your own. If you do that volume every two weeks, you’ll know if your market share of tanners, or at least your number of sessions, is going up or down. Often, the spy can really help shake things up in the owner’s and employees’ thinking.