Management Practices

Profitability Project: Build a Client Magnet

Frank Gambuzza | April 1, 2013 | 11:32 AM

Profitability Project: Build a Client MagnetA new stylist who is focused on building her book can be good about asking her guests to refer their friends and family members. But as her business grows and her book starts to fill, she becomes more complacent, and she quits asking for that new business.

No matter how sophisticated marketing programs get, there’s never going to be a better way of attracting new clients than using your existing guests to attract them for you. It remains the oldest, yet most effective, way of generating new business. And, the best way to do that is to not take your existing guests for granted. Make each of their visits an exciting and memorable, and they will talk about you everywhere they go, from a night out with their girlfriends to the local PTA meeting. In essence, they become ambassadors for your brand.

Of course, you can sweeten the deal every once in a while by giving away something to the guests who are recommending you, as well as to the friends who being referred. We do recommend though that you never offer a discounted service to new customers—that just sets up a mentality that it’s all about the money, and it can build up resentment within your current customers. Today, many salons use group couponing to generate traffic because it seems so easy – but these programs often don’t generate incremental traffic. They either cannibalize the salon’s business by discounting services the guests already is buying, or they attract one-time bargain hunters who never intend to patronize the salon again.

It’s much better to find a way to incentivize your loyal customers and even gift them and their friends with products or an experience in your salon or spa. If done correctly, the new clients will come in four times over the next year—making it worth your investment—and your loyal guests will become even more excited about your brand.

For example, at Salon Visage in Knoxville, Tennessee, about twice a year we give our associates a stack of VIP cards and ask them to give them out to their guests, asking guests to help us by sharing the cards with three friends who have never been to the salon before. The cards offer the referred friend a salon experience.

While many salons do this, here’s what makes our program unique. After the guest accepts the card, she goes to check out and there, the front desk staff present her with a card of her own, inviting her to have a service in our salon or spa she’s never experienced before. We tell the guest it is our way of showing our appreciation in advance for handing out the cards and for being a valued client.

George Alderete, one of the salon’s senior colorists, is a great example of how the program works.  A 30-year veteran of the beauty business, Alderete was an accomplished colorist, but he moved he from Los Angeles and found himself needing to build a clientele from the ground up. When we started the VIP program, Alderete had been with the salon about a year, and was seeing four-five guests per day. In about six months, his client count grew by around 50 percent.

"It is by far the best way I've seen to grow your business," says Alderete. "I wish I'd had something like this when I was starting out. I had all the tools - experience, enthusiasm and a great salon - I just needed clients to experience what I had to offer and this program did that."
Alderete suggested to his clients they give the cards as a gift to someone special in their life. Whether it was a close friend or relative, a client in their business or just someone who needed it. "One client was so excited to give one to her sister because she had been having a rough time and thought this would be a great pick me up."

Out of all first-time guests who came to Salon Visage because of its VIP card, 60 percent returned for repeat services—well above the industry average for new client retention. In addition, about half of those clients, as well as the clients who only came once, bought other services or products during their visit.

Profitability Project: Build a Client MagnetFrank Gambuzza is the owner of The Visage Group with four salon and spa locations in Knoxville, Tennessee. Scott Missad is the CEO of Gene Juarez, with 10 salons and two academies in Seattle, Washington. For more information about Strictly  Business, the live education seminars founded by Gambuzza and Missad, contact Julie Oeffling at 800-718-5949.

Related Topics:
Facebook Comments

More from Management Practices

Salon Business News
Salon Business News

Day 1 & 2 From HAIR+ Summit

October 20, 2016

Earlier this week, MODERN SALON MEDIA hosted the first HAIR+ Summit in Atlanta, offering stylists and salon owners the opportunity to dive deep into the causes of thinning hair and hair loss, while exploring the many solutions available for their clients who suffer from hair loss issues. Find out what happened each day at the event and learn who was there by browsing through our pictures.

Management Practices Denise Avallone and Donna Huston, owners of Adagio for Hair in El Dorado Hills, CA.
Management Practices

The Healthy Workplace Checklist

Rosanne Ullman | October 4, 2016

When salons encourage their stylists to make health and fitness a priority, the team is better able to take care of the salon's clients. Healthy Hairdresser Editor Rosanne Ullman complied this Healthy Workplace Checklist to help owners with specific action items they can implement to begin developing a culture of wellness.

Load More