Easy to Manage Referral Programs for Salons

Kati Whitledge | October 9, 2018 | 11:58 AM
Photo By Getty Images

Are your guests excited to spread the great news about your salon to everyone they know? When they do, are they being thanked? If your goal is to begin a program that is easy to manage, you’re in luck! In this article Salon Today Blogger Kati Whitledge shares how her staff at Be Inspired Salon captures guest referrals, how they thank them, and how they gift them for their advocacy.

Capturing the Data
An easy way to catch wind of a word-of-mouth referral is to ask every new guest how they heard about your salon. You can do this with your new client intake form. At Be Inspired Salon, the new client intake forms are digital. It’s a non-public webpage that we save as an app on our iPads. When a guest visits for the first time, we give them the iPad and have them fill out their information. We include the question, “How did you hear about us? (please check all that apply)”.

The reasons we add the disclaimer, “please check all that apply”, is so that we can track our return on investment (ROI) for all advertising platforms. This could include Google (or search), Facebook, Instagram, Meet Your Stylist, a local magazine, radio, a partnering business, a friend, or other. When a guest selects “friend”, there is a drop down box asking them to fill in their friend’s name. You can effectively apply this to printed forms as well!

Choose Value
After you have an easy way to capture the names of guests who have referred you new guests, it’s so important to show your appreciation. I cannot stress the importance of making sure this adds value to their experiences at your salon. What I mean by that is, you always want to give more, not offer them a lesser price. Many salons will provide an offer such as, “Refer a friend and you both receive 20% off your next visit”. This is devaluing your services and products and in the mind of the buyer, it’s telling them that your services and products are actually worth less. Instead, use value propositions such as, “Every time you refer us a new guest, we will gift you with a $10 shopping pass to use at our salon!” There’s a huge difference in the value you’re offering.

Showing Exceptional Appreciation
Regardless of what value-added gift you give, consider a thank-you note as a touch point in your relationship. For example, at Be Inspired Salon we sit down once per week with our list of guests who have given us referrals. We write them a handwritten thank-you note and mail them out. This is a lost art and people love the special feeling of receiving a personal card in the mail. Included in the note is a simple message such as, “Mary, thank you so much for referring Connie to us!  We appreciate your advocacy and we appreciate you.  Please enjoy this $10 shopping pass at your next visit!”

The lesson for today is if you employ a referral program, make sure it’s easy to manage so you never worry about dropping the ball. Add valuable gifts to show your appreciation, and think of a personalized way to thank each guest who is going out of their way to spread their love for your brand.


About the Author:

Kati Whitledge
Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author & Podcaster

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.


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