5 Reasons Clients Won't Buy from your Salon

Have you ever wondered what people are really thinking when you propose they invest in a new shampoo and conditioner, a new membership model your salon is launching, or a new approach to their haircut and style? We have your answers for all of the above! Today, we are going to share the five reasons clients won’t buy from your salon, and how to combat those obstacles.

It's Too Risky

Do you recall watching infomercials about some revolutionary cleaning tool that will do more with less effort? Why do you think they offer a thirty-day guarantee or your money back? Because they know that by nature, we go through a buyer’s remorse stage. Knowing that we may not get the results we are hoping for, we'd rather not make a purchase in fear that we’ll regret it.

We see this play out in our salons with guests when they’re deciding on a new approach to their hair color or hairstyle. Even though what they have may not be working for them, they’d rather not change. It’s too risky to try a totally new style. What if they hate it? We can understand where they’re coming from, can’t we? We often complain about our point-of-sale system, but the risk we take in moving to an entirely new provider typically outweighs our dissatisfaction with our current one. So, we stick-it-out. 

The real question with all of these scenarios is, how do we eliminate their fear before they have to decide to say yes to us? Well, we can learn from those infomercials! There’s a reason they work—people are buying! What if we offer the opportunity to try before we buy? Or offer a money-back guarantee if they aren’t head-over-heels with their decision? Okay, so you may be thinking there’s no way to do this with new styles or haircuts. But what if you could? You could offer a semi-permanent glaze to see what it’s like to have a warmer hue to their hair. Or offer a purple shampoo that will give them a taste of ashy tones. Let’s start with curtain bangs and if you love them, we can take them shorter, if you don’t, they can blend easily as face-framing layers. There’s always a route you can take that puts the buyer at ease while still moving them into a new opportunity.

There’s Too Much Friction

This means if something is too hard or takes too much effort, people won’t buy it.  We all want to have amazing hair. But if the style I’m attracted to takes an hour to do, and it would require I do it consistently, I’m out. It’s too much! Or, I would love to have flawless makeup, but after I saw how many steps it takes to achieve that look I love, it’s too hard to do—I’d have to really commit at practicing and perfecting those skills and I’m just not cut out for that. Ooh, I love her hair color and would love to try that too, but I don’t think I’d want to deal with the upkeep if I had to come to the salon every few weeks to have it touched-up.

These are the things our clients are thinking about. What we should be thinking about is, how can we make it easy for them? We can show our guests how easy it is to use this new curling iron and how if they style it today, they won’t have to re-style their hair for a couple days! We can teach our guests how to have flawless makeup in less than five steps using less than five products. We can give our guests a root touch-up spray to use in-between visits, so they don’t have to worry about it not looking fresh at all times. You see how we start to market in a way that speaks into some of the reasons people wouldn’t buy to begin with?

It Won't Make a Difference

Our guests may not be willing to say this out loud, but they are wondering if buying the color protection shampoo from you for $30 is really going to be better than buy the $7 bottle from the store. They may wonder if spending a couple hundred dollars on a flat iron is really going to be better than spending fifty dollars on the ones you see at your favorite stores—we all know the ones I’m talking about.

In other words, they wonder if this purchase is really going to make a difference? How can we help them see the light? We speak into those thoughts in our sales approach. An example is, “Is your flat iron tugging your hair and losing the effect you had when you first bough it? Are you having to invest fifty dollars year-over-year on new tools because they just don’t last? We understand! That’s why we chose to carry this special brand of tools! They last the test of time. In fact, investing in the right tools the first time will save you time, money, and the health of your hair!”

It May Not be Successful

Have you ever hired a super well-known artist to teach a class at your salon? You were so excited to bring them in because they have a huge Instagram following, their photos of work are incredible. Yeah, they cost way more than anyone else you’ve had at your salon, but they’re so popular and cool, you don’t care. You have to have them in!  The team will be jazzed, and you’ll be the hero for bringing them in. Not to mention the social media pictures and videos you’ll get to share of that experience. 

Except—they visit, and the class was a complete bust. They really didn’t know how to present—how to teach. The team was shocked and ultimately, they felt it wasn’t valuable. Experiences like this are the reason we freeze up when presented new opportunities. What if it sounds great, but it won’t be successful? We have to prove the success! We can show our guests real results, real testimonies, and quantify the return on their investments. Imagine selling tickets to a styling class. Show your prospect past attendees who came, the way their hair looked before and after the class, and a testimonial that describes their new understanding of adding flat-iron waves to their hair. In this approach you may not be sharing a financial return, but their return is gained in having the everyday style they want without having to take more than fifteen minutes to do it!

It’s Overwhelming

Finally, people will not buy from you and your salon if it’s overwhelming. If it’s hard to explain, it will be hard to understand and accept. If we have to take 14 steps to get started, or there are five ways they can use it—they will have paralysis by analysis.

What we should think about is, how can we make it simple for our clients? What are ways we can reduce their effort, or shorten the steps needed? Let’s say you are trying to sell monthly memberships at your salon, but they have to fill out a sheet, sign it, choose dates on the calendar in advance for their monthly service experience, and they have to pay when they check out each month.

How hard will this be to sell, manage and maintain? Now, offer the monthly membership and all they have to do is click yes on their phone or computer, and they’re in. Their automatically charged each month and they can book their service experience when it’s convenient for them. How easy is that model to sell, manage and maintain? Much easier for everyone and it will be ten-times more successful when launched.


If you take a look at your memberships, packages, service menu and retail opportunities, you’ll discover that one of these reasons could be prevented you from getting clients to buy from you and buy more often. Let’s recap what we can do about it!

  • Eliminate their fears of buying upfront by confronting those fears from the get-go.
  • Make it as easy for them to buy as possible.
  • Show them proof that there will be a difference.
  • Prove past successes and guarantee they will have success too.
  • Make it as simple for them as possible to buy—use—do—etc…

About the Author: Kati Whitledge opened Be Inspired Salon in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Her passion for salon marketing and business grew tremendously and encouraged her launch of Meet Your Stylist, a matchmaking marketing tool used by salon owners nationwide. She’s also the beloved host and founder of The Beyond The Technique podcast—where valuable education is provided on the vast topics of salon business. Kati’s mission is to equip salon owners and their teams with the most innovative business marketing strategies.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.