Selling Luxury in Today’s Economy
By Joe Zuccarello
SPA Services offered in Grooming Salons continue to amaze pet parents and are some of the most talked about topics between pet owners and their friends and family. With the trend of pet humanization still going strong, a growing majority of us see our pets as a beloved member of our family and naturally want the very best for them. This desire for our pets’ well being has driven Pet Professionals to consider offering supplemental or extra service offerings to drive sales and enhance the pet and pet owner experiences with our businesses. I can hear it now, “Joan, you won’t believe what I treated my dog Buddy to while he was at the Groomer today?! After all it is his birthday and he deserves it!”. This may sound very familiar to you. Word of mouth referrals remain the top method of getting new customers. A referral for good grooming is one thing. A referral for good grooming with exciting extra services purchased during the appointment is a BONUS!
As Facial Scrubs, Paw Treatments, Aromatherapy, Massage, Acupuncture, Hydro-Therapy, Tread Mill Workouts, Oral Care, Nail Painting, and other pet pampering services continue to pop up in salons all over the world, if you are taking advantage of this services phenomenon at some level you may be missing out. If you are offering some or all of these services, or if you are contemplating starting to offer these services, you are probably asking yourself how you can go from groomer extraordinaire to salesperson extraordinaire. Believe me, selling is MUCH easier than grooming! You are the Expert and your clients rely upon your expertise to recommend beneficial services for their pets.
I have written about three selling “rules” below, which if you follow my advice, will help you prove to yourself you can be successful at selling and in turn, reap the rewards of your efforts.
Somebody once told me; “Those with money are still spending it”. This is the first rule of selling. I know it is hard to believe, but there are still plenty of people out there still spending their money on what some may consider to be frivolous or unnecessary things. Almost every market has a population of people in it that can afford to live a lavish lifestyle. To understand the buying patterns of such people, we need to ask ourselves this question. Why do people spend money on luxury items anyway? One reason could be they can afford it, so why not?! Another reason could be they want to keep up with the Jones’. Yet another reason may be they value the product or service so much that they couldn’t fathom going without it. Let’s focus for the sake of this writing, on the “value” reason I just mentioned. Why do we focus on the value factor? Value is an equalizer of economic classes. Whether you are white collar or blue collar, all appreciate value.
What is value? Some would define it as the validation between price and product. These people would likely agree if the product or service is offered at a fair price compared to alternative products or services, they see value in the purchase. Oh, if it were that simple! Really, value is more often defined by the individual’s perception of what is a fair price for the non-monetary emotional fulfillment a purchase gives them. In other words, “how will this make me feel after I buy it?” or “how will I feel if I don’t buy this?”. Many feel guilty about leaving their pet at a Pet Resort or even at the Grooming Salon for a brief period of time so they place a high value on providing the pet an enjoyable experience while they are apart. Some would argue this doesn’t make the pet miss their owner any less, but I can guarantee it makes the owner feel better about leaving their pet! That’s emotional value!
I have truly seen people arrive at very nice Pet Resorts in a vehicle that looks like they live in it, only to come in and spend hundreds of dollars on their pet. This is the second rule of selling. Don’t judge a book by its cover. In this case, don’t judge a customer by their appearance. Another version of this rule could be applied when you assume that because you think a product or service is expensive, so too will the customer. Making this mistake could result in losing the sale because you didn’t even ask or the customer gets upset because they didn’t know the service was even available. In either case, the customer loses, the pet loses, and you lose.
The third, most important rule in selling is the easiest rule of all. Just ask. Ask every customer if they would like to buy what you are offering. Pick your favorite two or three items or services you offer and ask every customer if they would like to buy them. Is it really this simple? YES! Try it. More will say “no” than will say “yes”, but compared to not asking at all, the “yesses” will have a huge impact on your income. Don’t be pushy. You are just asking. Nothing more. If they say no, that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Here’s your challenge. Starting tomorrow (or today if you are the ambitious type), ask every customer to buy your extra services, and you will sell more than you ever have. If you have staff, teach them to do this also. Do this every day, every week, every year, and you will love the results!