How to Sell Your Salon – By Uncovering the Hidden Value

Marnie here,
When I sold my first salon business, I got a fat six figures for it.
Now, for most owners of a typical hair or beauty salon, that seems like an awful lot of money to ask. And it is, but I was able to get it because I’d uncovered some hidden value that your garden-variety business broker or accountant wouldn’t even think to look for.
Let alone your well-meaning friends and family.
I was reminded of this when I took a phone call from one of our Members the other day.
“I’m going to put my salon on the market,” she said. “I’ve worked hard for five years, it’s time to start a family.”
So, I asked, is the business ready for sale? 
“I think so. I take a good salary, we have great products, lots of regular clients, and the salon looks wonderful and it’s in a great location…”
But when I started asking questions, I could tell from the tone of her replies that this was going to be a disappointing conversation for her.
And that’s because there’s a gaping difference between what the owner of a business thinks has value, and what an astute prospective buyer thinks is valuable.
(And I use the word ‘astute’ with caution. With stars in their eyes, many a beauty therapist or stylist on the hunt for their own business will fall in love with the ‘pretty’ surface and fail to look at what really matters.)
First, the ‘standard’ way to value a business.
Financials (obviously). 
An accountant will look at a business the way accountants do, with a calculator, analysing past performance, profit and loss, assets and liabilities, and come up with a ‘valuation’ for you based on those bare essentials. 
Valid, certainly, but extremely limited, and limiting. Past performance is only half of the story. 
Stock, fixtures and fittings and shop lease (again, obviously) 
Yes, they may have some value. But have you ever tried to sell second-hand furniture? It’s worth next to nothing. Retail products? 
You’ll need to be a very good salesperson to get anything like what you paid for it. And an astute buyer will screw you down on the remaining term of the shop lease, knowing you’re legally obliged unless they’re prepared to have the lease assigned to them. 
Then there’s that hoary old chestnut, 
It’s just air. Business vendors will, usually on the advice of their accountant/broker/business coach, attempt to ascribe a dollar value to that most intangible of intangibles, the ‘goodwill’ or loyalty of the customers to the business. 
These days, there is little or no loyalty. And buyers know it. Don’t even think about trying to pull that one over them. 
Now to the stuff you haven’t thought about, and certainly your accountant hasn’t….
Your database. 
By far the most valuable, most measurable part of your business is your list
Your list of clients, customers and prospective customers held in an orderly, well-maintained electronic database containing not only their full contact details (name, email address, phone number, and most importantly, physical mailing address) but their spending habits and booking frequency. 
This is the gold. This is the thing that a buyer can look at and determine with reasonable accuracy the current health of the business, and its potential, given a more robust and refined marketing program. 
If your software program is set up correctly, a prospective buyer will also be able to determine what marketing information you’ve been sending out to that database, and its responsiveness. 
Your list has a strategic value in and of itself. If I were buying a salon, it’s the first thing I’d look at, not the financials of the business. I’d then put that list alongside the financials, and try to find cause and effect. 
Then I’d take a very close look at the thing that really matters…

Your marketing infrastructure, both online and offline.

The second most important, most valuable, and easily the most measurable asset of any local business like a hair or beauty salon is…drum roll please…your online presence.

Thanks to technology, an astute buyer will demand your Google logins.

Why? Give me your Google account logins and within one minute I’ll be able to tell exactly how many phone calls and website visits you’ve had in the last 30 days or 90 days from people searching for a hair salon or a beauty salon in your area.
Here’s an example; the Google Insights figures for one of our Member salons, in a suburb of Melbourne….

Do you get this many phone calls?
It shows that this salon received 346 phone calls in the last 30 days from people who had Googled a hair salon in that suburb, and called the business using the ‘click to call’ function provided by Google.
Think about that; three hundred and forty six phone calls, just from people finding the salon in a Google search. 
In addition, the salon received 511 clicks through to its website from the Google Plus listing in search results, which would have produced another raft of phone calls.
Does your website get this many visits?

This is important, value-adding stuff.

For a prospective buyer, it is proof that the investment put into online marketing by this salon owner is paying off in easily-measured numbers.

It means I, the buyer, can count on getting a steady stream of appointment-producing phone calls. And that means sales, and profits.
And that means you can put a defined value on that online presence, quite apart and separate from any valuation your accountant might put on past revenue and profit.
(You should also know – and Google provides the tools to find this out – how many people are searching online for a hair stylist or beauty therapist in your area in any one month period.)

Your presence in social media also matters, though not to the extent that Google ranking does. How many Facebook fans you have, how many Instagram followers you have, matters in that it gives a buyer a sense of how active and productive you are on social media.

But don’t be fooled, or try to fool – Facebook and Instagram followers are not customers. They’re just fans.

People who actually call your business are customers (or potential customers).
So yes, financials and balance sheets matter.

But smart buyers know they’re only part of the story. And they are past history. The only figures that can give me a picture of the future are those produced by the marketing metrics above.

If you don’t know what your marketing metrics are, then you – and the buyer – are floundering in the dark.
Those crucial figures – proven phone calls, your Google ranking, the size and quality of your database of clients, and yes, to some extent your social media engagement and activity, can all be presented as adding extra value to your salon when it comes time to sell.
Okay, so what to do now?
First, take a look at your website using our FREE website analyser. Just type in your website address and our analyser will tell you how many errors there are…and you’ll get a FREE report on what they are and how to fix them.

So yes, financials and balance sheets matter. 
But smart buyers know they’re only part of the story. And they are past history. The only figures that can give me a picture of the future are those produced by the marketing metrics above. 
If you don’t know what your marketing metrics are, then you – and the buyer – are floundering in the dark.
Those crucial figures – proven phone calls, your Google ranking, the size and quality of your database of clients, and yes, to some extent your social media engagement and activity, can all be presented as adding extra value to your salon when it comes time to sell. 
Okay, so what to do now? 
First, take a look at your website using our FREE website analyser. Just type in your website address and our analyser will tell you how many errors there are…and you’ll get a FREE report on what they are and how to fix them. 

Get your free copy of the Salon Business Plan Template here.

Discover all the essential elements of marketing your business so it can reach its full potential with the Client Attraction System 2.0

[VIDEO] Rude clients – how to eliminate salon no-shows

[VIDEO] Rude clients – how to eliminate salon no-shows

Here’s a frightening exercise for you:

1) Take a look at last month’s appointments in your salon.

2) Now, tick the ones who didn’t bother to show up.

3) Multiply that by the average ticket price.

What’s the number? A thousand dollars? Two thousand? More?

You’re not alone.

“Hair & Beauty salons are losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year because of no-shows, and the lack of deposit-taking policies for fear of upsetting clients.”

That was the headline on a blog post after a survey we did a couple of years ago. And it seems, little has changed. No-shows are still costing our industry a fortune in lost revenue. 

Mostly, because so many small business owners are terrified of asking for deposits to secure appointments. 

 But it CAN be so simple to both eliminate the fear, AND stop the no-shows, as long-time WSM member Anita Bowe of Twisted Desire salon in Brisbane explains….

If salons want to be taken seriously by their clients and stop hemorrhaging money, they have to take the lead from industries like travel, hospitality and entertainment, which simply refuse to take bookings without payment. Customers accept those policies completely. Try booking a concert ticket and telling them you’ll pay when you get there.

It just doesn’t happen.

Another long-time WSM Member, Sharon-Lee McGaw, says deposit taking has dramatically changed the way her clients behave:

I hope the experiences of these salon owners have given you some comfort, and some confidence to do what it takes to stop those no-shows dead in their tracks!


Greg and his team are second to none when it comes to getting clients through the door. As a start up Laser Tattoo Clinic with no reviews, I'm thrilled to say business thrived in the first five months of opening (pre Covid19) all due to the great advertising and follow up links provided by the team at WWMarketing. I'm looking forward to continuing the journey post Covid19 lockdown. Thank you, can't recommend you highly enough 🙂

Lorina Cassidy-Reid

Owner, Original Skin Tattoo Removal

For the past 10 years Greg and the team from WSM have always facilitated a highly engaging, dynamic and professional marketing platform . We have been equipped with helpful tools focused around client retention, new client lead generation and past client re-engagement. Investing in this marketing program has helped grow our business to what it is today. Highly recommend. Also I would like to say the help we had from Sam with the launch of our Social Media Shops and advertising will be sure to drive more traffic our way.

Leiza Cester

Owner, Allura Hair Boutique

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What is a new client REALLY worth to your salon?

What is a new client REALLY worth to your salon?

It always surprises me how little so many salon owners know about their own businesses.

Particularly, some absolutely crucial numbers. I almost always get a bemused silence when I ask a salon owner for one vital piece of information.
“How much is an average customer worth to you in say, a year?”
It’s a question that goes back to an old saying in marketing:
“Most business owners see the purpose of getting a customer is to make a sale. Smart business owners realize the purpose of making a sale is to get a customer.”
Most salon owners fall into the former category. We can, with reasonable accuracy, figure out the size of a per-visit spend by an average client, but few seem to have made the connection between the one-off sale, and the concept of “Lifetime Client Value.”
Do you know what an average customer is worth to you in a year?
Really??? Because if you don’t, you’re fighting a losing battle wearing a blindfold, with both arms tied behind your back.
My question about ‘lifetime value’ versus one-off sale value is usually met with a blank silence because most seem to look no further than next week’s appointments, let alone next year.
Yet, when you know such a crucial business ‘key performance indicator’, you can see your database of client records in a completely different light.
Looking at your list of ‘missing in action’ clients suddenly becomes an exercise lit by flashing dollar signs.
Imagine this: of your entire database of say 1,000 client records, you discover that only 300 of them are so-called ‘active’ customers.
That is, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, you can be pretty confident that in any two month period you’ll see all of them.
Here’s where many owners of service businesses tie themselves up in an ever-tightening knot. Instead of ‘mining’ that database for gold nuggets, they ignore it, and focus frantically on finding ‘new’ clients – an expensive, time-consuming and often frustrating exercise.
So let’s do some numbers. Say you have 500 clients you haven’t seen for three months or more.
In all honesty, if you haven’t seen someone in three months or more, they’re either dead – there’s not much you can do about that – or they’re so ‘cold’ as to be barely registering a pulse.
But…and here’s the major difference between these people and all the brand new clients you spend every waking hour trying to attract – you have their contact details. (Well, you do, don’t you…don’t you???)
Even the most haphazardly-organised salon collects mobile numbers.
Some might even have email addresses.
And the really serious business owners, those who treat their salon as a proper business, rather than a mere job – or worse, a hobby – have meticulously built a comprehensive database containing not only phone numbers and emails, but real, actual, old-fashioned physical mailing addresses.
Back to the numbers.
Let’s say you’ve done your numbers – if you’ve read this far, your fingers should have been dancing over your calculator well before now – and you’ve worked out that a regular, long-term client is worth at least $1,000 to you in a year.
If you were to send a compelling offer to those 500 former or one-time-only clients, using a combination of media (phone, email, hard-copy letter), and that offer resulted in say, 30 of those 500 re-visiting the salon to redeem that offer…
…and you were able to turn 20 of those 30 into regular, long-term clients, guess what? By that single, well-executed marketing campaign, you’ve just given your business an annual income injection of…
And what if you were to repeat this exercise say, three times a year?
(And here’s a thought: next time a new customer walks through your front door, are you going to see $150 stamped on her forehead…or $1,000 stamped on her forehead? Makes a big difference in how you view and treat each new visitor, doesn’t it!)
There is overwhelming evidence that this process produces results.
For years, I and our Member salons have been using a famous sequence of client letters now known as the “Rupert the Dog” series, in combination with SMS and email follow-up, to ‘Raise the Dead’ from among their lost-client database.
In the UK, Hannah McEnteggart is a typical example:
The letters Hannah is talking about are exactly the same ones I’ve used for years….they’re not the ONLY client-retrieval tools you could be using, but they are incredibly effective!

If you want that kind of marketing power, it’s all in the Client Attraction System – click on the image below and I’ll see you on the other side:-) 

5 (FREE) Ways to Instantly Boost Salon Sales

5 (FREE) Ways to Instantly Boost Salon Sales

Marnie here,

Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard you work, your sales figures have flatlined, right?

Yep, I know the feeling!

But I discovered that by just ‘tweaking’ a handful of processes, my sales literally jumped overnight…and kept going up.

So here are my FIVE tested, proven strategies I used, and still use today, to wring every last potential dollar from my business. I call them my Sales Power Strategies.

(And they don’t cost a cent either!)

Power Strategy #1.) Your Phone Message

Not many salons have a dedicated, full-time receptionist. (Although the value of somebody like that can’t be denied…take a look at this video:-)

And when you’re busy, you often just can’t get to the phone, so calls will often go through to voicemail. In my salon, I realised that was costing me a LOT of business. My voicemail message was something bland and boring, like “…sorry we can’t get to the phone, but please leave a message and we’ll call you right back…”

And of course, I’d get a lot of hangups. So I simply changed the message:

“Hi there, it’s Marnie here at (Name) salon, we can’t get to the phone right now, but don’t hang up because I’ve got something for you – a free $10 gift voucher as my way of saying we’re sorry we missed your call (smile!) Please leave your name and number and I’ll call you back as soon as we get a break!”

…and you know what happened? My rate of hangups dropped like a stone…and my intake of new clients went through the roof, just with that one simple trick!

2) Re-booking script.

If your rate of re-bookings is low, try this. I’ve found that using this script, religiously every time, increased my rate of re-booking enormously.

So, your client is about to pay for their service at the reception desk. Do you usually say something like “Would you like to re-book?”

The trouble with that is, you’re making the client think…most people have a lot going on in their heads, so the default answer to this question is “Um, no, I’ll call you…”

So I changed my approach. Instead of giving the client a “Yes” or “No” question (and they almost always say no) I changed the question to make it easier for them.

“Now, looking ahead a few weeks, I can fit you in on Tuesday the (date) at 10am, or Thursday the (date) at 3pm, which of those two times would suit you best?”

See the difference? It saves the client from having to think ahead, you’re already giving them a choice of only two answers, instead of a Yes or a No.

Just implementing this simple but powerful change dramatically increases my re-booking figures.

Power Strategy #3: The Product Offer

When my retail product sales dropped off, here’s what I would do…

Most salons stock a range of associated or complementary products – a shampoo, a conditioner and a treatment, for example. Or a range of skin care products.

I would look at my product range, do my sums, and set up a “buy two, get one free” offer. Individually, the three products might sell for say $30 each, with a 100% gross margin.
So, selling three of them for only $60, you’re giving away $15 of gross profit on the third bottle.

But I’ve never looked at it in terms of ‘losing’ $15. I look at it like this: I’m giving away $15 in profit I don’t currently have, to get a profit (on the other two bottles) I never would otherwise have got!

That one strategy alone would instantly increase my weekly product sales.

Power Strategy #4: Packaging Services.

There’s an entire day-long seminar in how to do this, but essentially it’s the practice of packaging up a suite of services, by adding value with services or treatments (or products) that cost you little or nothing to provide.

I learned how to do this in quite a sophisticated way by studying the detail in my marketing ‘bible’, the Simple Salon Marketing toolkit.

It works like this: let’s say you want to sell more of your ‘core’ services, like facials, or color ‘n cut services, or laser hair removal.

So instead of just selling “45 minute Facial – $100”, you add-on ‘extras’ that might cost you little or nothing to provide. Then, instead of merely calling it a facial, you “re-invent” the service with a new name, eg “The Scarlet Johansson Glamor Makeover” or similar.

Facial = boring.

Scarlet Johansson? Now that’s sexy!

There’s an entire detailed chapter on how to do this in Simple Salon Marketing, I thoroughly recommend you get this toolkit…by far the best selling salon marketing how-to available anywhere.


Power Strategy #5: The Queen of Referrals.
Yep, word of mouth is the best form of marketing you can do. But most salons take referrals passively – they don’t put much or any effort into generating referrals actively. (No system.)
In my salon, I took this straight out of Simple Salon Marketing. It’s called the Queen of Referrals program (fine detail in the Toolkit) but it works like this…
You pick say 20 of your very best (most valuable) clients. Each of them gets a book of 10 Gift Vouchers to give away to friends and family. The gift vouchers can be any value you like, but my advice is to make them as generous as possible.
Each time one of these vouchers is redeemed by one of their friends, they – your client – gets a credit to the same value.
I promote this by saying to my client, “Mary, I want to give you $500 worth of beauty treatments for free!” I find that certainly gets their attention:-)
Now, I know it takes confidence to implement some of these.

And sometimes, to gain that confidence, you need a little help.

So, here’s what you can do (If you’re quick!)

For a limited time, we’re offering a full thirty-minute one-on-one Fast Start Salon Marketing Stratety Session with either me, Worldwide founder Greg Milner or our Social Media specialist Samantha Buckley.

It’s only ONE DOLLAR, and you get to book your time and day live on our calendar.

Click the button below to book your session in….and be prepared to take a) Notes, and b) ACTION!

As soon as you book, you’ll get to choose a day and time with either me or one of my specialist advisers, Rich Salon Owner author Greg Milner or Social Media strategist Samantha Buckley

Talk soon:-) 

[VIDEO] Instagram – how to use it to grow your salon

[VIDEO] Instagram – how to use it to grow your salon

It’s Marnie here,

Does technology do your head in?

Yep, mine too, in particular, social media – goodness me, it’s just such a minefield, and so much information to absorb, it’s just hard to know what you really need to know, and what you can safely ignore.

I got my head around Facebook pretty easily. But Instagram is a whole different kettle of fish, so I had to learn that too!

And I know -‘cos I talk to a LOT of people in the salon & spa industry, just like me, that there’s a lot of confusion about Instagram and what it’s good for.

Turns out, quite a lot!

So, as part of my new Client Attraction System 2.0 online training course, we’ve produced an entirely new, 6-part video module:
“Instagram Success Secrets for Salons & Spas”
It’s just the first of TEN complete “how-to” modules in the Client Attraction System course, but it’s a crucial one…
…because more than half a billion people use Instagram every day, you can’t really afford NOT to be in front of as many of them as you can.

Here’s just one of the six how to videos, featuring a salon that’s built its business on Instagram, with nearly a quarter of a million followers!

Now, there’s a lot more to getting Instagram right that just what you’ve seen in that video.

The new Instagram module in CAS 2.0 takes you through exactly how to

* Set up your Instagram account correctly (and there a traps for the unwary!)

* Hashtags and how to use them.

* What are Instagram Stories

* How to use Stories

* Stories for Business, and how to Re-Use Them (a great time-saver!)

PLUS a whole bunch of free resources you can download.

To find out more about the Client Attraction System, click on the image below…and I’ll see you on the next page:-)