Overcoming the Winter Sales SlumpIn November and December in salons across the country, chairs are full, appointments are booked solid and front desk staff are merrily ringing out service, product and gift card sales. It’s high season in the salon, and sales and cash flow are as high as the holiday spirits.

But if you’re like most salon owners, you’re dreading the slow, sales slump that always follows in January and early February, as your clients, who overspend on Christmas presents and glam up just before New Year’s, attempt to stretch their next appointment as long as possible. That’s the way it’s always been, and as long as you do nothing to try and change it, history is bound to repeat itself.

Aside from being great sales months, November and December also hold your greatest opportunity to drive sales in slow weeks of early winter. How? Consider these two ideas.

Gifts with Expiration Dates

November and December are such gift card-driven months, why not tie the purchase of a gift card during this time to an incentive to visit the salon or spa during the upcoming slow months. For example, you could design a promotion that rewards a client who buys a $100 or more gift card with a second card that gifts her with a complimentary service or a product when she returns in January or February. You determine the expiration date. Then, you drive the action in a way that it will best benefit your salon or spa

For example, maybe you want to trial a new service in the salon or spa. Make this new service the complimentary gift—now your loyal clientele will be the first ones to sample and adopt the new service. Or, maybe you want to cross-promote your salon and spa. Only let them redeem the card on a service they’ve never tried before. Or, if you’re introducing a new product or product line, give away a free product with the purchase of a service in the same timeframe.

Prebooking Bonanza                                                                                                       

In the hectic days of November and December, one of the last things your staff members are thinking about is prebooking their next appointments, but that’s exactly what should be top of mind.

In Strictly Business, we have teach some statistics that exactly how critical prebooking is. If clients are left to themselves, they tend to book every eight weeks. For a stylist who sees 10 clients a day, five days a week, she would need 200 more clients to be fully booked over a four month period than if those same clients came every six weeks, which they are more likely to do if she would prebook them. Over the course of a year, than means 600 more clients or client visits that stylist would need to fill your book!

Help you busy holiday staff remember to prebook their clients into those slow January and February appointments with some special in-salon promotions. Divide them up on teams and throw a dinner for the team who prebooks the most appointments during the months of November and December. Or buy an iPhone 5 and give it away as a prize to the stylist who has the highest prebook percentage during that timeframe.

The key is taking advantage of your high season to fuel sales during your slow months. We wish you all happy holidays a profitable 2013!

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