Three things Often Overlooked When Starting A Salon

Hairdressers, stylists, beauty operators, my girl/guy. We usually don’t care what our clients call us--as long as they call us. We want their loyalty, their patronage. We need them. But why do our clients seem to drop away when we start a salon for ourselves?

Here are some things that will safe guard your established clientele loyalty.

1) Sure, they have your number. Sure, they’ve said “I’ll follow you anywhere”. But have you reassured them with pictures and Google maps that you are providing services in a place they can find and feel fancy in? People need reassurance. People don’t welcome change unless there is benefit. You should insert your name in the () in the next sentence. Try it a few times. I’ll wait.

(your name) wants to know if (your name) will be receiving and enjoying a better experience when (your name) follows my hairdresser/stylist/beauty operator/ girl/guy into a location (your name) knows nothing about.

See what I mean? That’s a heck of a lot of “trust my stylist” without any safeguards. Human nature demands reassurance when making a decision.

It’s a new salon. Nobody knows anything real about it except you.

Reassure your clients it’s worth their time and $$ following you with the most used credibility source; a well-crafted website with web presence. You can create a website yourself, but, unless you write code (most stylists don’t because we’re stylists) your efforts can be buried in the massive haystack we call the internet. Also keep in mind page ranking, ie visibility, takes 90 days with all major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) and of course, search engines rely on code. Have a professional help you build a solid page. The name of the game, in the salon business anyway, is to attract and maintain returning clientele.

...which leads us to salon social media marketing. We love our social platform time……so do your fashion forward clients and not so forward clients. If you do not have a professional Facebook page or Twitter account, get on it now. Not only is it an easy platform to post pictures and whatnot, but, it’s a great way to keep your work and salon name in front of the people you want to visit you! (In technical marketing terms that’s “Top of the Mind Awareness” or TOMA if you’re feeling savvy.)

Be professionally responsible with this forum. It’s not the place for you to vent about a crazy day or post pictures of a new car. It’s a tool to communicate with your existing and future clientele. Show off your work. Give helpful tidbits. Post about the latest technical class you took. Offer specials of the month. Another perk about consistent social media events are they can be tie into the website and improve page ranking. Win/Win. Enough about the internet, you got it for now.

Let’s talk shop.

2) I get that you just moved in, you’ve had 7 million extra things to do, you’re stretched thin. Why are your clients not loving your new space? Don’t they appreciate you’ve spent a small fortune on a new hydraulic chair and special light bulbs?

Is the salon clean? I don’t mean picked up and shoved into drawers. I mean clean clean. Sanitized. Organized. Eat off the floor clean?

The salon’s cleanliness reflects you. It’s the FIRST impression clients get when they walk in the door! It reflects your professionalism and work ethic. It reflects how much you care about your client’s wellbeing, health and comfort.

It’s easy to not see what we are used to seeing.
Read it out loud.
It’s easy to not see what we are used to seeing.

We stop seeing things quickly. Look around with fresh eyes.

Your work space needs to be immaculate; you know this. Now that you started a salon, same rules apply. Dusty baseboards, smeared glass, marks on the walls, bits of hair in your comb bin—clients notice and it makes them uncomfortable.

Be aware. Beware of a dirty toilet bowl, an ugly, wet bar of soap on the washroom sink, empty paper rolls. Be aware of the walk up, the entry way glass, the aroma greeting the client at the door. Dusty retail shelves don’t sell product, they scream “nobody wants me”. Messy desks don’t inspire confidence; it states “you can’t rely on me”.

Try not to store everything in your station—keep it sleek. Use portable bins organized for perms, up-dos, and specialty services which are stored in the back bar area until needed. Invest in back bar shelves, racks and storage containers. Take a day and to put your back bar in its place. Save time by not having to rummage around for product and give yourself the gift of easy re-ordering and inventory control. A wall mounted wire color rack changed my life.

Empty the trash, wipe down reflective surfaces, sanitize common handles, sweep sweep sweep and mop every day. Clients need clean and organized. If the salon is dirty or “disheveled”, do expect them to comment about it to a friend as they’re asking for a different salon referral.

3) Are you spending less hands on time with your clients because you’re getting distracted by running your new salon? Are you finishing phone calls while they wait past their appointment time? Are you taking phone calls during appointment times? Are you being interrupted by sales people during appointment times? Are you digging for color/equipment, implements, extra capes? Are you running to get clean towels out of the dryer? You need to manage your precious time and get organized, pronto.

Book yourself with an extra 15 minutes per appointment. Spend an extra 10 minutes finishing your client, selling product, and rebooking. Give yourself 5 minutes of catch up, clean up and bathroom break time. Use chemical processing times to make return phone calls/ texts and set a timer to keep yourself on track.

Use your smart phone features to get the phone away from your ear during appointments! Mute your phone after recording a pleasant message that you are with a client and will call them back asap. Set an automatic text answer stating the same as your voice recording. It’s all about the client in your chair now. Do not neglect them.

Encourage your clients to text for appointments. Do your appointment reminders by text as well. Text messaging is efficient and effective. Clients appreciate when you don’t waste their time playing phone tag. Save small talk and catching up for when they are in your chair.

Book yourself 30 minutes for lunch every working day. Eat something. Hungry doesn’t help, it’s also distracting.

Set firm boundaries with sales people. They should never interrupt your chair time. Insist they set appointments before visiting you, preferably arranged by text message, and keep their visits short. If they really want your business, they will respect your business. Once again, it’s all about the client in the chair.

Lastly, take time for yourself. You started your salon to improve your career, not absorb your life. When you live/eat breathe your business, you become a dull conversationalist indeed. Boring! Organize, prioritize, ask for help from mentors and professionals and then give yourself the gift of having a life. You deserve a Sunday hike; you deserve to have family time. You deserve to laugh with friends. Don’t forget who you were before you became a salon owner. Your clients will appreciate it!