It goes without saying that salons guarantee their work – after-all if a client is unhappy they’ll do their best to make whatever is “wrong” – right. But is that guarantee anywhere on salon’s price menu or list – even in the fine print? Probably not, despite it’s being a very smart business.
So What’s a Salon Guarantee?
A salon guarantee is an upfront promise to a client that any service on the salon’s menu – be it hair color, hair cuts, manicures, pedicures or facials – or product she purchases from the salon – is going to be to a client’s “liking”.
When it comes to services, the guarantee is simple: if the client doesn’t “like” what she had done, she can always come back (free of charge) and get it re-done and re-done until she’s satisfied with her result.
And with products bought for use at home the guarantee is similar – if you’re not happy with the product then bring it back and we’ll find you something you’ll like – and the only question we’ll ask you is if you have your receipt.
That’s Coming From a Place of Trust & Caring
So how does the guarantee work? Naturally that depends upon the salon and on the particular type of work they do. But generally the salon determines a window of time for each of the services and then stipulates when the client should return to the salon to get the work re-done. For example they may say that the client may not take more than 7 days to report a haircut they’re unhappy about or 10 days for a color.
But Why Even Bother to Guarantee Your Work?
Isn’t it more of a problem than it’s worth? After all isn’t guaranteeing a service like a haircut – so subjective? The client may not like the cut while you think it looks terrific. Somehow it feels a world apart from other guarantees such as your plumber makes (the old 90 days labor and parts). And it is.
But just like these other businesses that guarantee their work, a salon wants its clients to be happy with its services and products. Happy so that it can retain them, happy so that they can tell their family, friends and colleagues about your business. And it doesn’t matter whether she’s a “regular” or a first timer.
Social Media Gives Blabber Mouths a Big Platform.
As a salon owner you simply don’t want them to go blabber mouthing to the world about your business. One person tells at least twenty others about a bad experience – and that’s the old fashioned way.
With social sites like Yelp, and Facebook at your client’s fingertips blabber mouthing is easy – and one unhappy client can spread the word like wildfire to hundreds of others.
You Want Your Clients to Be Close to You.
Your guarantee helps to lasso any unhappy customers and bring them back into your chair. And in doing that it separates a salon out from the crowd. Because most salons while they profess to care, when push comes to shove, they won’t guarantee their services and products. Why? Because, as opposed to a salon that does, they’re afraid of the cost of the re-do, afraid of the cost of replacing product.
They’re also afraid that clients will take advantage of them.
The salon that guarantees its services and products is one that’s quietly confident about
itself and its expertise – and the confidence that lies in your guarantee is a magnet that not only attracts clients but gives a sense of security – a feeling that only comes when someone deals with an expert who knows what she’s doing.
And How Do You Tell Clients About Your Guarantee?
You tell them visually by putting your guarantee on all your marketing materials:
- The salon welcome packet
- Business cards
- Retail shelves
- Shopping bag stuffers
- Dressing rooms
- Station place cards
- Banded on your retail products
And you communicate by telling them about it in:
- Salon’s consultation
- Telephone scripts.
But as strong as your guarantee may be – it may not be good enough for some.
Those people who insist on getting their money back.
So what do you do? If you’ve done everything in your power short of giving them their money back and they’re still not happy – give them their money back. After all your entire guarantee is about your client’s happiness.
But you can also make a mistake in refunding money.
You can make a mistake in not giving a client her money back promptly when, after exhausting all other possibilities, you finally agreed to do the refund.
What happens is instead of making the refund and moving on, you now not only become a salon that does lousy hair, but also one that doesn’t honor its word. You’ve just compounded an already thorny problem.
A Salon Guarantee Boosts Client Confidence
In summary a guarantee is a powerful marketing tool. After all, when we think about it, doesn’t a salon guarantee its work without an “official guarantee” in place? So why not leverage something that’s already implied and formalize your guarantee?
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Facebook, the 800lb social networking gorilla is stomping through the digital jungle again http://tinyurl.com/8282egg
And for the more than 850 million inhabitants of this digital jungle, including the tens of thousands of salon and spa businesses, it’s survival of the fittest.
You either recognize the rulers of this jungle, and understand the rules or you don’t. Those who “get it” end up the winning the digital marketing game. Those who don’t – won’t.
and skillfully adopting and adapting your Facebook pages and marketing may not turn you into an 800lb social networking gorilla, it’ll keep you from becoming just another little ant scurrying around in the digital underbrush – never seeing the light of day – never getting more clients, never building a new prospect list and never seeing more salon sales from your social media efforts.
So let’s talk about Facebook’s King and Queen. While some may consider Mark Zuckerberg the company’s founder & CEO and Sheryl Sandberg the company’s COO to be Facebook’s royalty, I’m talking about another royal couple.
That royal couple is content – The King, and engagement – The Queen. And engagement rules the house.
Why? Because you can have
Technology is seductive and tall tales of on-line success abound in the salon/spa world. For most salons/spas the internet with its variety of marketing tools (Facebook, Twitter, and Your Own Website etc.) is a bright shiny object. And bright shiny objects can hypnotize you into a state of “marketing myopia” where you end up excluding things from the world of bricks and mortar in your marketing – the very things necessary to help you get and keep more clients. And bright shiny objects can hypnotize you into a state of “marketing myopia” where you end up excluding things from the world of bricks and mortar in your marketing – the very things necessary to help you get and keep more clients. Why do salon/spa owners develop get “marketing myopia”? Because, with the online world’s hypnotic effect it’s easy for an owner to believe that everyone, their competition and their clients is online. Believe it or not this simply is not true. Although people spend a great deal of time online – they don’t spend their lives on-line and most would rather do things off-line.
- Receive a postcard or letter via snail mail than read an email.
- Watch a DVD on their television rather than on their computer.
- Talk to people over the phone or face to face rather than through email.
- Visit your salon/spa rather than browse your website.
- Sit down and read a book rather than read a book online or on an e-reader.
Although Fresh Direct delivers food to your door after you order it online, people still prefer to go to Whole Foods or another supermarket. Why? Because they like their shopping experience – they like to check out the freshness of the meat, they to smell, squeeze and occasionally sneak a taste of the fruit. The same goes for the salon/spa where it’s all about the human touch, the social interaction, the experience of smelling a delicious shampoo, of feeling the silkiness of a hair treatment or the smoothness of a waxing service. People would rather buy professional products from a trusted advisor who has their best interests at heart rather than from an anonymous website. This is not to say that having an online presence isn’t important – it is. But to maximize your marketing effectiveness you must marry your online processes with your offline processes. So how do you leverage your online presence? With the human touch, of course.
- Give your clients/prospects multiple means of contact – make sure to have a fax number, a phone number and a snail mail address. This signals to your customer that they can contact you by various methods not just by email.
- Use the telephone for resolving problems – not email. People want to talk with people.
- Advertise your online presence off line.
- Business cards
- Fax sheets
- Promo materials
- Answering Machine
- Send thank you letters and special invitations through snail mail. There’s nothing like the personal touch and a heart-felt, hand written thank you.
“Marketing Myopia” is just one of many marketing mistakes you can make, but it’s not only very common for salon/spa owners to develop but also
it can be very costly. So be aware of the “bright shiny” objects and remember people social being who need human interaction.
Everyone in the salon industry “knows” that “the real money is in retail”.
And if only you “invested” more time, money
and energy into retail your salon’s fortunes
would be different from what they currently are.
So you buy a bunch of retail, bring in a rep to hold a training class – and nothing really happens – you don’t move the sales “needle” – nor do your profits grow.
But what if you took a moment to examine the statement “the real money’s in retail”?
What if it was simply a belief (myth) that’s been perpetuated in our business so that professional product manufacturers can make their numbers? Would you do anything differently?
To find out about this “Myth” of retail as well as six other salon myths click here to sign up for my Ezine and receive the latest edition (Sunday June 22, 2014) “Seven Salon Myths That Can Destroy Your Business”
Jim Fixx, the author of the best-selling book, The Complete Book of Running, touted how running could extend someone’s life by six to nine years. Yet, Jim, a man who started to run at the age of 35 and shed 50 pounds, dropped dead at 52. Why? He didn’t pay attention to his diet.
And just like Jim Fixx, seemingly successful salon’s haven’t examined how delivering hair color services – a mainstay of salon revenue – may actually be clogging the cash flowing from the bottom line.
There are three main reasons that salons are not making money with hair color – even though the owner believes otherwise.
So let’s move right into to the first one:
- The Pricing for Hair color Services Isn’t Right
A salon owner understands that the higher price of hair color services translates into more profits for her business. Especially since the product manufacturers, (a powerful force in an owner’s business life) reinforce the idea by telling the owner how much more money they’ll make by building their salon’s hair color business.
Why? Not only because of the high price they can command for doing the actual hair color service, but also because of the increased need a hair color client has to visit the salon.
Once committed to color she’ll visit every four to six weeks – rather than the six to eight week visitation pattern of a regular styling client .At every turn the salon owner is met by the message of “you’ll make more money if your salon does more higher priced services.”
And what salon owner doesn’t want to hear the message of “more”?
It’s not only the manufacturers who broadcast the message. It also comes from the trade magazine editorials, the exhibitors on their soapboxes in the trade shows and the manufacturers of home coloring kits who juxtapose their product offering with the expensive salon color services. The high priced buzz is all around.
But the buzz belies the fact
But the buzz belies the fact – most salons are not making money – or at least the type of money
they should make.
One big reason for bleeding bottom lines is most owners haven’t priced their hair color services from the bottom up. From the bottom up means to start with end in mind – the end being profitability – and then working upwards through the costs to deliver the service before backing into the price of the service.
And following the bottom up pricing method can automatically lead to profitable hair color business provided that a couple of other things are in place. Which brings us to our second reason.
- The Salon’s Supply Ordering System May be Draining Profits Too
Why? Because ordering is usually based on the free-form system of eyeballing the inventory – rather than using a formalized, by-the numbers supply ordering system.
This eyeball method comes because a hairstylist’s worst nightmare is recommending a certain color to a client. Only to have to disappoint her by not being able to deliver because the salon’s out of stock.
The antidote to the nightmare? Filling the supply closet with every color in the rainbow – and suffocating the salon’s bottom line under piles of slow moving or useless hair color inventory.
- The Salon Bottom Line Blues
At the same time the salon’s supply closets being piled high with hair color products – there’s also product being poured down the drain – costing the salon a ton of money. And why are products going down the drain? Because of two bad habits:
- Bad Thinking Habits aka Theft – while not every salon employee slips a tube of hair color into her bag at the end of the day (to do Mom’s or a friend’s hair at home) too many do. Why? Because they justify it as a “perk” of the job rather than call it for what it is – stealing. And the owner, who’s using the eyeball system never knows its slipping out the door.
- Bad Mixing Habits aka Laziness – then there’s the “Mississippi River” Problem of hair color. It’s caused by hair stylists not knowing how to properly mix the colors. They do not precisely measure what they need (using a scale) and measure product in grams rather than in oz.’s. Instead what they do is follow the manufacturer’s 1/2 oz. or 1 oz. markers on the tubes – why? Because its easier – and the manufacturer recommended it. As a result product literally goes down the drain.
The bottom line of these habits? Hair color costs per application are up to double what they should be – and profits that are half – if that, of what they should be.
In summary, hair color services considered by most salon owners as a big contributor to a salon’s bottom line – when examined closely, isn’t!
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Savvy Salon owners bring new clients through their doors by using different marketing methods – referrals from friends and family, Google ads, Facebook Pages and Ads, Yelp reviews, and salon window displays just to name a few.
Some of these marketing methods cost more money than others
While some marketing methods cost more money than others, sometimes those more “expensive” ways give you much better results than other less costly methods. No matter what marketing method you choose
Your salon must have an ongoing new salon client marketing system
And every component of the system, whether working separately and/or combined with others has one mission – to get you new clients.
Why? You need new clients so that your salon doesn’t decline –let alone move ahead.
You need new clients if only to replace those clients who have left the salon because of “organic” client attrition (clients move, financial or family circumstances change etc.). But that’s not enough. You also need new clients to grow the salon.
Savvy salon owners also know there’s part 2 to a salon’s marketing system
And this second part also has a mission. The mission is to help increase a salon’s new client retention rate (national average is about 30%). And the mission starts by immediately reconnecting with a client after the first visit – and takes it away from there. All the pieces of salon client follow-up are part of this system.
The salon client “follow-up” system
The “follow-up system” uses mostly phone calls and emails as tools. And the best follow up systems are designed so that you pull these tools out of the toolbox sequentially.
For example one day after a client visits make a “just checking to see if you liked everything” phone call. Then five days later an email with another message – you get the picture.
Most salons today use email to communicate with clients
While salons use email all the time when trying to connect and/or reconnect with clients
(they’re now competing for a client’s attention with those 147 emails the average person gets everyday) – they’re leaving the one true power-tool they have in their marketing toolbox – unplugged.
And it’s the one, when plugged in gives you the best chance to communicate with your clients when they’re not in your chair.
“Snail Mail” does work – when you work it.
So what is “Snail Mail”? “Snail Mail” is a term that describes messages on paper (letters or postcards) by traditional delivery services (mostly the Post Office
To be sure “Snail Mail” is expensive – way more expensive when compared the cost of sending an email or calling someone. But as expensive as it is “Snail Mail” gets the job done for you.
It delivers the message – way more effectively than other methods do. And it’s effectiveness that you’re looking for when communicating your message. Why?
You’ve got to break through to clients
You’ve got to break through the marketing clutter (past as well as present) that you can deliver to clients (past as well as present) what they’re looking for
And “Snail Mail” can get your message across.
How does “Snail Mail” do it? It does it by being dressed up in a certain way – with an envelope that has a handwritten address and a regular stamp. Why those two things? Why not just use a label and/or a postage meter – aren’t they much cheaper? Yes, you’re right they are. But here’s the rub…
You want to give your communications the best chance of working
To give your communications the best chance of working you’ll want to do it like one of my mentors, Michael Gerber, (author of the E-Myth) says – you’ve got to go “whole hog and the postage”.
Going “whole hog and the postage” gives you that chance. Why? Because of what people do when they get “snail mail” – which they still get a ton of (over 7 billion greeting cards alone were sold last year – 22 for every man/woman or child in the country).
There’s a process people follow with “Snail Mail”
When people get their mail they sort it (first in the minds and then physically) into three groups:
The A ’s – personal mail (including yours if it’s both hand addressed and stamped)
The B’s – bills and other “official looking” correspondence
The C’s – junk mail
After sorting they next dump the “C’s” into the garbage.
Then they open “A’s” – and just like magic – your message has been delivered.
OK it’s cost you .50 cents or even a $1.00 just to get your message delivered.
Now Your Message has to Go To Work
The messages mission is to get that person to the action you want them to take – the action of coming into your salon again. And if you write the message in a certain way, just like you’ve sent it in a certain way, you’re increasing your odds of seeing them again.
A well-crafted letter increases the chances of getting results
It increases the odds that the person who you’ve sent it to will either pick up the phone or go online and book an appointment with you.
Mission accomplished – you’ve brought the client back to your salon.
P.S. What’s that worth to your business? What’s the value getting a client into your salon’s chair again?
P.P.S While I wont’ say it’s “priceless” I do know the lifetime value of a salon client is considerable (the $ amount depends on your salon’s particular prices/services).
We’ll just have to leave that for another E-zine.
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