If you’re one of many Americans who is underemployed, just starting in the beauty industry, or considering making the leap from salon employment to your own business, you’ve come to the right place. Whatever your reason, here are seven ways to increase your business, gain customer loyalty through satisfaction, and boost your clientele. You can gain the competitive advantage by following these few pieces of advice.
1. Take care of yourself and look your best
As a representative of the beauty industry, it’s important that you maintain your health and well-being, for your sake and your clients. Don’t lose sight of your personal health and fitness. What story do your nails, face, and skin tell your customer about your life? Good appearance shows you respect yourself, and your customers as a result.Your clients want to trust that you’ll take care of their hair, and these are small ways to subtly reinforce that you do.
2. Let your unique side shine
It helps to stay fashion forward and be a well-dressed professional. But the truth is, most hairdressers wear the uniform of black. Which means small changes that reflect the image you’d like to portray. Personal branding is important, and you’ll want to mimic the type of client you’re attempting to establish. If you’re working in a fashion forward city in a salon that caters to an eclectic crowd, it’s perfectly acceptable to rock a rainbow ombre. If you’re more into styling formal events, maybe you’ll want to stay classic with upswept hair, strategic makeup, and timeless jewelry.
Don’t be afraid to liven things up with accessories like belts, wraps, and jewelry. Take advantage of holidays when you can wear special colors and don’t be afraid to break out your ugly Christmas sweater in December. You are a walking billboard for your business.
3. The importance of sanitation and hygiene
We all know the effect of sanitizing and maintaining your equipment for longevity and safety. What you may not have thought of is the impact basic sanitation can make on your customer. Small things, like washing your hands in front of your customer and maintaining a spotless workspace will build trust and credibility. It also minimizes potential liability issues. I know we all have cleaning processes in place, but my plea is to make it as visible to the customer as possible to express your impeccable grooming.
4. Ask for referrals
You can drum up fresh business by offering a discount to existing customers for every recommendation that ends in a new customer’s appointment. Referrals are great for two reasons. First, it drives awareness and builds your customer base. Secondly, it ensures your original client comes to you for their next visit to receive their discounted price. Pass out business cards at every appointment, with a few extra they can easily pass on to their friends.
It’s also a good practice to carry business cards in your own bag to pass out when you make a new acquaintance.
5. Be a classy conversationalist
Conversation with your client is hugely important in building clientele. Something to remember is that everyone is looking for something different from their time with you, and it’s up to you to identify and respond to their needs. Some customers prefer a quiet, meditative session and find a chatty hairdresser annoying. Others look forward to their conversation with you and can’t wait to give you updates on their life. Identify everyone’s individual needs by paying attention to body language, facial expressions, and their verbal responses.
Any good hairdresser knows a handful of conversation starters to get the conversation flowing. But canned questions can come off superficial and stereotypical to your client, so we recommend starting with a conversation about your client’s hair. Ask about their beauty regimen, products used, and any concerns they may have. This will help you gauge their interest in a conversation and allow you to pace the conversation in a way that’s comfortable to your client, in addition to allowing you to make knowledgeable product recommendations that benefit your client at the end of your session.
Finally, follow the 70/30 rule. You know the saying, “God gave you two ears and one mouth…” and in sales driven industry it is especially true! You may have the gift of gab, but it’s crucial to listen more than you speak. Be intentional, ask open ended questions, be in command of the listening in the conversation, and be genuinely interested.
6. Remember personal details
It’s no secret that repetitive clientele is your bread and butter. So how do you turn first timers into lifetimers? It begins with following all the previous steps and providing a comfortable atmosphere and your clients leaving highly satisfied. When your appointment is done, make sure to give out your contact information and recommend a timeframe of future treatments. Keep a tiny notebook in your locker or apron so you can jot down a few notes- spouse’s name, what they do as a profession, etc. so you can ask follow-up questions at their next appointment.
7. Have an online presence
Whether you are employed or work freelance, we recommend taking advantage of low-cost marketing on the internet by having an online presence. Creating a website is usually the best way to start. It doesn’t have to be a large or expensive site, just contact details and a work portfolio highlighting your skill. If you’d like to be even more competitive you can add content regularly and upload pictures. Squarespace or Wix are good, low-cost options for building a quick site yourself for a small monthly fee. A WordPress site can be even more flexible and powerful but takes a lot more technical knowledge which may require hiring a professional.
Whether you create a website or not, you can also create a Facebook page for your business and treat it as a mini-website. Facebook is great because you can run targeted ad campaigns, offer discounts for page likes, and it’s a great method of communication. You can even run contests and giveaways on Facebook.
Instagram and Twitter accounts are also important to use. Instagram is great for before-and-after pics or posting new and favorite trends. On Twitter, you can befriend others in your industry, and post links to your pictures or articles to win customer attention.
Now you’re on your way to increasing your customer base and building your repeat business! One final thing to remember is to protect yourself and your clients by signing up for business insurance in addition to your personal insurance. Professional liability insurance is a must have in the hairdresser community, as we’re working with harsh chemicals, heat, potential allergic reactions, etc. Take a look at our product and services, and let us know if you have any questions.
Dan Fortier is a Wellness and Benefits Specialist at Fortier Insurance Services. Dan helps individuals and small business optimize their health and wellbeing one small step at a time. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org