How Can You Captivate Client’s Heart?
Interview with KARA Hair’s Communication Master Brian Kim
Interview with KARA Hair’s Communication Master Brian Kim
We met 6-year veteran salesman Brian Kim (50), Associate Manager of KARA Hair, whose gentle first impression was spiced up with humble and well-groomed attitude and manner. You can tell “he’s a good person” in a glimpse. We conducted an interview to hear about his philosophy and personal belief on communication and relationship with people in sales.
Customers are turning to online, and the competition in the offline is getting fierce. The market is finite, but the number of stores is on the rise. Although not many newcomers are trying their luck in beauty supplies, a lot of beauty supply businesses seem to open new locations. The excessive competition within the industry makes store owners scream in agony. However, when I started sales about six years ago, I heard the same story. In fact, the retail shift due to e-commerce and the fierce offline competition are balanced with the increase of African American population. Personally, I think you can turn risk into opportunity. As long as you can stand out from the competition, you should be able to make success.
Customers always look for something new and something special. You need keep making changes to quench the thirst. When visiting supply stores, I sometime find a store feels different from the last time even though there’s not much changed. A minor adjustment of display and color makes a greatly different impression on me. To captivate customers’ eyes and hearts, you must keep making changes even with minor details. Price competition has its limit. You have to captivate customers’ heart while keeping a moderate profit margin.
Among others, you can instill a fantasy about beauty for customers. When you make suggestions about a product, you should simulate the “before and after” look for the customer. For example, if there’s a customer looking for a wig, you can make her imagine herself wearing this product and meeting her boyfriend. With the illustration of makeup, accessories, and clothes, you can tell a story about her overall makeover. You can add details such as weekdays or weekends or a specific party for an extra. Wanting to become beautiful is a basic desire of a human being, especially for a woman. It’s very important to make her visualize a more beautiful herself. I think that makes easier to captivate customers’ heart.
We have Remi Blue Yaki. It is one of the most popular products catching two rabbits: quality and price. Since its launch about two and a half years ago, it has been the top seller. Let’s say a customer walks in with $30 in her pocket to find a weaving hair product. You need two packs of weaving hair and accessories including glues to complete a look. Generally, a pack of weaving hair runs from $15 to $20. Now, she gets disappointed because a high-quality Remi weaving hair is not attainable with her budget. Now, she looks into synthetic hair products, but it’s too late. Once you’ve seen the high-quality products, low-quality products will not satisfy her eyes. There comes Remi Blue Yaki from KARA, that meets the price and quality the customer desires. With the $30 budget of hers, she can buy two hair packs and have some left. The left can be used for hair accessories. Then, you need to add some details about how she would look with the Remi Blue Yaki and the accessories on her head; this should likely lead to sale.
I try to listen and emphasize. Especially, many store owners feel stressed and are burnout. Many of them complain about the hardship. I try to listen to their stories and show sympathy, and that seems to be a means of catharsis for them.
My job is to make sales. However, I don’t consider sales as my top priority. When a person makes a relationship with another, transactions follow the relationship. I don’t rush to things. I don’t like pressuring them. I simply try to understand them and make good relationship. I want to be remembered as a good person. I want to sympathize with their hardship and provide some relief for their hardship.
It’s tough. Everyone’s different. People have different backgrounds, personalities, situations, and ways of living. That’s why I don’t try to make suggestions or advices hurriedly. Although I go into a store prepared, I try not to generalize with very limited information about the store owner. In the beginning when I was a newbie, I had an incident where I made an advice that led to a misunderstanding. The store owner had worked in the beauty industry for 30 years, and I tried to make an advice presumptuously. My intent was good, but I offended him in the end. Since then, I try to listen one more time and empathize with them even if I feel like I understand what’s going on. I also try to talk about the goods things around the store than the bad things. After talking about many good things, I say “despite all these good things, I think you can make things better with this aspect, which can be done by introducing this product of ours.” Surely, I don’t always make to that far, but if I built some relationship, that’s enough for a time. I can always come back next time for another shot.
Of course, I get tired physically and mentally after going on a business trip for three weeks in a row away from my family. I think quitting smoking and drinking helped a lot for me. In South Korea, I drank a lot as I was left behind in South Korea to work and pay for my family in the U.S. I quit drinking after coming to America. In the weekends, I almost always spend time with my family. Gardening is my precious hobby. My garden is where I could invite people and spend time with my family. Lastly, though I don’t like fluctuating between happiness and sadness, I tried to live in the moment with the feeling of achievement. A little achievement can invigorate me through a tough day.
I got tired of living in South Korea alone supporting my family in the U.S. after five years, so I came to America in my age of 40, which was ten years ago. I worked at a beauty supply store for two years after being introduced by an acquaintance. With the experience, I stepped into the hair sales world. Even in America, I feel dissatisfied when it comes to having enough time with my family, especially with my children. While doing this and that to make a living, my oldest child went to college and another goes to college next year. The time has come for my children to leave their parents, but I feel sorry that I couldn’t make more memories together. I also feel sorry for my wife because I couldn’t be with her when she was sick. For all those years, however, I supported my family and raised the children, so I have no regrets.
I will do my best in what I’m doing. I want to leave that “Bumwon Kim was a nice guy” memories to people I met. I also want to leave my humble footprints in the sales world.
It’s the new year of 2020. Please stay healthy and positive even if there are difficulties. I think you can overcome them. Challenge yourself and leap forward in the Year 2020. Thank you.