So what’s the most effective way to get referrals? You just have to ask the person who’s sitting in your chair for them – plain and simple.

But for a lot stylists asking for something for themselves can be a very tall order.

Why? Because like all of us, they have that little critique who sits on their shoulder whispering sweet nothings in their ear – nothings like “she just being nice – she really didn’t like it” or “I’m being too pushy to ask her for a referral – my work should stand on its own”

And on and on we go – talking our way out of asking. Especially at the precise moment we should be asking.

Asking with Precision

So when is the best moment to ask for a referral? While there are many moments during the time you’re with that client that you “could,” ask for a referral there’s one that’s probably better than the others.

What’s that “best” moment? It’s the one where your client is in a peak state of happiness with your work – and her choice of you as her stylist.

That moment is right after you finish the styling. It’s when you hand her the mirror and swivel the chair around so she can get a better look at herself.

And as you are doing that you say to her “you know, Sally, I work by referral only. So if you’re happy with your hair I’d appreciate your telling someone who you think would enjoy coming to me too”… “Just make sure you tell her to mention your name when she comes to see me”…

Making it Uber Personal

But then the inevitable question arises – should I give Sally something, for sending one of her friends? And if so what should that something be?

Of course you should – it’s only natural that you do. Just don’t tell her ahead of time that you’re going to – make it appear “spontaneous” to Sally.

You’ll want to do it like that because most people, when they love what you do – and how you make them feel, are happy to send people your way.

To be sure there are some folks who are looking for something. But they’re in the minority.

By in large your clients aren’t looking for a referral “reward” – sure it’d be nice – but it’s not necessary. Why? Because referring people they like is their pleasure.

Clients like Sally send you people who they believe would be happy with your services too. After all, who in their right mind would send you someone they think would be disappointed in you.

So what’s the result of working this way? The referrals made by people like Sally end up staying longer with you and spend more money in your salon.

Plus there’s a side benefit – they’ll refer people to you too – but only if you ask … naturally.

Now you may be thinking – what about all those referral programs I read about in the trade magazines – why wouldn’t I put one of those in my salon? Frankly speaking I’ve never seen one of those programs give a salon the “bang for the buck.

Those Boiler-Plate Referral Programs Simply Don’t Cut It

One of the big mistakes that most salons make when they “design” a referral program is: they forget to teach their people “how to ask”.

Instead they’ll end up “over-designing” the referral program and in the process end up taking out something that essentially comes out of the human spirit – from the heart.

They’ll create those cute little “50% off on your first visit “ cards. You know the ones designed for the referring party to give to the referral and so on and so forth. Then there are rewards like “get $5.00 off if you refer two friends and email blast “refer-a-friend” campaigns.

We can say that while these things are nice to have, even the cleverest of campaigns never seem to do the trick.

So what “does the trick?”

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Doing great hair does – especially when combined with your asking for the referral!

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