Management Practices

Bumping Up Referrals

Allan Labos | September 5, 2013 | 10:29 PM

Word-of-mouth testimonials from customers to their closest friends, family, and associates, is the most cost-effective way to build a clientele. Clients who come into the salon via the referral process are already primed about their new experience. They will easily shop across your brand, accept your long-term styling recommendations, invest in home-care regimes, and are the most likely to refer others. I cannot think of a better, and more economical way to build a clientele of new clients who are already familiar with your work.

I have had the privilege to work and build a customer base in a variety of cities all over the globe. I always applied the same methods as to getting the word out, every client I serviced, always left with several of my business cards and the parting words, "If  you like my work, please feel free to refer others".

Referrals are a great way to add income to one’s wallet. Let’s say the average customer returns 6 times per year and spends $100.00 per visit. This equals a yearly amount $600.00 of new business for each new referral. Every time one of my senior stylists named Jeff gets a referral, he enjoys informing me that he just gave himself a raise, that's how he happens to see it.

Tips for getting started:

Print New Referral Cards: Make sure that the backs of the cards have a space for the name of the new referral and also the name of the existing client who made the referral.

Track Referrals: Create a system in which to track referrals using your salon booking software or other paper methods.

Plan a Staff Meeting: Explain the benefits of a referred clientele versus a new or walk-in, as well as educate your team on your establishment's rewards program.

Role Play: Create some examples with your team, on how to explain your referral program to customers.

Promote: Post a notice at the cash out desk and other strategic locations in the salon, which showcases the benefits available to customers who refer others.

Acknowledge: At some point your team will become familiar with their customers that are constantly referring new people, make sure you acknowledge and thank them.

Celebrate: Your team's success, announce and reward your top team achievers, mentor the weaker ones.


Every customer who refers a new customer needs to be rewarded. We reward the clients who refer others with a $25.00 gift certificate plus 200 Loyalty Points for every new referral. We reward our stylists who have high referral, retail and rebooking ratios, by increasing their prices and their commission, as well giving them extra new clients on those very rare occasions when they have cancellations or are experiencing a slow day..

Inspired by these blogs? Akari recently opened an institute for career minded professionals, featuring small classes based on your needs in, advanced business practices, team building, motivation, ethics, and advanced styling techniques... Please feel free to contact us at

Allan Labos has more than 30 years of beauty and style experience across the country and in Europe. He began his career under the tutelage of Vidal Sassoon in London and opened and managed Sassoon salons and schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. For the past 25 years he has owned and operated Akari, a 20,000-square-foot business in Portland, Maine. Akari offers hair, nail and spa services and also includes a boutique, fitness center and medical spa. - See more at:

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