Interview with Xavier Coma, Sales Representative for Revlon Professional® in Spain
We interviewed Xavier Coma, sales representative for Revlon Professional® in Spain with a long and fruitful career. Discover his recommendations and tips for hairdressers and professionals working in salons.
How did your professional journey at Revlon Professional® begin?
I joined the selective cosmetics division in 2008. At first, my job consisted mainly in training hairdressers in sales techniques. I was coming from the automotive industry, a completely different world where I learned a lot, especially about the different types of buyers.
This shift in my professional career was a drastic change. When clients go to buy a car, they usually know what model or make they want and arrive motivated to try it out. In the hairdressing sector, the situation is somewhat different because when dealing directly with professionals we don’t know at which moment of their day we will meet them: if they will be focused on a task or engaged in a service to a client; this has taught me a lot about the importance of attitude and listening to people. You have to be cheerful and help customers. I’ve been with Revlon® for 14 years, where I feel I’ve had a lot of success and where I’ve grown as a professional to this day.
How would you define your current role?
The industry is changing and so is my job. My role now is no longer as a salesperson, but rather as a consultant to the hairdresser; understanding the needs of each client (some have four employees and others are alone in the salon), paying attention to their needs, trying to gain their trust so that I can help them and become another member of their team.
Selling is the result of a great job, of my clients paying attention to me and letting me help them. I mainly ask them to allow me to do motivational or sales training, and explain to them how the current market is, the reasons why certain salons grow and others don’t. I insist a lot on explaining why it is important for them to design a protocol when they work because the world is changing; people buy the products through other channels (such as the internet or stores specialized in hairdressing products). My goal is that they manage to increase their average receipt.
My greatest satisfaction is when a client tells me that their numbers have gone up. This is the result of a whole team’s effort during an entire year, a staff that has given me their trust to meet with them and explain what is being done in other salons. I always insist on the importance of a good team of professionals. In the end, the value that I bring to them is my experience and global knowledge of the industry; I can provide an external perspective on what many different salons are doing.
How do you think the hairdresser’s role and needs have changed in the last few years? Where is the profession headed to now?
The work process has totally changed. We have gone from a cut and color in half an hour, because I have several clients waiting, to creating a thorough protocol. We need time to make a professional recommendation, provide the service and advise about the necessary maintenance products.
At salons, we are hair experts. Clients come to have their particular case evaluated, to get their specific hair type cared for or to enjoy a makeover. This is what makes a beautiful and different hairdressing experience.
Today, the professional in the salon is the expert who helps and recommends products and services to clients, which is why, as a coach, my job is to teach and provide the teams with all the training they need, individually or collectively. That’s why it’s very important to have training tools and platforms like Revlon Professional® Always On, with an incredible amount of extremely valuable content that you can take advantage of. It’s a course system that can be taken at any time and from anywhere, including a wide variety of topics: balayage, cuts, highlights, new trends… You have it all on the Revlon Professional® platform, of which I am extremely proud. I believe we should go down this path, hairdressing has changed, the world has changed and we must strive for excellence.
What do you consider are the most important changes that the industry will face over the next few years?
The changes will continue along the same lines, clients should receive personalized advice and an experience rather than a service. It is extremely important to continue training and adapting the work system to these new times. Those who do not do so will not have time to react in order to grow. Salons with a good working protocol, with a well-trained and motivated team, with strong motivation and attitude, will get bigger. Motivating hairdressing teams is crucial for them to have the right mood when the client arrives.
This process is a chain. My mission is to help you expand your business and yours is to make the customer smile.
Based on your experience in the salons with the owners and with the clients… How can we put into practice this role of a coach rather than a salesperson?
In this business we have an opportunity that we must take advantage of: our client spends 45 minutes sitting down, listening to every word we say. We have to remember that, in the end, they don’t come to the salon just because they need a haircut or color, for that they can go to any salon. Every person who leaves their home has several establishments to choose from within a few meters of them.
The customer comes to enjoy an experience. The salons have to be close to excellence and differentiate themselves from the rest, from the moment the person enters until they leave. They should take off and talk about our establishment and how well they have been treated. Whoever remembers us and mentions us, is helping us, but for this to happen, we must offer excellence.
In my opinion, the basis for achieving this is to help, understand and listen to the customer. In short, make a good recommendation and provide a personalized experience. A little pampering: applying a scented hand cream, a scalp massage or advice on the products they use. There are so many things to say about a scalp, a hair problem such as flaking… Detecting these cases is the key to establishing a relationship of trust. It is important not to waste the valuable time we have with the client by commenting on banal topics or focusing on issues that generate negativity.
Clients are visiting the salon less and less often, this gives them the time they need to make a good recommendation and the service is the key to differentiate ourselves. This can be complicated in salons with small teams, which tend to be at full capacity, but it is very important to achieve excellence.
In what ways do you think salons can incentivize and motivate their teams?
For me this point is key. The team is the most important piece for the business to work. I love to talk directly to the teams so I can determine what services they can offer, meet with the manager to discuss opportunities and remind them how much their employees contribute to the salon.
Hold regular meetings every two weeks, work as a team, encourage the teams very well, and recognize their work… All people are equally important. Without a motivated team, it is impossible to grow and make customers happy.
Do you believe that diagnostic services have gained importance in the last few years?
Absolutely, the client needs optimal personalized recommendations. The hairdresser is the expert who helps us to solve any kind of scalp issue, diagnoses fine hair in which to use volumizing products, offers a makeover or gives us a warning about a hair irregularity.
Salons that do not work with a protocol that includes a personalized recommendation service will suffer. Looking at the business from above and working with different types of clients, it is clear to me that salons that offer this service are growing even during difficult times. Consumers are looking for the latest products and trends, therefore training is also key in order to be able to give a proper diagnosis.
From your point of view, what are the secrets to turn an occasional customer into a loyal and regular customer?
First of all, it is important to realize that not everyone can afford to go to the salon on a regular basis. However, to take care of the client, we can offer relatively low-priced treatments that don’t take a lot of time: a scalp exfoliation, for example, a hand massage, or we can also offer a free service for their next visit. All this is fundamental to differentiate ourselves as a salon so that the client chooses us on their next visit as a place of reference where they had a good experience. Loyalty is essential, we must invest in our customers.
If you were the owner of a hairdressing salon, what three actions would you implement to increase the average purchase ticket?
First of all, having a solid team: motivated, professional and well trained. This is the most important element for the owner of a salon. Secondly, create a great working protocol; teamwork is essential, from the moment the client walks through the door until they leave. Getting people to talk about my salon, the attention, what they witness inside and their experience. It is essential to provide a high-quality service with personalized recommendations, to advise on good maintenance products and to be up to date with the latest techniques and trends to be a reference salon in the area.
Thirdly, to give a lot of importance to social media and the digitalization of the salon. I think we are in a sector where it is very important to show our work, the training we do, how professional we are. This is key in the hairdressing world, to obtain good reviews and to get a differentiating element that allows us to stand out. Other digital elements to consider are, for example, the use of digital screens, which allow us to attract the attention of consumers from a strategic place in the hairdressing salon, such as the show window.
The content of the different Revlon® platforms can be a good starting point when creating posts for social media. In our section Empowered salons you can download content of all sorts to use in your social media channels, and if you still don’t follow us on Instagram, be sure to check out our account with all the information you need to stay up to date, find out about the latest news, etc.
How do you think Revlon Professional® can enhance its partnership with hairdressers?
We can clearly see that the competition is increasing. It is important to be different, to take care of our customers and to make them talk about us. Give everyone what they need at that moment, provide help and be at their disposal; in short, to walk hand in hand. I always tell my clients, big or small, that if they trust me I will not let them down. It’s indeed a strong message, but mutual trust is a win-win situation. Our products available at REVLONPROSHOP are very good and we respond quickly.
Is there anything that concerns you about the industry today?
What strikes me the most is how difficult it is to find well-qualified stylists who are willing to work. When working with my portfolio of clients, I see their frustration when searching for personnel, and it should definitely be taken into account when taking care of our team within a group work protocol. It is very important to acknowledge their work, listen to them and take care of them because they are the key to the correct functioning of the salon.
Finally, can you give us a recommendation to enhance and improve the salon experience as a last piece of advice to hairdressers?
To be different and pamper the customer from minute one. Know that they do not come in search of a service, but to live and enjoy an experience, to give them our time, listen to them, and talk more about their diagnosis rather than personal issues. Be as professional as possible and do not judge their choice of services. There are many hairdressers, so it is important to be the best.
If you want to make the most of the resources available to make your salon a success, contact your Revlon® sales representative and get personalized training and advice to keep your clients happy.