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.
There’s an old joke my brother tells quite often, because a) it’s at his wife’s expense, and b) it’s not completely untrue.
You see, his wife’s credit card was stolen a few years ago. He didn’t report it for a month because the thief’s rate of spending was less than hers. Ha ha, get it?
But the point of the story is we love buying things. We love to buy. And yet, for some strange reason, we hate to sell. To be seen as a ‘salesperson’. This has always bemused me, since without salespeople, copywriters, marketers, not a single transaction would ever occur. Nobody would buy anything. So, no income would be generated, no taxes paid, therefore no roads built, hospitals staffed, teachers hired. In effect, the world would stop turning.
We love to buy things. Love it. So why do we hate to sell?
This line of thought was prompted by a heartfelt post from a beauty therapist in an online forum. Obviously articulate, intelligent and passionate about her work, she was nonetheless feeling a bit down-in-the-mouth about the ‘pressure to sell’ from her employer. She was worried she would ‘freak her clients out’ if she tried to sell to them every time they came in.
She’s hardly alone. The common cry among so many in the hair & beauty industry is “I’m not a salesperson…I’m a stylist/therapist!”
Given that, it might be helpful to look at ‘selling’ in a different light. The business of a salon or spa IS selling. A salon is, before anything else, a marketing & sales business. And, in every small business (not just salons), the process of selling is inextricably linked to having a job.
But selling needn’t necessarily be seen as a distasteful chore. At many of our seminars over the years, veteran hair & beauty industry guru John Lees would teach that
“Our knowledge is ours to give, not ours to keep.”
John is right. Selling is the process of informing and educating clients so that you become the ‘trusted, knowledgeable expert’ they instinctively turn to for the solution to their fears, anxieties and insecurities. Once you get over your own anxiety about pitching to your clients, and start to see yourself as being the trusted expert, the selling becomes second nature, like unconsciously changing gears in a car. You don’t even notice you’re doing it.
There’s another common mistake made by those who look down on selling, and that’s pre-judging – by applying your own ‘cringe filter’, deciding on your client’s behalf whether she can afford to buy, or wants to buy what you’re selling. And in many cases, deciding in the negative.
A couple of years ago I conducted a little experiment. I dressed in dirty overalls, scuffed shoes and a battered hat pulled down over my eyes, and walked into a local prestige car dealership. For fully 15 minutes I wandered around looking at the shiny new cars, completely untroubled by even one of the half dozen sharply dressed salesmen standing around drinking coffee and looking down their noses at me.
I left, and returned half an hour later in pressed trousers, blue blazer, white shirt and polished brown shoes. I barely got in the door before two of these guys were fawning over me.
They couldn’t do enough for me, took me for a test drive, made me coffee, buried me in glossy brochures.
I thanked them, drove to a rival dealership, and bought exactly the same car that morning.
Unjustly, selling has a bad name, made worse by salespeople who either regard it as beneath them, or decide for themselves who can and cannot afford to buy. People love to buy. Let’s not make it hard for them, or play god and decide how people should spend their money. If you fail to educate, fail to inform, fail to offer, it’s a dereliction of duty to both the business, and the client.
“Never enough is sold because never enough is told. Selling is telling – the better you tell a story, the better you sell anything.”
Want to make selling EASY?
“Selling Like Crazy” is the ‘how-to’ in-salon sales manual for the hair & beauty industry. Straight out of the famous Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit, Selling Like Crazy turns ordinary, fearful “I don’t like selling” staff into retail queens – without them even noticing the change!
Click here to see what’s in Selling Like Crazy for Hair Salons
Buy it here for just $US97 with credit card or Paypal!
Click here to see what’s in Selling Like Crazy for Beauty Salons
Buy it here for just $US97 with credit card or Paypal!
Salon Marketing Strategies: How to CUT Staff Absenteeism to ZERO!
Had an interesting conversation with one of our Inner Circle members this week.
Like most salon & spa owners, Michael Curtis’ Blush Day Spa has suffered for years from the whims of some staff members who would habitually, without notice, report in ‘sick’ – and leave the rest of the staff to carry the load, upsetting clients, costing revenue and profits, and causing Michael to lose hair he can’t afford to lose.
But four months ago, Michael ‘cracked the code’.
Michael Curtis eliminated staff sick days with some rigorous filtering
Traditionally, Blush would lose between ten and 21 staff days every single month. Add it up, and it amounts to an awful lot of distruption and lost business. But for the past four months, Blush has
not lost a SINGLE DAY!
How could this be? Well, Michael first purchased a simple, but powerful system of staff recruitment developed by our own recruitment specialist, David Osborne. (It’s called the Salon Owner’s Recruitment System and you can buy it here for $AUD597)
Using the system, Michael put every single job applicant through a rigorous ‘filtering’ – and then, once he’d got it down to a short-list, sent it to David who put each applicant through a special personality/suitability test that had nothing to do with technical skill and everything to do with a person’s psychological ability to contribute to a positive and enthusiastic team.
According to Michael, ‘aside from joining the Inner Circle program, getting David’s system and putting our staff through this testing process is the single most profitable and biggest business-building thing we have ever done in the ten years we’ve been in the spa industry’. If ONLY we had known about this a decade ago we’d be that much further in front, it’s not funny’.
Listen in as Michael talks about this ‘company-making’ advance.
As I’ve said many times, any fool can get customers in the door, given the right marketing tools and enough action. Shake enough trees, and you can’t help have money fall out of ’em. But many good marketing campaigns have been ruined by sloppy systems, lousy staff and an active Sales Prevention Department at the back end.
If there’s enough interest among Members, I may run a special Group Coaching call (IC members only) with both David and Michael as my guests, so more of our Members can get the obvious business-building benefits of zero staff absenteeism that Blush is enjoying.
Hair Salon Marketing Plan: How This Salon Got 165 New Clients in ONE Month-Special Group Coaching Call For Inner Circle Members
Motion Beats Meditation, Every Time – Hit ‘Play’ on audio below.
First, some interesting news that belies all the gloom and doom. International research and survey firm Synovate reports that a poll of 11,500 people in over a dozen countries found 41% of people plan to spend the same amount on beauty products and services as they did before the downturn, while only 27% said they would cut down. (source: www.synovate.com)
And there are other signs (hard to find in the mainstream press) that the outlook is not ALL thunder and lightning for 2009. China? The most recent figures I can find indicate China’s growth will ‘only’ be around 7% this year. ONLY 7%?? In any other country, 7% growth would produce dancing in the streets and joyful public fornication.
There are other indicators that the world hasn’t actually stopped turning. Principally from our own Inner Circle members. I love it when I hear from members who are truly kicking some serious butt… despite the ‘recession’, without regard to any and all obstacles put before them, regardless of nay-saying friends, family and/or staff, while ignoring the self-fulfilling talk of gloom and doom.
Like Chicken Little, for some people the sky is always falling in. For a few (certainly most of our Members) what falls out of the sky is money.
Nadia Valerio of Valerio Hair in Doncaster, Victoria. A real ‘action woman’.
Among them, Nadia Valerio of Valerio Hair in Doncaster, Victoria.
Most salons struggle to fill chairs/treatment rooms at this time of the year. Nadia and her staff of 11 are struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of clients, all brought in using simple ads, flyers and sales strategies from the Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit™
Get this: In November last year Nadia took an ad from the Toolkit and ran it in the local paper. The salon was run off its feet, in just five weeks they took in no fewer than
165 NEW clients.
(MEMBERS: Log into the Members Only ‘Sealed Section’ and you’ll find the ad that Nadia used under “Getting New Clients – Hair”)
That result was achieved despite what many would see as a massive handicap – located in a huge shopping mall with no fewer than EIGHT directly competing salons.
“Every client that came in the week after then received a $10 welcome letter/gift voucher to come back to the store and so far in 8 weeks of the first ad going to print 45 of those clients have come back, it has been the most amazing response, I could not have asked for anything more and this is just a start. We have put together a plan for the next 6 months and can’t wait to put it all in to play. Once again thank you WORLDWIDE SALON MARKETING you have taken my business to the next level,” writes Nadia.