Posted by All-Nutrient Professional on Aug 10, 2017

 Is your salon business still growing, or has it reached its peak?

Trying to get new clients in the door without breaking the bank may seem challenging, but there are simple things you can do within your own salon to not only gain new clients, but keep them coming back.


Utilize Social Media Creatively

Social media is free advertising that can be utilized in a multitude of ways, but most only use a fraction of its benefits. The obvious is posting pictures and while it is always a good idea to showcase your work, there is much more you can do with it.

Potential clients turn to social media for reviews. Offer a one-time 5% or 10% discount for Facebook reviews to boost your credibility. The more positive reviews you have, the more potential clients will trust trying out your salon. You can also increase your presence by encouraging current clients to check-in to your salon, or even offer them five percent off of their service. If one of your client’s friends sees a picture of their new ‘do associated with your salon, they’ll want to snag their own appointment too.

One of the best ways to become known as the go-to beauty expert in your area is to go where local beauty mavens go. Search for Twitter hashtags with beauty questions. Find beauty forums online in your area and answer any like questions posted at sites like Yahoo Answers. Include your web address in any replies, but avoid a hard sell. The best practice is to use your own blog, not only to share what you are doing, but to also answer questions from clients. Regularly invite beauty-related discussions on your social media pages and answer them in detail. And NEVER ridicule “How do I fix this?" sort of questions. Instead, invite everyone to post their home haircolor horror photos, then outline a 3-4 visit plan for the fix. You'll become known as the top local beauty expert in no time. 

Another great way to attract new clients is to go out and find them yourself. How can you use Twitter to find clients? First search for Tweets that use hashtags like #yourcity or #yourneighborhood and another term like #badhair, #haircolor, #frizzyhair and more. Then, if you find a local complaining about his or her cut or color, respond with a Tweet of your own, offering a free or discounted fix. Also use local hashtags in your own Tweets about how to fix frizz on humid days. Let the weather be your guide as to what are good beauty tips to Tweet. 


Refresh Your Appearance

If your goal is to try and attract more people into the salon, try mixing up your window display and outdoor aesthetics every few weeks. The eyes are drawn to what is new, so you’ll stand out more, especially to commuters that pass by daily. But, how do you get them to notice? Your salon window is your window to the world. Ask yourself these five questions when putting up your window display: Will this make people want to hit the breaks and come in? Will this attract the clientele that I want? Is this sending the messaging I want for my salon? Is this message creative and different? And, how does this set me apart from other salons?

Consider your messaging. Does it fit the clientele you are trying to bring in? Does it showcase your specialties or what sets you or your salon apart? If you are one of the few dry-cutters in your area, then skip the walk-ins welcome sign and put something up about dry-cutting instead. If you want to attract higher-end clients, you won’t get them into your salon with a sign that says “First Haircut, $20.” You need to think about whom you are trying to bring in and what they want in a salon. So, if you are trying to appeal to a younger, trendier crowd, try incorporating something with fashion colors into your signage. You want to pique people’s interest as they pass by, not blend into the background.


Reward Loyal Clients

Do you advertise and create promotions to get new clients, offering them “first-time" discounts, yet fail to spend a single penny on those who are 80% of your business (your repeat and word-of-mouth clients)? So much effort is put into gaining new clientele that the loyal ones can get ignored. Stop over-fishing for new clients! If you're spending and discounting to get new clients, reallocate some of those funds for the loyal clients who will spend thousands with you in their lifetimes.


Depending on how long you've been in business, create Silver (1 year), Gold (2 years) and Platinum (5 year) bonuses or gifts to be given during a “client appreciation" event or VIP night. Invite everyone who has been a client for over a certain amount of time or who is among your top 20% of spenders. Use the event to launch a loyalty program and start clients off with points, based on their longevity with you. Be sure everyone gets something—tell non-VIP clients about your loyalty program and the points they start off with during their next visit. One way to go about rewards points is to give one point per dollar spent. When a client reaches a certain number of points they can get a service, percentage off, or a dollar amount off. You can also try a tiered point system. For 1,000 points they get a couple of retail products, for $2,500 points, a free haircut, and for 5,000 points, a free color service. How you decide to award them is up to you.


Better Bookings

The best, yet most overlooked way to boost productivity is with pre-booking. Tell clients you're getting busy, remind them you want them to get the appointment that suits their needs, ask them to pre-book and offer an incentive. Discounts, value packages or VIP points all work, but incentives should be awarded only when the client keeps the pre-booked appointment. (To avoid ill will, let them change the appointment if necessary, but don't award the incentive if they cancel it).

Also, if your staff members aren't developing an image plan for clients or exciting them about what's next, have staffers come in 10-15 minutes early to review their books. They should answer one question about each client: What would make him or her look better? This works particularly well if the service can be delivered the day of the appointment, so start with speed services as opposed to seasonal changes and long-term style evolutions. Those can come later, as stylists grow more comfortable with suggesting change.

When it comes to pre-booking, clients don't always do it when they get to the desk. You can have stylists walk the client to the desk to pre-book them, but that's not always possible. Instead, train your desk help to avoid asking clients if they would like to make their next appointment now. Rather, train them to ask clients “In how many weeks would you like to come back?" Their stylists should have told them this number—now, you're reinforcing it.  But more importantly, avoiding questions that elicit yes or no answers gets the pre-booking nearly 70% of the time.


Better Scheduling

Are you open all the right hours for your client's needs? Take a survey and find out. Have the desk query each client who comes through the doors (or calls on the phone) for at least 8 weeks. A computerized chart or form simplifies things. Or, if you have a strong email list, send out an E-blast survey. Then see how many clients want 7 a.m., 10 p.m. or Sunday appointments. If you decide to extend your hours, discuss them with your staff first, and provide incentives if clients want Saturday night styling. Finally, contact clients to see how many will actually pre-book the time slots. You'll know if it's a go or not. 

Scheduling is more than just being open at the right times and as everyone knows, things rarely go according to plan. Clients run late, services can change, and hair can be extra fussy sometimes. A couple of these things can change the pace of your entire day and leave clients waiting. While they may understand a few minutes wait here and there, do not let this become an accepted habit. A good rule of thumb is to add on 30 minutes to an appointment to accommodate for any unforeseen circumstances. If you finish early — great. Use the extra time to clean up your station, wash color bowls, do any administrative work, or even post your recent hair creations on your salon’s social media pages. 

To effectively schedule, you need to account for walk-ins as well. What is your current walk-in policy? If you do not accept walk-ins, make no exceptions. If one person hears you do and then gets turned away it could lead to some bad word-of-mouth and less foot traffic. If you have an open walk-in policy, be careful not to agitate your long-term customers by squeezing someone in. No one likes to wait long, especially with an appointment, and while they may understand the first or second time, it is a quick way to lose customers. If you cannot accommodate another appointment, kindly tell your walk-in client and let them know when you can fit them in. You can give them a 10% card to come back for that appointment.


Topics: Business Talk