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.
Many salon owners dream of ‘cashing out’ after too many years of hard work, building their business. Too few achieve that dream. Not many even get a sniff of interest.
When Marnie and Peter Doman sold their Perth beauty salon, they had a queue of eager buyers. Yet just a few years previously, they were broke, the salon was barely breaking even.
But by the time they put the business on the market, it was seriously profitable, with a buy price well into six figures. How did this happen? Put simply, the prospective owners were buying a system. Marnie and Peter weren’t selling a business, they were selling a well-oiled, highly-organised system for bringing clients through the door, fulfilling services, and sending clients out the door having extracted – ethically and legally – as much money as possible, every single time.
That system – or systems – were so successful that Marnie’s husband Peter Doman now works for Worldwide Salon Marketing, setting up the same kind of system for our Member salons and spas. Here’s how Peter describes the process they put in place.
Want that for your hair or beauty business? Complete the form here and Peter will be in touch to walk you through it…
“YES! I want to know how to set up my salon for sale!”
As our coaching & marketing members would know, I’ve rarely been accused of being anything less than direct. When it comes to writing about what works in marketing & business, I don’t tend to soften my words to avoid offending those with delicate sensibilities.
In business, reality IS harsh. If that offends you, stop reading now.
It obviously offended the managing editor of the country’s biggest beauty industry publication. I’ve written for this magazine many times, but when she read the following article, she emailed back
“…I think it might be a little too honest for us to run and get away with!”
Just before Christmas, I took a call from a young salon owner who was clearly in some distress. It soon became clear why.
“I’m due to have my first baby in 6 weeks,” she said. I congratulated her and said she must be excited, wow, wonderful and other such supportive small talk.
“More terrifying than exciting,” she said. “I’m still working 5 days a week behind the chair, I’m the main money-earner in my salon, and I don’t know how I’m going to survive when the baby comes. I just don’t know what to do….”
Crikey. Six weeks to go, and no back-up plan? Without wishing to state the bleeding obvious, childbirth isn’t something that kind of sneaks up on you without warning. Like, about 9 months warning.
But this young lady’s story of woe is hardly unique. Thousands of salon owners – who are, by nature, mostly women – face this (very) common problem. Yet so few seem prepared for it.
So this week I interviewed three prominent Members of ourInner Circle Marketing & Mentoring program who are, or have recently, faced and solved that precise problem.
Rachael D’Aguiar is not only a very successful salon owner, she and husband Chris Sanders own the WSM business in New Zealand. As of the time of writing, Rachael is 10 weeks away from the birth of their first child (a girl) and is passionate about ‘being organized…’
Amy Mitchell already has two-year-old Macy. As she picked up the phone to join in on this interview, she was literally a few days – even hours – away from the birth of her second child. As she reveals here, a year ago Amy’s business was on the brink of failure. But suddenly, there was a light at the end of the tunnel – and it wasn’t an oncoming train.
Tegan Messineo gave birth to twin boys two years ago. She still under the age of 25, yet now owns two successful salons, and like Amy, decided to open the second business after the birth of her boys. Here she describes how the arrival of babies can actually be a spur to working smarter, and more productively…
Below is the first 7 minutes of an exclusive CD of the Month all members of the Inner Circle Premium program receive in the mail – just one of the many benefits of Inner Circle membership….
Marketing Plan For A Beauty Salon: How do YOU Compare with This Salon Owner??
History is a great teacher. In 1944, General Eisenhower assembled the greatest invasion force in history to storm the beaches at Normandy.
Eisenhower knew that anything less than MASSIVE, overwhelming force, and the Allied attempt to drive the Nazis out of Europe would fail.
It remains a source of mystery to me why so many business owners don’t get this lesson. Regularly, I get email from salon & spa owners who moan that ‘I sent one of your letters to 30 of my clients and only got one appointment…’
Or, ‘I ran one ad…on page 68, down in the bottom right hand corner…and I didn’t get any response…”
One letter? To just 30 people? Well, what do you expect? What else did you do?
It’s a well-known law that action and results are inextricably tied together. Yet it’s a never-ending source of bemusement to me that so many salon & spa owners have massive expectations from minimal action.
So it’s instructive to look below at what’s required to get BIG results. And it shows clearly that the 80/20 rule applies in all things… Clearly, only 20% of salon & spa owners are prepared to take this kind of action, but they make 80% of the money in the entire industry.
Inner Circle member Lisa Conway ofMarinelli hair only joined the IC program and received her Toolkit in mid-2008. At the members-only closed-door networking session after this week’s Road to Riches salon marketing seminar, Lisa told me how, until she joined the program, she had spent years in fear, afraid to make changes in her business, afraid to confront lazy staff, afraid to take any action.
All that changed when she ‘saw the light’. In this email Lisa sent the day before the seminar, she reveals a partial list of the action she’s taken, the marketing she’s implemented, in just a few months…
“I got thinking about what I have introduced or changed in our salon since I joined the program and got the Toolkit last July….
1.Send out SMS to a data base at a moments notice with deals to make the phone ring.
2.Collect and use Email to send special offers
3.Advertise with huge success in the local paper.
4.Letter drop our area
5.Put flyers on car windscreens
6.Stand in the street outside our salon handing our brochures
7.Give away $50 vouchers in coffee shops to faces I don’t know.
8.Queen of referrals program
9. Raise the dead letters
10. Birthday $10 vouchers
11. Made a fabulous brochure using an offer and great testimonials
12. Thank you for choosing us letters and $10 vouchers
13. Introduced another retail line so we have two now
14. Went from never doing any treatments in salon to doing 30 a week
15. From not one package to consistently doing packages
16. Weekly staff group meetings
17. Weekly staff training in salon
18. Weekly staff one on one
19. Introduced a fabulous system that puts all staff behaviour into 4 simple groups (Attitude, team, skill and Neglect) easy for us both to track and understand.
20. Display the salon’s weekly takings in lunch room showing both great and not so great work.
21. Know my average dollar sale and watched it go up
22. Know how to find so much more out of my computer
23. I have used movie tickets, holidays and chocolate as staff incentives, not just money.
24. Have staff that gets to work on time and has had their breakfast.
25. Have a staff birthday club that we go out for breakfast.
26. A manager who can now manage staff issues with out me.
27. Cleared out the staff I had with bad attitudes
28. Made our 100% money back guarantee common knowledge
29. Ring all colour work one week later to check if client is happy
30. We regularly back the computer up more than once every day.
31. Dialled up and joined a conference call
32. Listen to disks sent every month that motivate me.
33. Raised my price across the board twice
34. My on the floor time is now 4 hours twice a week.
35.I asked one client to find somewhere else to have her hair done.
36. Renovated the salon completely from 6 stations to 10 and 2 basins to 3
37. Know what % my staff cost me, know what it costs to open the doors
38. Sent my staff to another salon to get their hair done for the experience
“I have enjoyed this journey very much, I would never have believed this much could be done in such a small space of time not to mention watching my profit go up and my anxiety level go down. I am looking forward to the next chapter………….. Lisa.”
So, no fewer than thirty eight specific changes, actions and outcomes… and the biggest outcome of all, a massive $60,000 increase in sales in the 5 months August-December 08 compared with 07.
How do YOU compare with this list?
Check out these salon business building resources from Worldwide Salon Marketing.
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