David Barnett’s Proven To Work 3-Step Retail Selling Technique

4 min

David Barnett’s Proven To Work 3-Step Retail Selling Technique

When we took it to Instagram to announce that we were going to have David Barnett from the High Performance Stylist as a guest on Phorest FM, the response was incredible. We knew we were on to something, but David blew it out of the ballpark. Now, for those who don’t know David Barnett, he has spent a career working for some of the world’s leading salons in the UK, Ireland and the US with some of his work featured on New York Fashion Week, The Grammys, The MTV Awards, and even he had his California salon chosen to do a pop-up salon for the VIP’s at the Super Bowl 50. During the show, he graced us with some invaluable insights and takeaways on making his three-step retail selling technique part of a salon’s business culture.

The Story Behind It All…

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of his three-step technique, he told us a little story worth sharing:

I was working at John Barrett’s salon in New York. Now this place it does $12 million a year, it does a million dollars a month, and they have unbelievable service in there. And that’s when I realized that it was service over the standard of technical service that is so important – it’s customer service.

However, one day my manager came up to me and she said,“David, you should be doing more retail sales than you’re doing right now.” And I had the textbook reaction to that, or reply to that, and that was, ‘My clients already spend $200 on a haircut, there is no way in the world that they’re going to spend any more money on products, they don’t need it.’ And she said something to me that I will never forget, she said, ‘David, get your head out of your client’s purse. Do not make the decision for them, it’s none of your business whether you feel they can afford it or not, or whether they feel that they deserve to buy a product. All you need to do is to educate your guest on what you’re doing and let them make that decision.’

Read more of the episode’s transcript here.

The thing is, retailing goes far beyond a sales pitch or a mere monetary transaction. It’s all about education, trust, building relationships and becoming the expert that you truly are. And when you understand that, everything makes so much more sense.

retail selling
Click on the image to download the eBook.

The Three-Step Retail Selling Technique

It’s not uncommon to hear stylists and therapists not want to sell retail. In fact, it’s the first I highlighted in Phorest’s retailing ebook I wrote about a year ago. It’s like there is this misconception that clients are just going to go and buy online anyways. But, like David Barnett mentions at some point in the episode: “I’m telling you now, 95% of clients coming through the door would much, much rather buy it from a professional, whose given them great advice on exactly what they use and why they’re using it and when to use it. That’s what you need, they’re going to buy from you every single time if you’re having the conversation.”

Download the visual reminder for this three-step retailing technique!

Listen To Phorest FM Episode 52 (Full Episode)
Read the full transcript here.

Which conveniently leads us to the proven to work retail selling technique he’s been using and teaching other salon owners and stylists for years.

Step 1: The Trigger

First things first, it’s crucial that every time you pick up a product, you cover three topics: what, why and when. David explains:

“You could be in mid-conversation with your clients about her daughter’s wedding or something but if I picked up a product, I would always say to them, ‘Let me just tell you about this product before I use it because it’s absolutely incredible, it’s perfect for your hair.’ And I would tell them what I’m using, why I’m using it, and when to use it. So what, why, and when.”

Step 2: Strategic Product Placement

Then, the whole idea is to put down the product in front of your client -ideally on an uncluttered station- so that it sits there on its own:

“Nine times out of ten, she [the client] would pick up the product, would read it and probably ask me some more questions, probably smell it and just kind of check it out for herself. Then I carry on with the service, so we carry on as normal, go back to the conversation about her and her new dog, or whatever it is.”

Step 3: The Final Question

Step three is the most important part of David’s retail selling technique. If you’ve carefully followed step one and two, then you should have talked about at least three products by the end of the treatment. Whether you have a salon / spa receptionist or not, three of the products you talked about must be brought to the front desk. During his guest appearance on Phorest FM, David Barnett breaks it down as such:

“If you’ve got somebody that checks people out for you, so you’ve got a front desk person or a receptionist or a retail manager, three products up front and you say to her, this is what I used today. She then says to the guest, ‘These are the products that David used on your hair today, did you need anything for home?’ And that is it.

The reason that we have three products up there is for this reason. If you put one up there, then, of course, there is a good chance that she has a full bottle of shampoo at home already and she doesn’t need it. But if you put three up there, either there is a chance that she has run out of one of them or she just feels that she deserves another product or she wants to try it, she’s never used it before and she wants to try it. So, three is the magic number. Often my clients would have taken all three products, but nine times out of ten they would take at least one.”

All in all, a retailing culture keeps your stylists and therapists actively engaged in your salon by showing a professional concern for the client, one that goes far beyond the in-salon experience. It’s selling retail without the hard sell.

Thanks for reading!


Featured imaged shot on location of Nu Essence, in Dublin. © 2017 Phorest Salon Software.

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