Dawn and Neal Carter WHILE THE RECESSION had salons around the country taking a look at existing clients with new eyes and appreciating them just a little bit more, nowhere was that more true than in Saginaw, Michigan. For a town built on the former strength of General Motors, businesses including Avenue Hair Studio and Spa witnessed a 30 percent decline in clients virtually overnight.
“Around the time I went to my first Strictly Business class, I was in a state where I had to look around at my community of clients to see who could still afford to come see us,” says owner Dawn Carter. “I developed a new mindset. Our clients wanted more than a great hair cut—they wanted the whole experience. They wanted to hear about everything we had to offer, and it’s our job to tell them. We started looking at ourselves as beauty advisors.”
On Purpose, Every Client, Every Time.
While it’s easy to give a new client a thorough consultation, Carter and her staff are determined that the consultation is just as important—or even more so—to the client whose been coming to see a stylist for years. “We’ve developed a five-question consultation that’s mandatory with every client, every time,” says Carter. “It’s taught the second day of training, and is designed to open the client up to the possibilities of retail and add-on services.”
The Coffee Theory
There’s a running joke at Avenue Hair Studio that a client will walk into the salon and the receptionist will offer her a cup of coffee, which will be turned down. Five minutes later, that same client will happily accept the offer of coffee from Carter’s husband Neal, who’s the salon’s co-owner. Whether the client had too much on her mind upon entering the salon to process the offer or whether it was the power of suggestion, who knows, but the theory seems to apply to sales as well.
“For example, we had these Power Dose backbar treatments that we thought were great, but we’d only sell maybe two a day. So we did a contest, and we carefully included the Power Dose promotion at every stage of the guest experience. We had signage at the front desk, and mirror clings at each station. When clients booked an appointment, we’d ask if they wanted to upgrade to a special signature hair cut with a prescribed treatment for only $18 more. If we didn’t get them on the call, we’d tell the same client about the opportunity while they were in the chair. We’d also give away Power Dose treatments with a retail purchase and send home cards about Power Doses with clients who just had services. Just like the coffee theory— the promotion has to be full circle. It ended up being a great promotion and we raised our sales 25 percent.”