Your marketing’s working. Your social media is sparking interest, your website and Google Business Listing are pulling new clients like crazy and your local promotions are working well.
Now comes the tricky bit…. drum roll please!…. converting all those phone inquiries into sales.
Sales. That word alone is scary for so many people. Yet, it’s the basics of business. If you have no sales, you have no business.
In today’s world, there are two main ways to close leads into sales: Messages (Texts, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Message), or a phone call.
So let’s start with the phone. The humble telephone is THE most valuable sales tool ever invented. For more than 100 years, good sales people have benefitted from its almost limitless reach. Hardly a person on the planet isn’t reachable at some time or another via the telephone.
Yet it’s also the most under-used – and badly used – of all the tools at the sales person’s disposal. Now, I don’t care if someone calls you from a phone booth, using Facebook Audio, FaceTime Audio, Skype, Viber, or even WhatsApp. The point of this is it’s a call of some sort.
Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot! Considering we carry our phones with us almost non-stop, we usually see 95-97% of all notifications. So, when someone calls us, we know – you know – who’s called. The thing is, it’s one thing to get them on the phone. It’s the crucial part that matters: turning that phone call into an enjoyable interaction.
You must never sell to your clients.
You must make them feel loved.
Make them feel wanted.
After all, that’s what people care about. They care about themselves – their feelings, how they’ll look and feel. Not you (sorry for the harshness). So many phone calls, sales calls, any form of calls go to waste because people don’t know how to take advantage and use the art of selling over the phone.
So much excellent marketing is sabotaged by brute ignorance. By a lack of understanding of what happens when a prospective client sees an ad or reads a sales letter and picks up the phone to make an enquiry, there goes a sale.
With every lost phone call is revenue down the drain.
By the way, I’m talking about prospective clients here, which also includes clients that have been to your salon before. Your existing clients are still prospective clients. How many of your existing clients use all of your services offered?
- When a client calls your salon here’s all too often how it sounds:
Client: “Hi, I’d like to make an appointment to have a facial.”
You answer: “No problems, when did you want to come in?”
Client: “Tomorrow afternoon.”
You: “Would 3.00pm suit you.”
Client: “Yes. that would be fine.”
You: “Great, see you then.”
(Sometimes you ask them if they have been to your salon before.)
You take their name and telephone number and hang up.
OR, like this:
“I am ringing about the special facial you’re advertising.”
“I don’t know anything about it. Hold on a minute and I will find out for you, or I’ll put someone on the phone who can help you.”
Have you ever asked yourself the question:
How does this make your new client feel?
Even your existing client for that matter!
When a prospective client calls your salon after seeing a Facebook post or an Instagram photo, she is often nervous, tentative, unsure of what to say, suspicious of being ‘sold’ to.
The very instant you answer the phone is the point at which you can make or break the sale.
“Ring your own salon up, listen to how your girls answer the phone. More importantly, ring other salons and listen to how they answer the phone. Visit other salons and steal great ideas.”
So why do most beauty salons around Australia answer the phone soooooooo badly? Because no one has ever told them how to answer the phone and worse still, Salon Owners and Managers often forget to tell their staff about their current marketing strategies.
There goes that foot bullet again!
If you’re running an online promotion on Wednesday offering a “super winter energy pack” you need to educate your staff on the Monday before. You need to give each staff member a copy of the promotion, tell them where it’s running, and what you want each staff member to achieve from the ad. Have a group meeting. It will only take 5 minutes. Work out a telephone script for them. Get them educated & excited about the opportunity.
So much excellent marketing is inadvertently sabotaged at the first point of contact. Why is it that when you place an ad in the paper, magazine or on the radio you don’t promote it on the phone? It’s just plain common sense. It’s just plain good business.
In my research for Selling with Energy, I was often appalled at the way I was treated when calling salons at random.
Here’s a scary, but true, example:
Therapist: “ABC Beauty Salon.”
Client: “Oh hi, my name’s Jill, I was wondering if I could speak to somebody about a facial?”
Therapist: (sounding harassed) “Sure, what would you like to know?”
Client: “Oh, just what sort do you do, and what the costs are, that sort of thing…”
Therapist: “Sure, Jill. We’re really busy at the moment, if you’d like to make an appointment we can discuss it more in person.”
Therapist: “Sure, Jill. We use Beauty Biz Skin Care, have you heard of that? The cost for a facial is $85.00. Would you like to make an appointment?”
“Your concerns are not the concern of your new prospect client. You should never, ever try to make them her concern, either by the tone of your voice, or the words you say.”
It wasn’t just the verbal response to the questions (the lack of selling techniques) but more the tone in their voice that was most disturbing.
You and your staff are in the business of Service. That’s it. Period. No exceptions. No excuses. And Service begins with the phone.
When your client calls…. she cannot see you.
You are relying on the sound of your voice (and of course what you actually say) to encourage the client to make an appointment.
I’m sure you have phoned a business and been greeted by an unfriendly voice on the other end. How did it make you feel? Let me guess. You hung up thinking: “Gee she was unfriendly, or she sounded grumpy, I’m not looking forward to meeting that person, or hmmm, I only wanted to give them my business and she certainly didn’t make me feel welcome, or I wonder if the boss knows how bad her staff are, or, no thanks, I won’t be making that appointment, or….” Of course you did. And you had every right to!
Remember! There are plenty of salons to choose from. Why would a client choose yours if your staff are rude, unhelpful or unfriendly on the phone? It doesn’t matter how good your product is, or that you have the latest technology to offer….
People respond to People!
We all want to be treated as if we’re someone special. We all expect and deserve the basic courtesies. If you or your staff are unhelpful or unfriendly at the first point of contact, you will not get the business. Or more accurately, because so many Beauty Salons aren’t good at answering the phone, you may get the business in the first instance…. but you won’t keep it!
Are you able to turn your client into a life-long client?
That’s the challenge.
That’s the enormous benefit.
Poor phone manners are a specialty of the
‘SALES PREVENTION DEPARTMENT’
Do you have such a department at your salon? Most owners would say: ‘No way.” Are you sure? How do you know? Do you listen to every phone call that comes in? Read the next few pages carefully and you will discover how the Sales Prevention Department can be killed off quickly, effectively and permanently.
Here are the absolutely essential techniques for maximising your chances of
- FIRST getting that appointment
- THEN closing the sale.
You hear the phone ringing. You race to answer it. STOP! In the instant before you pick up the receiver, catch yourself and….smile.
Now start talking.
Why? Because it makes a difference to the way your voice sounds.
Say “Hello, this is (your salon name), (your name) speaking.”
Now, smile first, and say the same thing. Notice the difference? You should. Because it is literally impossible to sound the same! The muscles of the face simply will not allow it. And it shows in the tone and inflection of your voice at the other end…. the end the prospective client is on!
- Your Greeting
You’re smiling…. Excellent.
Now, think about the existing ‘script’ that you and your staff use to answer the phone. Is it something like:
“ABC Beauty Salon, Angela speaking.”?
Time to think again! Put yourself in the client’s position. At the other end of the phone, they are waiting to be welcomed.
Soooooo, your prospective client:
- Does not care a jot that you are busy (nor should they!)
- Is not the slightest bit concerned that your kids are due to be picked up from school any minute, the baby-sitter’s just called to say she’s running late, and you can’t get hold of your husband at work.
- Has not even a shred of sympathy for the fact that two of your staff have called in sick, the electrician’s mucking around in the background trying to get that stereo fixed, and your air conditioning has just packed up.
- Definitely doesn’t want to do business with a staff member who’s unhappy because she feels you don’t pay her enough, or she just doesn’t like you.
Your concerns are not the concern of your prospective client.
Don’t try to make them so. Not by what you say or how you say it.
I make no apology, kids.
This is the grown-up world. We work for a living here. Every call is showtime. Every call.
When you have a new prospective client on the phone you need to make her feel as though she is the most important call of the day.
When a client calls your salon, the voice she hears at the other end is the first impression of your business. As they say: ‘You only get One Chance to make a Good First Impression’.
Welcome your client to your business and introduce yourself.
Have FUN — Remember that? FUN? — teaching your staff how to answer the phone. Make sure your staff understand why it is important to answer the phone correctly. Don’t just tell them how, tell them why. Practice! Let them know that being able to answer the phone correctly (or “giving good phone”) is just as important as being able to apply excellent body treatments.
You can’t be a great therapist if you don’t have any clients!
Run a ½hour workshop on answering the phone. Comment on each other’s phone answering skills. Keep the atmosphere light-hearted but focused and make sure you revisit your phone answering skills regularly. I mean monthly. Old habits are hard to break. And that first impression, that first contact with a client is vital!
And conduct your own Quality Control! Ring your own salon, listen to how your girls answer the phone. Really listen. More importantly, ring other salons and listen to how they answer the phone. Visit other salons and steal great ideas.
What are we Really Selling?
Keep this at the back of your mind. No, come to think of it, keep this at the front of your mind, whenever you are talking with a client.
YOU might think you are selling waxing, facials, body treatments, skin care products, even a good chin-wag.
You are NOT selling any of these things.
You are not in this business at all.
The business you are actually in is the business of selling
As Revlon founder Charles Revson famously said: “In the factory, we make lipstick. In the store, we sell hope.”
Revson knew that he was selling the hopes, the dreams, the longings, the desires of his customers…. and he dedicated his business to satisfying them.
And that is exactly what you are doing.
Just like the man who buys a drill bit.
He doesn’t want a drill bit. (Who does?)
He wants a hole in the wall!
Your clients don’t want skin treatments or waxes.
They want to feel more attractive.
Every word you and your staff utter, every second of your time with your clients, should be spent with that thought in mind.