In Part One of this article we looked at whether or now new clients is what you really need? We looked it identifying who your idea client is, where to find them and how to get more clients using the referrals. But what if you only have a few clients and even after you have asked for referrals and given them nudge by creating a great offer you still need more. What next?
The Three Step “Client for Life” Strategy
The idea is simple:-
Step 1 – Get them in to your salon!
Step 2 – Get them in to your salon again!
Step 3 – Maintain.
The key here is on both occasions to over deliver on your offering. Obviously make sure the treatment or service your customers have is outstanding on both occasions, but make sure that you give them something else that they were not expecting. You will have to decide what this is, maybe a glass of wine, a product or gift to take home or a voucher for a meal in a local restaurant? One of my clients in London, a health and beauty salon, professionally cleans all their customers jewellery when they are having a treatment. The customer has to remove their jewellery anyway and then when their treatment is finished they are presented with sparkling rings, bracelets and necklaces. This is not something that the customer expected and what an amazing surprise. Do you think they come back again? Do you think they tell their friends?
So, its simple . . . get them in, get them back again and over deliver on both occasions. Do this and so long as you then maintain high standards you have a client for life . . . guaranteed!
I said it was simple, I didn’t say it was easy!
Step 1 – Getting them in!
So you have used the referral offer and this has generated some, but not enough, new clients. You need some other tactics. No problem. To start off you need an irresistible offer, something that your ideal client – remember them – could not turn down. This could be their first treatment half price, maybe even FREE? A free colour with a standard cut, 3 free nail varnishes with their first manicure or a free facial with their first massage? The more creative and the more perceived value the better . . . but keep it simple and make sure it is not going to bankrupt you on day one.
Now you need to get the message out there. Use social media by all means, I would always advise this is part of your marketing efforts, but you might have yet to build a following on social media platforms so you are going to need some faster results. There is no limit to the amount of ideas you can come up with to promote and advertise your salon business and your services locally when you get thinking. Here are some tried and tested methods to get you of to a great start:
An A Board outside your Salon with ONLY your Special Offer on it or a poster in your Window. An A Board is better as it physically grabs the attention of passers by, it is easy to miss a poster in a window. If your salon opens on to a very busy street check to see if you need permission to put the board outside. Make sure the wording on the board is clear and easy to understand. If you are not great at writing on boards, get someone else to do this for you. Remember that you are attempting to make a great first impression here.
Flyers posted through doors in your local area or handed out in your local area are always a great idea to gain local interest. You can do this yourself or you can pay someone, but make sure it is someone you trust to make sure that the flyers actually make their way in to homes or the hands of passers by! You can have flyers professionally printed quite reasonably these days, or you can design them on a computer and print them out. Remember that this could well be the first impression people have of your salon so make sure that the flyers are of a standard that represents you and your business.
Local Businesses are a great source of new clients. Go and visit them when people are around. If you are surrounded by offices with lots of office workers then lunchtime might be a great time to do this. Again hand out flyers or maybe even see if you can set up a pop up salon for a day in the offices and do some mini treatments for people who work there to promote your salon.
Local Community Magazines are making a real comeback these days. These are the small magazines that are posted through your door and contain local business details as well as other local information and “whats on” listings. An advert in one of these is usually very affordable and you can pretty much guarantee that these are making their way in to the hands of people locally. If you are not sure what magazines are available locally, either ask a local resident or have a look at the stands usually as you enter or exit large supermarkets.
Be your own advert! This might be stating the obvious and you are likely already doing this, but be a walking advert for your own salon. I don’t mean walk around shouting the name of your salon at the top of your voice, I mean “look the part”. If you are a hair stylist make sure your hair is always looking great, if you are a nail technician always have a striking nail design. The same idea goes for barbers, beauty therapists and make up artists. If you are a massage therapist this becomes a little more difficult, but you get what I mean.
Talk to people, carry business cards and be a self promoter. To a lot of people this always feels a little uncomfortable, but you have a passion for what you do. You genuinely want to provide an excellent service for people, so why not tell people this and get them in to your salon!
Finally . . . . Look Busy! Have you ever been looking for a place to eat in an area you are not familiar with. You see two restaurants, one is full of people, everyone looks happy and there may even be a queue out the door. The other one has no one sat at the tables, waiters standing around talking to each other or leaning on the bar. Which one do you pick?
Even if you don’t have all the clients you want right now, always make sure you look busy . . . you have all the things above to be working on after all. So enjoy this time while you have it, keep busy so that when people look in the window of your salon they see you are busy working even if there are no clients just yet.
If you really go for it with your irresistible offer and then get the word out there using the above ideas and anything that you can think of yourself, then you will not fail to get people in to your salon.
Now, it is essential to this strategy that when your new clients visit you for the first time you maintain a high level of service and do something to over deliver. It doesn’t need to be something big or expensive, just something that they will enjoy and that they were not expecting.
Step 2 – Get them in to your salon again!
This one is much easier than Step 1. While they are still with you ask them if they would like to make another booking. If they have had a great treatment or service they are more than likely to simply say “yes”. Book them in to the diary now! You can enhance this by having a second offer for returning clients. It is up to you whether this offer is only available to clients if they take it up now or if it is something they can think about. The important thing is that you ask them if they would like to make another appointment now and if not that you have some method of contacting them later.
Again on the second visit for the client make sure you give them the highest level of service. If possible do something again to over deliver, try to make it something different that you gave to them on their first visit to keep it unexpected and fun.
Step 3 – Maintain
If you get your new clients in to your salon twice, deliver an excellent service and over deliver with something they were not expecting. Then you have the makings of a client for life. Keep delivering a great service, possibly with the occasional special gift or treat, why wouldn’t they keep coming back to you again and again. Even better, they will tell their friends about it!
Keep in Touch!
I advise my own clients to make sure that they always ask their clients if they would like to make a future appointment at the end of their current visit. Most people will, some may cancel later or postpone, but this is the easiest way to keep your appointment book full. When people see you have a full appointment book this gives the impression of scarcity and will show that you are in demand which only serves to make you even more popular.
However, not everyone will make an appointment as they pay for their current one. This is where making sure that you have contact information for ALL your clients is vital. This could be an email address or a mobile phone number, ideally both. Every study ever done on the subject shows that keeping in touch with your customers, keeps customers. This only need be a single page quarterly newsletter sent by email, but regular contact with your clients of some kind keeps you in their mind so when they know they want a new hair style, a massage or a make over they call you first . . . if they can get an appointment now you are so busy!
But with all these discounts, I will not make any money?
You will have to determine what offers you can realistically offer. Make it the best offer you can and that will almost certainly be an irresistible offer. Remember to think of the lifetime value of a client rather than in terms of this one appointment. You only need a few loyal repeat clients to make a huge difference to your business and your revenue.
What if I am doing all these things and I am still not keeping clients?
OK . . . harsh truth time! If you really are doing everything that I have suggested above and you are not getting or keeping clients then you might need to take another look at your skills, your service and your salon. First, are you REALLY doing everything, EVERYTHING you can to get new clients? Look over the list of ideas above and make sure you are using all of them plus some of your own ideas. If you are using referrals and offers as well as getting the word out there in every possible way you will get clients. If you are not keeping your clients then are you not delivering the very highest levels of service. Take a look at every aspect of your salon from the clients point of view. Is there anything at all you could improve upon . . . if you are unsure then ask clients who have been in to see you and have not visited you again. You should have their email addresses after all. Write a pleasant email to as many clients as you can asking them politely what, if anything, they would improve about their visit to your salon. Not everyone will reply, but some will and maybe they will be able to tell you where the problem lies?
Your aim overall is to develop and maintain a reputation, one for excellent service. This will set you apart from other salons in your area and word will begin to spread automatically. You could very quickly have more clients than you know what to do with and better still, if you have followed the steps in this article, you will have a client list full of your ideal type of clients.
If you have any methods that you have used get new clients that worked well for you and you would like to share them, why not leave a comment below.
Image by: State Library of Victoria