“The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —anonymous—
Sometimes we make things way too complicated. You know I’m not suggesting it’s a breeze to run a salon/spa because we both know it’s not. However, when it comes to marketing results, most salons/spas are not getting the new clients the marketing efforts are designed to get. Why? Could it be that our marketing strategy is out of alignment with where our customers are really coming from? Doesn’t it go without saying that until we know exactly where and why people are coming to us, we won’t be able to focus our marketing. Without a laser focus, we both spend too much of our precious resources, namely time, money, and energy in all the wrong places. What’s the best, easiest, and simplest way to align our salon/ spa’s marketing to produce optimum results? Follow these three steps to get your business to soar higher than ever. Step 1: Just Ask! Ask your clients the “Million Dollar Question.” Simple isn’t it? Want
to learn how most of your clients have learned about your business and what motivated them to come to you? Simply ask them, “What compelled you to come to us the first time.” By asking this question you’ll discover the pathway that brought them to your door. Plus, there’s an additional benefit to doing this. They’ll feel special that you asked them. After all, everyone wants to feel special. Step 2: Be a “marketing Sherlock Holmes.” Look carefully at the answers. Write down all the responses to your question (you may want to have the clients fill out a simple questionnaire). Evaluate the answers. Are there some recurring themes? Did some people pop in because they were clients of the dry-cleaner next door? Did they learn about the salon because a friend told them? If it’s a regular client, what specific things remind them to come back? I’m sure you’ll discover the power of referrals. It could be that 80-90% of your clients come to you from referrals. Then take a moment and ask yourself this. What system do you have in place to actively stimulate referrals? Truth be told, less than 20% of salons have referral systems in place. So just imagine the possibilities. For now, let’s not jump the gun and assume anything. Just follow the bouncing ball and go through the exercise step-by-step. Step 3: Focus your marketing efforts to soar higher than ever. If you find that majority of your business is coming from places other than where you are spending your money, time, effort and energy, redirect your marketing. You want to put the resources where you get the “biggest bang for the buck.” If people are coming to you because of direct marketing, then take the money you may be spending in local newspaper advertising and put it into your direct marketing. Concentrate your resources so you’ll maximize your level of marketing effectiveness.
Pricing is a balancing act between your client’s needs and your salon/spa’s needs. It’s the place where money (balancing revenues and expenses) and marketing (attracting and keeping clients) meet.
your prices to be acceptable to your clients and give them a sense of value received. At the same time, your prices must give your salon/spa enough revenues to cover costs and give you the profit you’re looking for. Pricing is a craft as much as a science. Why? Because, even though every one is searching for the “perfect” price, no one has found it. Every company, no matter how large, has a tough time with pricing. The difference between the large companies and smaller ones is that the smaller ones usually don’t do their homework. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they’re small! One of the things we do know is pricing is inversely related to revenues, meaning when your prices go up, you can expect to sell fewer products. If you reduce your prices, you can expect to sell more products. Beware, this relationship is not what the math geeks call linear, meaning a 10% increase in prices doesn’t necessarily mean a 10% increase in sales. When it comes to pricing, there are many factors at play. The bottom line is you need to take a holistic business approach to it. You’ll also need a structured way to look at pricing, and as part of that system, you’ll need a way to calculate the impact of your pricing decisions. To work on your pricing you’ll have to know the following.
- Price per unit (service or product)
- Number of units sold
- Your variable cost per unit (cost of goods, cost of labor)
- Total fixed expenses
Then you create a “where we are right now” based on your salon/spa’s recent history (the science). Next, you create “what-if” scenarios (here’s where the craft comes in). This is where you ask yourself questions such as:
- What if I raise our prices by $X per unit?
- What if I wanted to spend additional marketing $ that will generate Y% of additional sales?
- What if I cut my variable costs by V% or Z$ per unit.
We use a “Power Guidance Salon/Spa Pricing Tool©”, which by asking these questions, you simply plug in variables and the tool will give you the results. Thus, you’ll be able to see the financial consequences of your decisions before you implement any new pricing strategies. To find out more about how we can help, visit us at thebeautyresource.com. Remember that pricing always depends upon your knowledge of your salon/spa and the marketplace.
I’ve never met an ambitious business owner who doesn’t have increasing sales on the top of her priority list.
Have you? Use this list as a checklist to see what you are currently doing. Then choose any one of the items (the one you think will be the easiest to make happen) and put it into place.
After you do this; then choose another. Little by little, you’ll find your sales increasing, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing efforts.
- Better organize your literature for client fulfillment (this includes preparing sets of literature, documenting your procedures, and training your team).
- Maintain a library of standard letters and forms that can be quickly accessed and merged with your database’s contact information.
- Produce F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) sheets and fax back documents to answer common questions.
- Provide administrative support for data collection and research.
- Utilize Sales Automation tools to increase productivity and follow-up. Users must be able to share information and delegate tasks.
- Use front desk staff to capture qualifying information and do certain data entry functions.
- Plan marketing campaigns well in advance and have fulfillment thought out
and materials on-hand.
- Generate useful analysis reports that guide you and your team to opportunities, and help you to focus your efforts on choice clients or potential clients.
- Evaluate the results of
your marketing and sales methods to provide constructive feedback to your team.
- Provide presentation materials and tools that strengthen your selling message and help your people communicate more effectively.
I’m going to share with you 12 ways to grow more clients—six this week and six next week. Some of these you may already be aware of or are actively using. Others may be new to you.
Whatever the case may be, each one of these methods has application to your salon/day spa. All you have to do is adapt it to your particular circumstance.
- Referral Systems: These are specific processes
you use regularly to get your clients to recommend and encourage other people they associate with to seek out the services or products you sell. (For specifics see The Finkelstein Report Volume 1 Issue 18 and Issue 30.)HOT TIP: The key to making your referral system work is your client must understand and appreciate the value and benefit of the service they receive from your salon/day spa.
- Risk Reversal: Any time two people come together to do business, one person is always asking the other person to take more risk than they do. Think about it. If you’re asking people to come to take advantage of let’s say your hair color services, many won’t be willing to do so. It’s an issue of knowing you and trusting you. Clients just won’t buy at anywhere near their capacity because they don’t want to take on all the risk.
- Host-Beneficiary Relationship: These allow you to capitalize on the strong relationships and goodwill other companies and professionals may have established with prime prospects for your services and products. Here’s the question. Who in my marketing area is already selling to the clients I want to reach or serve? They would be selling something that goes before, along with, or after what you provide.
- Advertising: Go slow with advertising. If you do advertise, make sure you do it frequently enough and that it will be heard or seen by enough people you need to be talking to. Just a little reminder, it’s always about them (the target and never about you).
- Direct Marketing: Some people call direct marketing “salesmanship in print.” Well, whether it’s via post-cards, brochures, letters, or via the Internet, it’s a powerful way to get your message into the mind of your prospective client. Remember, it’s about frequency as well as the message.
- Tele-marketing: This is a tool you can use in many different ways, to survey clients, to forge tighter relationships, and to follow up on direct marketing (you can get as much as 10 times increased sales by following up with a sales letter). You can also offer your top clients preferential treatment
on products and services.
Last week’s report outlined six of twelve ways you can grow more clients. Here are the final six. While you may already be either aware of or are actively using them, others may be new to you.
Whatever the case may be, each one of these methods has application to your salon/day spa. All you have to do is adapt it to your particular circumstance.
- Direct Mail: So many salon/day spa owners think people don’t read anything longer than a sentence. That’s simply not true.Think of direct mail as being “salesmanship” in print. Direct mail gives you the opportunity to take your most powerful sales presentation and turn it into a printed message that can be delivered into the hands and minds of all the prospective clients you’ll ever want to meet.Direct mail gives you great flexibility and the possibility to reach people and businesses your normal selling methods wouldn’t allow you to reach.
- Telemarketing: It’s a great tool you can use in many different ways, from conducting surveys to see how your business is doing, to establishing, developing, and maintaining very close relationships with prospects and clients. Use telemarketing to:* Follow up with prospects or clients after a sales letter (you can get up to ten times (10X’s) the response to a sales letter by following up with a phone call. * Find out why people are not buying from you and convert them. * Offer your best clients preferential values on products or services. * Pre-test new products or services.
- Special Events and Information Nights: What a great way to distinguish your salon/day spa and connect with your clients! Offer prospects and clients an opportunity to learn more about the benefits and results of your products and services. Create the opportunity to meet outside experts.For examples and ideas, check out the events calendar at Nordstrom’s, Neiman-Marcus, Barnes & Noble, or William-Sonoma (for those of you love to cook & eat!). Then adopt and adapt their ideas and programs to your particular circumstance.
- Qualified Lists: It’s easy to identify specific people (or businesses) that are more likely than not to be your target audience for your services and products. There are a number of sources, including the Data Directory of Business Listing published monthly by Standard Rate and Data Service. This directory contains approximately 35,000 listings and descriptions of mailing lists and customer lists you can rent for any purpose imaginable.
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Your USP is a statement that communicates the most powerful benefit or
competitive advantage you offer your clients. To create one you’ll have to determine what they are, not getting them from anyone else, and offer it to your clients! Incorporate the fact that you’re offering them this unique benefit in everything you say and everything you do.Ask yourself, what superior benefit is my salon/day spa in a position to give to my clients? In addition, what superior benefit am I actually providing that my clients may not be aware of? What are your goals? Convince every client or prospective client you deal with that they can expect to receive this unique benefit on an on-going basis by doing business with you instead of your competitors.
- Public Relations:
In every local market (including yours) there are publications, local media, newsletters, etc. Believe me; all of them are hungry for information and ideas. Public Relations (PR) is easier than you think. Approach it from a strategic point of view, not a one shot deal. If you need to hire a pro, it’s worth it.HOT TIP: To be extremely successful with PR all you have to do is understand one thing: It’s all about them—not about you! People care about what is important to them, what will help them improve their lives, expand their comfort, make them richer, more entertained, more fulfilled, and more protected.
Like the expression, “every picture tells a story,” every part of your salon/day spa is a zone or a message center.
Think about it this way, you are the designer or programmer, you have a blank canvas, and you have no competition from other media. In other words, your salon/day spa’s physical space is a medium you don’t have to share with anyone. Your salon/day spa is where you fight for your client’s discretionary dollars. You’re marketing on your own turf so it’s all up to you. You can differentiate yourself from everyone else in your neighborhood also wanting to win the client’s dollars. You probably are already doing some if not all of this; however, you may want to use this list (please feel free to add to it) to check to see if you’re maximizing your opportunities. It can help those of us who sometimes can’t see the forest from the trees.
Once you have the employees involved, focus on other zones where you can merchandise to create more sales.
- Parking Lot Zone It’s here where you make your first impression, make sure that it’s safe and well lit. Start your promotions here, use marquees, banners, and distinguish yourself from your competition. If you offer valet parking, use it to your advantage by distributing flyers, special offers (cleaning the client’s car windows), etc.
- Your Entry Zone Whether it is a foyer, lobby, or entryway, set your clients expectations by merchandising this area with displays, posters, samples, etc.
- Your Front Desk Zone Make sure the client sees a smiling face and hears the words, ”How can I help you?” or “Good to see you today, how may I assist you.” You may also want to use this zone for point of purchase display material, or take a page out of the specialty food store or Starbucks, and have impulse purchases for sale. It’ll improve your average ticket!
- Waiting Area Zone You have a captive audience, so besides having friendly, smiling staff passing by and asking clients how they can help, find some merchandising tools to enhance your marketing, magazines with covers, before and after books, scratch pads with your salon/day spas name, posters, and informational brochures are just a few examples.
- Your Office Zone It’s a place where you handle customer complaints, give reviews and guidance, and see vendors. Make sure it’s organized to send the messages that you want to send. There’s nothing like a clean office to communicate cleanliness and orderliness are things that are important to your salon/day spa. How about having a stack of gift certificates handy for your vendors to thank them for your relationship, they can become great word of mouth marketers for you.
- Your Dispensary Zone Here’s the place your internal clients congregate so make sure you do daily inspections and engage them. Use recognition posters, reward photos, contest signage, as well as scoreboards showing the key salon indicators.
- Bathroom Zone This is the place is the most often neglected (next to the dispensary zone). Use posters with special promotions, testimonials, and images that depict the benefits of your products and services.
- Telephone Zone In today’s cell-phone world, the pay telephone may look like a dinosaur. However, if you’re running a day/spa and don’t want clients using their telephones, provide a space where they can go, along with note-pads, pens, etc.