You’re Losing 90% Of New Business – Here’s Why

There’s a high chance you’re losing more business than you’re gaining – and it’s going right to the pocket of your competitors. Why? Read on…

We all know Google. We search everything on it. Heck, our entire lives are surrounded by Google. “Google it,” we always say. And that’s just it: people are Googling you. They’re searching for your business. Which means you’re either being found, or you’re not. 

Being a local business, it’s easier to be found – and ranked – than if you’re an online blog servicing the entire globe. With Google My Business Listing, it’s easy to find businesses around you – for exactly what you want.

As an example, open a new Google search, and type in a business near you… for example, “vet Mt Hawthorn.” Potential customers always Google whatever type of business their looking for – dentist, hair salon, vet, optometrist, etc – along with their suburb/town.

You’ll notice the first thing that appears in the search results is a box, a map, and three businesses. That’s the Business Listings.

The first three are simple – St Francis, Vogue Vets, and My Best Friend. I can guarantee these three vets are receiving more phone calls, and more doggy patients than any of the other businesses.

If you tap “More places,” this appears:

Notice how there are more businesses listed? North Perth Vet, and Perth Cat Hospital are here – but they won’t be receiving anywhere near the amount of phone calls, website visits, or walk-ins than the top three results combined. 


Simple. People always trust the top-3 businesses to appear in the Google search. 

Which means if you’re not in the top-3 listings, you’re losing business.

if you’re not in the top-3 listings, you’re losing business

How To Appear In The First 3 Spots on Google

First, you have to decipher whether you have a business listing already, or not.

If you bought the business you own – chances are, the previous owner has one. Google yourself, and see if a listing appears.

If you started the business yourself, and you know for a fact you don’t have a listing – you can easily claim your business.

When you have your own business listing, this means you’ve “claimed” your business on Google. When you claim your listing – Google sends you a physical letter, with a code, to prove you own the business.

Step 1: Claim Your Business

Start by going to Google My Businessand click “Get On Google,” or “Start Now.”

You’ll then be prompted to sign into your Google account, or, if you’re already logged in, you’ll receive this page:

Step 2: Verify Your Listing

Once you’ve filled in all the information about your business – your location, the services you offer, your opening times, payment methods, etc – Google will send you a physical letter in the mail with a special code.

This can take 3 – 4 weeks, sometimes less.

When you’ve received the letter, make sure you follow the steps listed in the letter (it always varies, but it’s easy to follow).

Pro tip: Make your Business Listing as transparent as possible. The more information you have, the better you’ll rank in Google. Include your opening times, payment methods, and photos.

Let’s dive into what happens when you’re in the top-3 listings on Google:

How To Track Calls When You Have Your Listing

When your listing is set up, Google gives you access to manage your business listing. This includes “insights” into how many people are searching for you, how many calls you’ve had from your listing, visits to your websites, and directions requested.

Here’s how you find it:

Step 1: Login To Your Business Listing Account

Head back to Google My Business, and you’ll find your business listing.

Here, you can edit your details, if you ever need to change anything.

Step 2: Go to “Insights”

When you’re logged into your Business account, click on “Insights,” found below your business name, in the bright blue bar across the top of your screen.

You’ll see insights like this:

If you hover over the blue discovery bar, you’ll get an accurate amount of searches by people looking for businesses like yours.

If you hover over the green direct bar, you’ll see the amount of people searching directly for your business, usually by typing in your business name.

The above will show you where people are viewing your business on Google – either by Google search, or on Google Maps.

This section here – the Customer actions section – shows you how many calls you’re receiving, how many visits to your website, and how many people are requesting directions to your business.

This is where you find out how many people are coming to you because of Google. 

The business I’m showing you here – a hair salon in Berwick, Victoria – had 139 calls from their business listing in the last 4 weeks.

139 calls = new clients.

That means money.

To show you the value of being in the top-3 spots on Google Business Listing, this is the business of the insights you just read:

Allura Hairdressing is on spot 3. If they’re third – and receiving 139 calls in the last 4 weeks with no paid advertising, they’re rolling in new clientele.

What’s next?

Now that you know the value and importance of having your Google Business Listing in the top-3 results, you must get your listing taken care of.

Start by claiming your business listing, or if you already have one, make sure you’ve got plenty of photos, plenty of real customer reviews (Google know if they’re your friends or family… remember, they have access to the people you email!) – your listing will slowly grow higher and higher among the search results.

Finding new business is all about being found. 


Marketing Plan For A Beauty Salon: What to do when your competition COPIES you…

Marketing Plan For A Beauty Salon: What To Do When Your Competition COPIES You…

We’ve often had Members ask what to do when a nearby salon sees the marketing churned out by one of ‘our’ salons – and attempts to copy it.

For most Members, this is rarely a big problem, mainly because the salon ‘swiping’ the ideas in our Member’s advertising hardly ever ‘gets it’, and invariably makes a botch-job of it…. gets half of it right, but leaves out crucial direct-response compenents and therefore the ‘copy-cat’ ad fails miserably.

When you’re successful, when your success is obvious, you will always get people attempting to copy you. And if a rival sees your salon packed with clients, the queue heading off down the street, they ARE going to wonder what you’re doing that they’re NOT doing, and a (very) few will attempt to second-guess you and some will get it half right.

I know this because as Worldwide Salon Marketing gets bigger, as our reach stretches further and further around the planet, there are more and more people trying to ‘knock us off’. In fact, there is one fly-by-night marketer in Canada – whose name I’m not generous enough to publicize here – who has carbon-copied not only our products and services down to exactly the same brand names, but plagiarised our entire lead generation and sales system as well. He’s got more front than Dolly Parton, effectively passing himself off as us.

This is a guy who was actually representing us for a short time. Enough time for him to obtain all our copyrighted and trademarked material, and for us to realize he was world-class at over-promising and under-delivering, lousy at supporting Members and hopeless at any kind of follow-through. In other words, he wanted the cream but wasn’t prepared to put in the backbone of support infastructure to give it substance.

Now, I’m not going to reveal here the steps we’re taking to counteract this threat. Safe to say, when you’re about to punch someone, you don’t flag it, you just punch. He’ll probably take some of our business from us in the short term. But in the medium term, we’ll win because we know that there are VERY few people in the world who are prepared to invest in all the stuff, the systems, to keep the wheels that nobody ever sees turning.

And sooner or later, the salon owners who sign up for his system (er, actually our system) will quickly figure out that you get what you pay for.

Had to laugh recently when one of our own Members faced this exact problem. A rival salon in the same shopping mall decided to compete via price war, offering $5 haircuts. Our Member soon put a stop to that, with a sign outside her shop that said it all.


“We Fix $5 Haircuts.”


How to Create A Client-Attracting, Money-Making Ad That Actually Works for your Salon

No salon advertising, no matter how well written, is worth spending money on unless it has a great offer.

Take a look through the newspaper. It is astounding how many business owners have spent good money to buy expensive ad space, and filled it with nothing more than a big business card.

Unless you’re letting the reader know exactly what the offer is, most of them will just skip over the ad and the whole point of the advertisement is lost.

An offer is NOT discounting. In fact, discounting is a last resort, and does more damage than good in most cases. Discounting not only takes money out of your pocket, it trains your clients to expect it. If you’ve ever had a phone call from somebody asking when your next special discount is on, you’ll know what I mean.

In direct response marketing, an OFFER is best described as a deal where if they pick up the phone now and make an appointment they’ll get some added thing, or combination of things that they cannot get another time, or they can only get if they’re among the first 12 or 17 or 29 to call.

To give you an idea of the difference between a weak offer and a strong offer, we’ll take an analogy.

Let’s say two men are each selling a horse. One says to the horse buyer, “Here’s my horse, give me the money now and you can take the horse.” 

The other one says “Don’t give me any money now. Take Bessie for a week, ride her as you wish, and after a week if you like Bessie, only then give me the money.”

Now, who do you think is going to make the sale?

The second seller hasn’t lost anything by taking the money a week later. Yet, he’ll probably be able to sell more horses at a higher price than the first seller simply because he’s making it seem like his offer is a good deal better than the other.

 Typically, a good beauty industry offer would be built on an existing service you want to sell, combined with free add-ons that cost you little or nothing to provide, but which give massive perceived value to the customer.

Perceived value is when the value add-on is of little or no actual cost to you, but increases the value of the services offered to the person reading the ad. Saying “Hurry, $249 worth of beauty treatments for just $99 for the first 14 people to call” may be a little bit of a sleight of hand, but without offers like this, your marketing is dead in the water.

Packaging The Offer

Once you’ve crafted a great offer, you can then start getting a bit more sophisticated. Let’s say that until now all you’ve had is a price list. In my view a price list is a poor way to market your services, since it encourages people to price shop, like walking along the server in a cafeteria. Granted that everyone likes a good deal, but the meaning of the word deal itself means good VALUE. It does not necessarily mean lower prices.

Want to know why? If the only distinguishing factor about your salon is the price, then you become a commodity. Once people start perceiving you as a commodity you become replaceable and/or interchangeable.

Are your customers calling you and asking what the prices of certain services are? Are they complaining about the prices that you charge? If you see a long time regular after a few months and ask her why she hasn’t visited you and get “Oh I couldn’t get an appointment with you, so I went to the place around the corner and kind of just kept going there.”!

If this is happening to you then for sure, you’ve become a commodity to them, meaning that they can get what you give anywhere. It isn’t necessary for them to come to you.

The situation is not irretrievable though and there are a number of things you can do like revising your prices upward, or starting new services, or even prune your customer list.

During these difficult times when the economy is not doing too well, it is easy to fall into the trap of reducing prices. I am, however, fundamentally opposed to mere discounting as a way to increase sales.

The important thing therefore is to ensure that it is not price alone that is your distinguishing factor. In fact some of the best ads ever written didn’t even mention any product, far less its features or price. It appealed to the emotion of the reader.

This is a very important concept in marketing, that people do not make buying decisions based on reason.

According to US marketing guru Dan Kennedy, ‘under normal conditions, only 10% of customers always buy by price, their decisions governed by price, because they have no choice. This group is largely made up of “working poor”, low-wage working people with more mouths to feed than they can afford food for. Nothing wrong with them as people. A lot to admire – except the choices they make that keep them poor.

‘But no good reason to have them – or worse, seek them out as customers. Yet, strangely, most business owners focus 90% of their energy on price even while only 10% of customers decide based on price.

However, there are 20% who make most buying decisions with little weight given to price or cheapest price, and 5% who never consider price….’

So, which customers do you want? It is my contention that you get the customers you deserve.

Most buying decisions are based only on emotion.

If therefore you are appealing to the rational part of the human, you will never get as much response as if you appeal to the emotional part.

Just take a look at some of the ads that are listed here. The very first ad is the one placed by Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic adventurer. It’s a very simple ad, does not have any pictures, does not promise anything other than negatives, and basically is one of the worst kind of ads that you can place according to advertising professionals.

Here’s what the ad said

Men wanted

For hazardous journey, small wages,

bitter cold, long months of complete darkness,

constant danger, safe return doubtful,

honour and recognition in case of success.

This ad came out on December 29, 1913 in the London Times and it brought in more than 5,000 applicants including three women.

On the face of it, this ad does not have the power to bring this kind of response, but if you understand what the ad is about, you’ll realize that it is a deliberate, well planned and brilliantly executed dare to every red-blooded male in the whole United Kingdom.

A good contemporary example would be the advertisement for Singapore Airlines. In a time of recession when airlines all over the world are cutting down on price in order to become more competitive, they are one of the few airlines that have not gotten into this race.

Cutting down on price or discounting as we have already discussed is not the right way to market your goods or services. Whatever you do, however much you try to cut your price, there will be someone somewhere who will undercut you.

The only sensible thing to do then, is to appeal to the emotion of the buyer. This is what Singapore Airlines have done brilliantly.

They use the ‘Singapore girl to show you visually, how you will be cosseted and cared for in their airliners. Rationally speaking, would you expect any less in any other airline? But none of the others have caught on to this and are paying for it with loss of business.

Yet by appealing to the emotion of the user, Singapore Airlines is able to maintain its pricing and show growth in profits at a time when many other airlines are looking for bailout plans.

What about the legendary ad for the Rolls Royce. It came out in 1958 and is sometimes referred to as the “Most famous headline in advertising history.” All it says is

“At 60 miles an hour, the loudest sound you can hear in the new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the clock.”

More than half a century has gone by and no other luxury car maker has managed to bring out an ad that even comes close to this.

All these advertisements have one thing in common; they give some sort of emotional benefit rather than a physical one and emotional trumps physical every time.

One way to stop people cafeteria shopping is to package your products and services, and re-brand them so that they cannot be compared apples to apples with your competitors.

For example, you might currently offer a cut and colour at a certain price. But if you value-add by listing all the nominally free services you provide as part of this cut and colour, you come up with a package that has enormous added value. And remember, there is no point doing this unless you are going to list the added extras, with their nominal value, in your marketing message.

You can then simply name this new package, re-brand it if you like, so that it’s called the ‘Scarlett Johanssen Glamour Make-Over’, or whatever. You can actually take the exact same package, give it a couple of tweaks, and call it something different, for example the ‘Meryl Streep Screen Goddess’ package, to appeal to a different demographic.

“How Do I Write Ads That Work?”

Writing ads that work – writing ads that find you actual clients, that’s the skill. And that’s all readily available, all so very easy to learn, tweak, and use whenever you want to turn on your “money” tap. I’ve compiled the Starter Packa 2-part manual that shows you exactly how to write an ad that brings in clients like a flood – and, ready-to-use marketing templates with it.

See, this will give you the exact tools, the exact SYSTEM used by thousands of salons and spas across the globe, making them money every single day. 

And the best part? It’s all guaranteed.

SO. If you’re ready to start finding more clients, get ahead of your marketing and write ads that really work.

Why the Status Quo is Death – And How to Save Your Salon

About 65 million years ago (some considerable time before even I was born) the dinosaurs began to die off. The reason, scientists have been saying for years, is that they failed to adapt to the changing climate of the planet, no matter how slowly it was changing.

There was however one species of dinosaur that not only adapted, but has thrived to this very day – crocodiles. Right across northern Australia today, the safest place to swim has tiles on the floor.

It’s the same in business. Those whose ‘change radar’ is alert, ever on the lookout for even the smallest alterations in the environment – market forces, competition, technology, fickle consumer preferences, fashion and a dozen other variables – are the ones who become crocodiles.

As a real-life example, there’s a small town in country-town-Australia where I know of two salon owners who have been in competition for years.

One – who by no small coincidence happens to have been a student of mine and member of Worldwide Salon Marketing for years – has built a successful, constantly-growing business. She has enthusiastically embraced advances in technology, the ups and downs of the economy, her clients’ ever-changing fashions and preferences, while at the same time being absolutely ruthless when the need arises to dump what (or who) isn’t working.

The other – who has been in business in the town for considerably longer – is constantly following and attempting to copy the newer rival, while refusing to adapt and change almost anything. This salon owner once came to me for help, which I freely gave. She said she wanted to have a website for her salon “because all my competitors have one.”

I told her she had two choices – pay someone (like WSM – we’ve built hundreds of them) or educate herself on how to build one herself. That was 8 years ago. She still doesn’t have a website.

My own business is no different. When I founded WSM in a spare room in my house 13 years ago, business technology was in its infancy. Smartphones? Weren’t even invented. Websites? Only a few salons even had one. Facebook was a glint in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. 

Back then, the primary marketing tools available to salon owners were mailbox flyers, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising, the Yellow Pages, direct mail, and the telephone.

The Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit was then THE industry-standard how-to manual for salon owners who wanted proven, done-for-you templates and tools to market their businesses in the primary forms of media available to them at the time.

(Of course, those forms of media still exist today, and mostly work even better than they did a decade ago, simply because so few people are using them in the mistaken belief that “they’re too expensive and they don’t work any more.” Meh.)

But…with the rapid development of new forms of media, we had to change, adapt, re-organise and develop skills – not only for our own marketing, but also so we could provide the services that our market – primarily small businesses in the salon & spa industry – so clearly needed and wanted.

Ten years ago, we sold the Toolkit and pretty much that was it. (And millions of dollars worth of Toolkits were sold around the world.)

Today, we still sell the core module of the Toolkit, called Simple Salon Marketing, in both downloadable and hard copy format. (You can order it here.) But it’s now just a part of a hugely-diverse range of products and services we provide for our Members, including

  • Website design and construction – we’ve built and continue to build hundreds of them, for salons all over the world.
  • Website hosting, maintenance and security.
  • Search Engine Optimization – the tedious, manual and labour-intensive process of putting our members’ businesses on the first page of search listings.
  • Local search (Google Business Listings) optimization (Free video how-to here.)
  • Social media services, like Facebook advertising campaigns, and Instagram account boosting (so salons get more followers.)
  • A massive, searchable online database of templates, how-to videos, marketing strategies, downloadable social media graphics and proven promotions (It’s called the Client Attraction System and you can get 24/7 password access here, 50% off for the first month, no contracts.)
  • A simple 8-week ‘how-to’ online video course complete with downloadable templates relevant to each lesson (it’s called the Lite course, it’s just $69 for the whole 8 weeks and you can sign up here.

Not to mention a raft of new lead generation tools we’ve had to employ to bring in a steady stream of prospective members – more than 400 salon & spa owners around the world ‘opt-in’ every month to get their hands on one or more of the following:

And that’s just a partial list of the improvements, refinements and additional services we’ve had to make to Worldwide Salon Marketing to keep the business relevant in the second decade of the 21st century.

If we’d simply buried our heads in the sand and stubbornly stuck to trying to sell the Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit – as relevant as it was and still is – we would have been overtaken by events, and died a slow, painful death.

The process of selling hasn’t changed in a hundred years. And while humans walk upright, it will never change. But the media has changed, will always change, as will technology. If you don’t adapt, don’t embrace the changes but fight them every step of the way, you too – and your business with it – will go the way of the dinosaurs.

An Exceptional Guest Experience…

I stopped at a local Starbuck’s with a friend last week and had the most wonderful server at the counter. A welcoming smile greeted us and an uplifted voice asked us for our order. She then explained that they were introducing their new “coffee” blend and would we like to experience it.

After placing our order she told us to find a seat and she would bring our order to us. When she arrived with our coffees she also had a sample of the new blend for each of us to take home. Again, a lovely smile and a gracious attitude. I was struck by the overall feeling of well-being the experience left me with.

These are the aspects that intrigued me:

  • Her smile and welcoming attitude,
  • Her method of introducing the new blend to us and the use of the word “experience” in describing a new product,
  • She brought our coffee to us rather than make us wait at the counter where the barista makes it; you know as well as I do, they don’t do that!
  • She brought us a sample of the new product to try it out at home.

Each of these aspects seem small on their own, but put in a total package from the coffee shop perspective, this was exceptional customer service!

Now, if anyone knows me – they know I’m a fanatic about Starbucks. I love the green mermaid cafe. But this experience just topped it all.

It made me realize that exceptional customer service is in the small things we do for our clients. If customer service is in the small things we do for our customers then let’s look at those small things individually, then add them up to that exceptional customer service experience:

The Greeting; introductions are important, so introduce yourself. The Consultation; whether it is for the first time or repeat client, a consultation is an important aspect of the customer service experience within the salon:

  • The Service; make it about them, their hair, their fashion, their color, their world!
  • Presenting Retail; an extension of the service you offer in the salon.
  • Re-booking; take care of your client’s hair future.
  • Check-out; graciousness and courtesy throughout!
  • Problems; ditto!

And shall I say it? Smile, smile, smile, through the entire transaction; from greeting to check-out.

What else can we do to bring an exceptional guest experience to our salon clients?

I think we have a tendency to sometimes take our clients for granted. We have an established relationship with them so perhaps we stop seeing them as new and fresh when they come in to the salon on a regular basis.

Ask your client how you are doing! Again, this will gather valuable information for you will have to analyze and make adjustments. Make sure you document all of this valuable information on your client file within your salon software!

Finally, it is important to establish a written customer service policy for the salon. Every aspect of our clients’ experiences needs to be in writing within your policy manual. That way, your customer service policy is part of the systems you have developed for the salon. It will actually make your life simpler when the plan is laid out and in writing.

So let’s get out there, romance our clients and watch our retention and re-booking figures grow in an upwardly motion! Don’t believe me? Try it for 6 weeks, and watch the remarkable differences in your business…. 

Does Your Salon Have the Gordon Ramsay Factor?

Whenever I watch Gordon Ramsay tearing the throat out of a hapless head chef or muddle-headed restaurant owner, I wish I was in the food business.

Every restGordon Ramsayaurateur with even half a brain must surely be spending at least part of every working day down on bended knee, giving heartfelt thanks for the f***ing marketing opportunity this foul-mouthed and charismatic Brit has provided.


What Ramsay has done is focus the attention of millions of restaurant-goers on the stuff most restaurants would hate them to know – what goes on in the kitchen. And for the smart ones, that spells opportunity.

Now, what has this got to do with your salon business? Think outside the square for a moment.

Here’s how I would use the ‘Ramsay Factor’ in my restaurant business.

First, I would identify what it is about restaurants that – thanks to Ramsay’s TV show – makes people lie awake at 3am, staring at the ceiling….and thanks to Ramsay, that’s pretty easy. Has the food been prepared days earlier? Is the kitchen crawling with cockroaches? Do the chefs wash their hands every time they go to the bathroom? Are the ingredients fresh? Is there mold growing over the food? 

THEN…I would create a new marketing message, based on those fears and anxieties. The DUMB thing would be to attempt to bury your head in the sand and ignore the Ramsay factor. In fact, I would HIGHLIGHT the negatives, and turn them into positives. E.g.,

How to Be Gordon Ramsay for a Day!

“You know what its like when you go to a restaurant and you have no idea what’s going on in the kitchen? Well at Greg’s Culinary Emporium, our kitchen is so clean our own chefs eat their dinner off the floor! We have CCTV cameras watching our staff to make sure they wash their hands every time they leave the bathroom. Pest inspectors regularly ensure that not a single bug gets anywhere near our food. In fact, we invite YOU to be Gordon Ramsay for a day.

“Come to Greg’s Culinary Emporium for your next night out. If you can find a single cause for complaint, you have our permission to swear at our f***ing chef. PLUS, your meal is FREE!”

Get MORE salon marketing inspiration, tools, downloadable templates, how-to videos and more, as a Member of the Salon Accelerator program here.  


Can you see how that statement would set my restaurant apart from any of my competitors? This technique is called


Making the Invisible Visible

It does TWO clearly distinct things.

a) By capitalizing on highly-public information, it enters the conversation that’s already going on in your customers’ heads. Do that, and you become a Welcome Guest… instead of an Unwelcome Pest. They are already talking about what you want them to talk about.

b) It highlights the process. Most businesses assume their customers are only interested in the result, the final product. But there is magic in the detail….there is MONEY in the story of how you deliver what your customers are buying.

Now, if you haven’t done so already, replace restaurant with salon. What can YOU do to tell the story of your process – a story that addresses what your customers are fearful and anxious about when making a decision about whether to do business with you?

Are your products sourced using a suddenly rediscovered formula developed by primitive tribes in the steamy jungles of Burma? Does one of your treatments originate from the desert rituals of Bedouin tribes in ancient Mesopotamia? (I exaggerate for effect, but you get the picture.)