When Leon and Anita Smith looked at the forward appointment schedule in their Port Melbourne salon a couple of weeks ago, things looked grim. You could fire a cannon through it and not hit anyone.
It’s enough to send many salon owners into a panic, frozen into inaction. But Leon & Anita had signed up as Members of Worldwide Salon Marketing a few months ago. They’d already learned enough, had some quiet success with the marketing templates and systems their membership gave them. In short, they had confidence.
So they did something few salon owners seem to think of these days. They didn’t merely send out a lazy email and hope. They didn’t sit at the computer tinkering around on Facebook. And they certainly didn’t lounge around drinking coffee and moaning about ‘how tough things are’ while waiting for their next customer to walk through the door.
The answer, in fact, was sitting on their reception desk, right alongside the computer. It was (drum roll please…) the telephone!
That’s right, that old-fashioned, clunky device that for decades has been the salesperson’s best friend, until a few years ago when all those bright shiny things like email and social media seemed to offer such an easy way to actually avoid direct contact with customers.
Anita picked up the phone and started calling clients they hadn’t seen for 10 weeks or so.
“The response was stunning,” she says. “I picked 20 clients we hadn’t seen for a while, and just started phoning them and offering them package deals. These were clients that were accustomed to spending several hundred dollars a time on things like colour and hair extensions.
“We sold at least 5 hair extension packages at $800 each, plus a bunch of other packages ranging from $189 up to $275 – in the end we brought in about $5,800 we never would have seen, and in a single day turned a dull week into a brilliant week. We were astounded at the effectiveness of this kind of marketing.”
The effectiveness of this kind of Massive Action comes as no surprise. And it works in ANY kind of business. It’s well-known that there’s little money in selling appliances – fridges and TVs are mere commodities, defined and purchased almost entirely on the basis of price. Kmart long ago abandoned its white-goods division because there’s ‘no money in it.’
Try telling that to John Winning of Appliances Online. Their sales increased by 35% last financial year to more than $150m, and I suspect it had a lot to do with Winning’s ‘direct action’ policies. Get this: in their down-time, his staff don’t soak up hours sweeping floors or trying to look busy. They hand-write thank-you letters to customers they’ve dealt with, attracting a stream of appreciative cards in return. Imagine that…how…quaint and old-fashioned. But it works.
If you got a hand-written note from an online company you’d just bought a fridge from, wouldn’t you sit up and take notice? You bet you would.
Here’s the lesson: in the rush to embrace technology, don’t let it become an excuse for what I call ‘avoidance behaviour.
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