Client advice to increase sales for your salon

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Did you know that you can create opportunities to separate yourself from the competition by addressing some common client gripes?

Here are the top four that I hear.

4) Show more appreciation for loyal clients. Many salons tend to ignore their client retention problem despite the flashing neon warning sign. The data shows that it’s always cheaper to keep your current clients than to find new ones. Find ways to engage and reward your clients that continue to refer their friends and value your skills.

Marketing Idea: Promote weekly specials to encourage your regular clients to book appointments on your slower days or increase their spend per visit. Don’t allow your best clients to be tempted by the popularity of local deal offers, like Groupon. You can create exclusive deals that are only offered to your current clients via email.

In addition, you can try some loyalty deals on Facebook. Think of an old school punch card but better. Instead of stamping a postcard, clients can “check-in” while sitting under the dryer. You control how many times they must visit to receive the discount and even how many people can claim the discount.

3) Support your clients’ quest for knowledge about their hair. Your job is not just to do their hair but serve as a guide on their overall hair journey. Show that you will offer support throughout their 12-18 month hair project to achieve their goals. Today, the advice of non-licensed beauty bloggers (and the YouTube hair video queens) often carries more weight than the knowledge gained from beauty industry veterans.

Marketing Idea: Blogging is a tactic that I recommend strongly. You can also go to where potential hair-nistas hang out at beauty meet-ups and online forums. I recently went to a fabulous one in New York City, Curly Girl Collective. At these events, women exchange hairstyle ideas and talk about products. You can really represent your beauty swagger in the midst of a group thirsty for knowledge. Seize these opportunities to network with potential clients.

2) Describe yourself as more than just “upscale.” Many salons use the term “upscale” as only an empty marketing tactic. Years of experience does not make you upscale.  Attracting clients with high power jobs also does not cut it either. Quality service and amenities make you upscale.

I don’t want to get Oprah on you (I miss my 4 p.m. daily fix already) but many of you confuse your clients with mixed messages. The overuse of the term “upscale” in your marketing materials can be frustrating to clients.

Marketing Idea:  Ask your top clients what they really love about you. Use what they say to attract more clients like them by incorporating their words in all your marketing efforts. Maybe what your clients really love about you is that you are “innovative,” “family-friendly,”value your client’s time,” “committed to all natural products,” or “well-trained.”

You may need to guide your clients a little to give this kind of feedback with an informal survey. Or you may be able to take some of the words that they use in your online reviews. These other words may have more meaning to your clients. Don’t just rest on the cliché of calling yourself “upscale.”

1) Book YOUR time in a way that values THEIR time. Constantly being late or over-booking reflects negatively on your ability to manage your operations and your brand. Many of your clients share with me that this is often the Number One reason that they leave you. It’s not your pricing driving clients away (or the economy). It’s your time management.

Don’t rationalize bad habits by your staff by saying that “she continues to come.” From my research of some of the top salons in the country, managing time is critical. These salons don’t just focus on technical great hair results. As good business owners, these salons analyze their work flows to make sure that they optimize how they book without sacrificing their clients’ experiences.

Marketing Idea: Consider sending out text messages to let your clients know about available appointments on one of your slow days. Check out this case study of a salon using mobile messaging. You can send a text message at 10 a.m. to your clients that says “Need an appointment today, we had a last minute cancellation.” Instead of concentrating on overbooking, which hurts your brand, work on filling your chairs on off-peak days.

I hope that you try some of these ideas. Post a comment if you have any questions or that you have found this helpful.

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