How ruthless would you be if you caught one of your staff members deliberately sabotaging your sales?
Some do it simply out of ignorance. Others do it because they just don’t care. Either way, it costs YOU money when your staff don’t sell your products, or worse, promote other people’s products…
But there can be few cases worse than this one, just posted on our private Members forum this week, from one of our salon marketing members in Ireland.
“Hi everyone I am very new to Worldwide Salon Marketing!! Just on the thirty day trial but I am amazed at the response I have gotten to an ad I ran last week so I think I am going to be joining for the long haul …
“I do have one dilemma that I would love some advise for…I over heard one of my staff members recommending a Clarins hand cream to a customer during her manicure and for the bad bit , “we don’t sell Clarins in our salon.”
Now to make a situation worse this staff member went to her handbag and got her Clarins handcream and used it on the client ….can you believe it ?
“I am so cross and upset and don’t know which is the best way to deal with this as she is very popular with clients. Any advice?”
Comment below if you have some advice for Maria, but if it was my money this employee was flushing down the toilet, she’d get an instant warning, and if she dared do it again she’d be out the door, with a swift boot up the backside for her trouble.
But the business owner must bear some responsibility for this. In most such cases, it comes back to a failure of the business owner to set the rules in the first place. It starts with a written Policies and Procedures manual which ALL employees must read, agree to and sign as part of a formal induction process.
And backed up firmly with a cover letter which in effect says “Here is how things are done here. If you agree to abide by these rules, please sign below. If not, go find another business to sabotage…”
If you’ve had similar situations arise, or can offer Maria some advice, comment below.
It’s a common refrain I hear from salon & spa owners constantly; “Our re-booking rate is awful. My staff just don’t know how to re-book their clients!”
We all know that getting clients regularly re-booking is perhaps THE crucial ingredient to owning and running a successful hair or beauty business. Yet according to salon software company Kitomba, the average re-booking rate is somewhat less than 40%. Which means that in most salons, more than 60% of clients are walking out the door with no forward booking at all.
Let’s take a look at some numbers – and these should make your eyebrows shoot north in surprise.
Say you have 300 active clients, and if you’re re-booking them every 4 weeks, that means they’re coming in approximately 13 times in a year. If, on average, they’re spending $100 a time (on services and products)…
300 X 13 X $100 = $390,000 in revenue.
But if you’re not actively rebooking them, they might only come in every 6 weeks. Which means they’re only visiting 8 times a year.
300 X 8 X $100 = $240,000.
That’s a massive $150,000 in ‘lost’ revenue!
And here’s where the biggest mistake most salons make when it comes to re-booking:
They’re asking the the wrong question!
Your client has just emerged from the treatment room, feeling a million bucks. Or she’s just spent two hours having a cut and color and she’s looking sensational. At the reception desk, she’s standing their with credit card in hand, about to pay, and you (or one of your staff) nervously ask The Question:
“So Mary, would you like to re-book for next time?”
Mary stands there with a blank look on her face. She’s just been asked to…think. She’s distracted. The kids are due to be picked up from school, she’s wondering what to cook for dinner, the house is a mess, she has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and she’s worried about that, and then there’s that social event coming up in two days and she still doesn’t have a clue what to wear. And now she’s being asked to make a decision about something so far into the future that she can’t get her head around it right now. So, she offers the Default Answer, the easy answer, the one almost everybody provides when asked to make a Yes or No decision:
“Ah, no thanks, I’ll give you a call and let you know.”
And you smile and say “Thanks Mary, we’ll see you next time.” And as Mary walks out your door, you have absolutely zero idea when, or even IF, you’re going to see her again. But…it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s how it SHOULD happen.
Years ago, McDonalds decided that burgers don’t taste anywhere near as good without fries. They coined a phrase which has entered the language – “Would you like fries with that?” Insisting that every single staff member across every one of its 30,000 stores around the world ask that question for every single burger order made a massive difference to the company’s revenues. That single question increased revenues by 13%.
Now, to my mind, even that was the wrong question. McDonalds would have seen an even bigger increase in revenue had they tweaked that little question by just word or three. Instead of asking “Would you like fries with that?” – to which there is only a Yes or No answer – the question should be “Would you like a regular or large fries with that?”
See the difference? There’s no Yes or No answer – just a choice between two alternatives, either of which produces more revenue.
In many salons, the re-booking conversation doesn’t even begin until the client reaches the reception desk at the completion of service. This in itself is a big mistake. The conversation needs to start during the client’s treatment. For example, “Your hair is really taking to this new style Mary. But it’ll need doing about every 4 weeks to keep it in top shape.”
But the killer question comes at the end.
You’re standing behind your reception desk, with your computer screen in front of you, and Mary’s on the other side of the counter. Here’s what you say:
“Okay Mary, looking ahead four weeks, we can fit you in again on Tuesday the 29th at 10am or Thursday the 31st at 3pm – which of those two times would suit you best?”
It’s just a small change in the script. But it can produce a massively different result. Just as in the McDonalds example, the psychology is glaringly obvious. Instead of asking your client to think – “Oh, um, do I want to re-book…er, I can’t think that far ahead, um, I’ll call you closer to the time…” – you’re making it easy for Mary by NOT asking her to think. Instead, you’re giving her a simple, done-for-you choice. A Tuesday at 10am or Thursday at 3pm. “Mmm, got to pick up the kids at 3pm, okay I’ll take the 10am Tuesday appointment please.”
But this isn’t going to happen in your salon unless YOU make it happen. This is a set-in-stone script that can and should be used by every staff member, after every appointment. You should always be indicating to your clients that appointments are scarce. Scarcity drives sales. Nobody’s going to feel they need to re-book if they can see that your appointment book is wide open.
The above script is a bare minimum. You can do more. For example, you can offer a Gift Voucher for a friend as an extra incentive.
“If you re-book for one of those two times now, I’m going to give you a $25 Gift Voucher you can use yourself, or give to a friend or member of the family.”
You can create a competition. Eg, “Re-book now and we’ll put your name into a draw to win a $500 Gift Voucher – we give one of those away every three months.”
There’s a LONG list of ways you can add incentives. But you must have a script – one that’s followed rigorously by every team member.
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
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 Pack, a 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.
There’s no doubt about it, the few weeks leading up to Christmas is THE big trading opportunity for the year for almost all salons & spas.
But…if you’re going to wring every last dollar out of it, you have to plan your promotions and marketing with military precision.
Here’s a short excerpt from a webinar recorded today (October 5, 2015) with two of the most experienced and successful salon marketers in the southern hemisphere.
When Toni Cunningham bought her salon in Palmerston (North Island) it was turning over a measly $700 a week. Within 12 months, she’d turned that into $8,500 a week, and climbing. And when Nicole Panayiotou started her salon in the country town of Sale (Victoria) she had just two rooms…now, she has 11, and is by far the biggest and most profitable in her town.
Veteran Worldwide Salon Marketing member Nicole Panayiotou reveals how a simple one-page ‘product trade-in’ promo template she downloaded from the Million Dollar Salon Marketing Resources Library brought in nearly $9,000 in product sales…plus $15,000 in services…in just 6 days last week, almost doubling her average weekly sales…
What are you waiting for?
For a ridiculously small fee – and NO CONTRACTS – join WSM’s Salon Accelerator program NOW and get this and hundreds more winning promotions.
Pearl of Beauty salon owner Amber Clayton was working on clients full time and struggling to grow her business when she joined Worldwide Salon Marketing in February 2014.
Now, little more than a year later, she has four full-time staff and is completely ‘off the tools’, spending her time training and mentoring staff, and most importantly, marketing the business to keep them busy.