Accurate Thinking in the Salon Business – Do you choose your customers, or do they choose you?

“Most business owners think the purpose of getting a customer is to make a sale. But smart business owners know the purpose of making a sale is to get a customer.”
Dan S. Kennedy, marketing guru, millionaire-maker, and one of my mentors for more than a decade.

Greg Milner, co-founder and CEO, Worldwide Salon Marketing

In any business – and the salon business is no different – the way you think about your position in the market, and how you act on that thinking, is fundamental to your future success.

And the more carefully and deliberately you design your business so that prospects and customers are magnetically attracted to you with a pre-disposition to buy from you, rather than you chasing them, the more successful you’ll be.

My company is no different in that regard. I certainly didn’t dream up the concept. I just sought out the likes of Dan Kennedy and others, studied their teachings, and applied them – haphazardly at first, I’ll admit – to my business.

Many have looked at our success and tried to steal our intellectual property, emulate that success.

Among our Member salons – in more than 15 countries – there has been much curiosity about our business model. So here is how we apply the principles of ‘magnetic’ marketing to our business; why we do it as deliberate strategy…and perhaps the smarter ones among you will be able to study this and ask yourself “How can I apply this thinking to my salon or spa?”

From its earliest days as a spare-room start-up ten years ago, Worldwide Salon Marketing has hired not a single sales rep, made not a solitary telemarketing call, knocked on no salon or spa doors soliciting business, nor cold-called a single salon owner pitching our wares.

And yet the company has been profitable since day one, with a constant stream of salons & spas joining our various marketing, coaching and online programs.

Clearly, the product works. The fact we’ve been wholly or partially responsible for making more money for more salon & spa owners than any other company in the world is testament to that. But a successful business isn’t about product (or service).

It’s about the method by which we attract our customers. We do it by NOT approaching them.

How can this be? Conventional business ‘wisdom’ has it that sales is about wearing out shoe leather, hordes of sweaty salesmen tramping from door to door, armies of telemarketers slaving over banks of phones and computer screens to get appointments, all aimed at securing a meeting in which the prospect finally and wearily signs on the dotted line if only to ease the pain of having their brains beaten in for three hours.

But we’ve never done any of that hard-labour. By deliberate strategy, we have instead forced prospective members to seek us out, jump through hoops to get to us, and pass careful but largely-invisible testing to qualify for membership.

Why make it difficult for our customers to get to us? Primarily, because it increases our value. Pure scarcity marketing, which is what we teach all our Members.

But there is another mainly selfish reason. It’s about the quality of people we attract as Members. Most businesses will take anybody as a customer. And indeed, in the early days I did the same, and quickly learned the folly of such a strategy (or lack of strategy).

If you look at our main marketing document here, you’ll notice that there’s a LOT of information, videos, testimonials, explanation – detail, detail, detail.

The entire page is deliberate strategy to weed out those who will not apply themselves, who are not willing to study what it takes to be successful, who not only don’t want to learn how to fish, they want the fish handed to them on a plate, preferably filleted and fried, who are only interested in an instant-coffee solution to their problems, a magic bullet they can fire with no thought, application or self-imposed discipline and application.

It’s selfish on my part because I simply can’t be bothered dealing with people who won’t read, who must be dragged kicking and scraming to the trough, who – if they manage to slip through the net (and a few do) – will sit their copy of the Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit on their salon shelf and expect it to miraculously leap off and gang-tackle prospects as they walk by the shop, with no input or effort from themselves. Who argue with our coaches at every turn, insisting that ‘it’ (the system) doesn’t ‘work’, despite overwhelming proof that it does work for thousands of other salon owners all over the world.

Every salon or spa has ‘project’ clients, those requiring inordinate amounts of tact, diplomacy, cajoling and nurturing far out of proportion to their value to the business. (Definition of tact: making people feel at home when you really wish they were.)

So by deliberate strategy, we’ve structured our marketing and sales process to limit not only our availability, but to elevate the quality of those we choose to do business with.

Eg., when we interview prospective members after they’ve completed one of our surveys, either online or offline via our newsletters, we carefully question them on how much they have read and absorbed the (large amount of) information we’ve published about WSM’s programs, membership fees, rules of membership etc. If the answer is ‘nothing, I just filled in the form’, they are politely but firmly turned away, with instruction to go back and educate themselves, and then come back and talk to us.

No doubt this strict policy of being careful about who we let in has cost us dearly in terms of revenue. But I have no doubt it has also saved us much annoyance and wasted resources attempting to teach the unteachable, and diverted resources from those who have not come to us merely expecting a silver bullet, fired with no effort on their part.

Those of you who are ‘our kind’ of customers will already be studying this model and asking ‘how can I apply this thinking to my business?’

And those visitors to this site who are clearly NOT our kind of customer…well, your eyes would have glazed over before getting this far anyway, and clicked through to somewhere else where the promise of easy success with no effort shines brighter.

My Salon Success App

My Salon Success App

If you ARE serious about becoming a business owner and entrepreneur in the beauty business, not merely a technician who’s bought herself a job, then you may want to start here, with My Salon Success magazine for the iPad. Download the first issue free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About The Author

Greg Milner

Greg Milner, CEO & Founder, Worldwide Salon Marketing. Greg is a writer, marketing consultant, direct response advertising expert and former TV producer. Since founding WSM in 2004, he's coached and guided more than 4,000 salons & spas all over the world in all aspects of marketing, both online and offline. The tools and templates he and his team have developed are used by salons & spas on every continent. He is the author of the industry-standard direct response marketing manual, Simple Salon Marketing, and the e-book Rich Salon Owner.