Want More Clients? Here's How! Part 2

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Welcome back to the second part of my series on gaining and retaining more clients! As you recall, I left you with some homework from Part 1; your first steps were to define your target market or avatar and then“find” where your target market is both physically and digitally. I hope you had some fun with these first two steps and now you’re ready to jump into Step #3: Get Clients Excited and Step #4: Ensure Clients Return. If you missed Part 1, you can catch up here; otherwise, let’s get started!

Step #3: Get Clients Excited

After you’ve created your avatar and connected with them, nearly every potential client will visit your website before they buy anything from you. Think about your own habits—would you see a new dentist without visiting their website first? Probably not, and the same advice holds true no matter what industry you are in! Because every potential client will visit your website, it needs to be beautiful, easy to use, and offer something unique. In 2018, all your competitors have beautiful websites, so you need something that sets your business apart from the others and gets your clients excited to do business with you. For my salon business, our little something special is a survey called Meet Your Stylist.

Meet Your Stylist is a psychologically-savvy survey that lives on your salon’s website and matches potential clients with the top three stylists at your salon who are the best fit for them. After all, who doesn’t like taking a survey about yourself?! As the owner of Be Inspired Salon, I needed a way to set my salon apart from the competition, get clients excited, and start building relationships with future guests, and Meet Your Stylist does all of this! If you are a hair salon, you need to check out Meet Your Stylist! I promise it will transform your business.

I know many of you reading don’t own hair salons, but the same principles behind Meet Your Stylist apply to your business. Let me explain. I was recently on Neutrogena’s website searching for a new face wash, and found myself taking a survey to find the skincare routine right for me and had a $2.00 coupon emailed to me. Boom! They connected with me, personalized my experience, captured my email address, and got me excited to purchase from them!

Personalized surveys and recommendations are everywhere! For instance, let’s say that you own a vitamin company. Maybe your website could offer a survey that gives clients product recommendations and encourages them to book a consultation with you. The possibilities are endless; you just need to give your potential clients the right tools and information to get connected and excited!

Step #4: Ensure Clients Return

In the salon industry, new client retention rates are pretty low. In fact, the national average, new client retention rate is about 30%. That means only 3 out of every 10 new guests will return for a second time! I don’t know the statistics for your industry, but retention is something we should all focus on to grow a strong business! Once we get a client to do business with us, we need to make sure they continue to do business with us. So, how are you going to do  that?

For my salon business, retention is another problem that is solved by Meet Your Stylist! By matching clients with the right stylist the first time, I know that the guest is going to have a fabulous experience and want to come back. Let’s think about the vitamin store example from earlier. If this new client didn’t take their pre-visit survey, he would have simply walked into the store and purchased a product he thought was right for him. Then, a few days later, he started having adverse side effects, stopped taking the vitamins, and never returned to the store again because he thought the business was selling ineffective products. On the flip side, if this client purchased the right vitamins for himself the first time, I bet he would continue to come back for more! See how that works?

Beyond getting it right from the start, my salon focuses on prebooking clients for their next visit. Essentially, the stylist is helping the client make a reservation for their next visit. Instead of hoping that the customer will take time out of their busy schedule to call and make another appointment, we set it up for them to ensure they come back again. For the vitamin store, the sales rep could work with the customer to determine when their product will run out and set up a time for them to come back to the store and restock. This sounds pretty simple, but it will have a huge impact on retaining new clients!

You may have heard the Tony Robbins quote that success leaves clues. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just put together the pieces that I have laid out: Step #1: Define Your Target Market, Step #2: Find Your Target Market, Step #3: Get Clients Excited, and Step #4: Ensure Clients Return. I hope you take the four steps from my playbook, add your own creative twist, and achieve massive success! If you have any questions on the four steps, please connect with me! I can’t wait to chat with you!

Want More Clients? Here’s How!

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As a salon industry business coach, one of the questions that I am asked most frequently is: how do I find more clients? As a matter of fact, most businesses have this same question, which is why I’m so excited to share my winning four-step formula for attracting more clients! Let’s jump in with Steps 1 & 2, and stay tuned for the final steps!

Step #1: Who? Finding your target market.

So, you want to find more clients for your business. While that is a great start, do you even know who you’re looking for? This is the very first step; before you can jump into marketing, products, and promotions, you need to get really, really clear about your target market. Take a moment and think about this—who is your target market? Got it? Well if you answered something like, women age 35-50, we have a lot of work to do! But, don’t get scared because I will guide you through every step!

In the business world, your target market is sometimes called your avatar. In other words, who is your dream client? To get clear on your avatar, gather some of the top influencers in your salon and start listing the characteristics that describe your ideal client. Think about a few of your customers who you absolutely adore and wish you could clone. Now, start describing everything specific about them.

Here are some questions to get started: where do they shop for groceries—Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, the local co-op? Where do they shop for clothes—Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Asos, Nordstrom? Do they workout—hiking, running, yoga, spin? What do they do in their free time—read, hangout with friends, volunteer, cook? What is their style—conservative, edgy, trendy, classic? Where do they work—corporate, education, non-profit, small business?             

I think you see where I’m going with this. You need to get so specific that you’re even naming your avatar! That’s right! Once your team is in agreement on your avatar, you need to keep this image front and center. Your front desk team, stylists, managers, and marketing team should be thinking about your avatar every day.

For a lot of us, creating our businesses’ avatar is a fun step. But, I completely understand why it can be a scary step for many people. A lot of business owners get scared about “excluding” certain customers. By creating an avatar, you aren’t excluding or discouraging anyone from patronizing your business; instead, you are focusing on quality over quantity. Above all, focusing on a target market sets you free from having to be all things to all people; getting clear on your target market makes your job a little easier as a marketer and business owner! Who wouldn’t want that?

Step #2: Where is your target market?

Now that you have your avatar clearly defined—we know where she shops and how she spends her free time—we need to actually find her! Ask yourself where your avatar hangs out, both physically and digitally.

For instance, let’s say that your avatar is a business professional who is part of local networking groups. Guess what? You need to join a networking group and physically be where your target market is! If your target market is part of the local PTA, you need to get involved with the PTA.

Another piece of the puzzle is where your avatar is digitally. If your target market is between the ages of 18-24, you should be on Snapchat. If your avatar is between 25-30, you’re probably looking more at Instagram, and if your target is 35 and up, you need to be on Facebook. Other digital spaces that people hang out include Pinterest, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, blogs, news sites, LinkedIn, Yelp, etc.

Your wheels should be turning as you’re thinking about where your target market is hanging out. Once you know where your avatar is, you also need to speak their language and be genuine. If you and your team are consistently going to networking events, you will start to talk this talk. Maybe you’re talking to other professionals about cross promoting or some innovative marketing topics. If you are volunteering at a local non-profit, you should read up on the various initiatives they’re working on. If your interests aren’t genuine, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

The language that you use to communicate with your target market is equally important on digital platforms. Let’s say your target market is hanging out on Snapchat, but you’ve never actually used Snapchat. It probably isn’t a good idea to just jump right in and start sending snaps! Every social media platform has a certain etiquette, and you don’t want to send your avatar running in the opposite direction. Enlist the advice of your younger staff members or hire an intern to help you get started. When it comes to your target market, you not only have to walk the walk, but you have to talk the talk!


Whew! That is a lot of information to get started, so let’s recap your homework so far. First, you need to get really clear about your target market or avatar. Once your target market is clearly defined, you need to find your avatar both physically and digitally. When you find your avatar, you need to speak their language and be genuine. Have some fun creating your avatar, contact me with any questions, and check back in a couple weeks for Steps 3 & 4!

Maximizing Customer Relationships Part 4: The Follow-Up

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Congratulations—you’ve made it to the final part of my series on Maximizing Customer Relationships! 

To begin, let’s recap Parts 1, 2, and 3. In Part 1, you learned the importance of standing out from the crowd to get clients in your door. In Part 2, I reminded you that the little things mean everything, including the details that a customer experiences before they buy from you. In Part 3, we focused on WOWing customers during their visit and checkout process. Finally, we’ve made it to Part 4 which is all about the follow-up. After Part 4, you will have all seven of my secrets to maximize customer relationships and run a fabulous business! 

Secret #6: The Follow-Up

Oftentimes, the follow-up is the missing link to maximizing customer relationships which is why I consider this the most important secret! A lot of businesses provide you a top-notch experience when you’re visiting them, but then you never hear from them again. Have you heard the saying: out of sight, out of mind? Well, this is why the follow-up is so important! 

So, how do you follow up with your guests? While the possibilities are truly endless, here are a few tried-and-true ways that we follow up with our clients.

Surveys

Surveys can be scary for a lot of people because they put you in a vulnerable position. After all, there is always the possibility that you could receive negative feedback. But, you cannot reach your full potential from a position of fear or ignorance. Instead, you need to look at surveys as a great learning opportunity! 

At Be Inspired Salon, we send a survey to every new guest after their first service. We ask questions like: Was the salon clean? Was your stylist professional? Did your stylist show you how to use your products? (If you want to know more about our survey, connect with me!)

Marketing Emails

Friends, marketing emails are not dead. Did you know it takes an adult 21 times to remember new information? That means you need to consistently remind your clients why they made a great choice to do business with you. For my salon, this means we are always reminding guests about Meet Your Stylist (remember, this is how we stand out from the crowd before a client buys from us), our VIP Program, and our points program. 

Take Notes

To really shine in the follow-up, you might need to take some notes on your clients. Some people have a natural gift for this and they simply remember every detail about a person. But, for most of us, we need to take a few notes about our clients to remember their interests, names of their children, upcoming vacations, where they work, etc. Think about creating “customer profiles” to help you form a deeper connection with your clients! 

Personalized Emails

At my salon, we encourage our stylists to send check-in emails to their clients. If a guest purchased a new product, or changed from blonde to brunette, the stylist can send a quick email asking how the change is going. This is so quick and easy, but it leaves a lasting impression with your clients! 

Cards

When was the last time you received a handwritten thank-you card? Better yet, when was the last time that you received a handwritten thank-you card from your hair salon? For most of you, the answer is never! We send thank-you cards every week to clients who refer new guests and brides who were booked with us the weekend before. Additionally, we send cards for graduations, new babies, marriages, new businesses, and get-well wishes. 

Show Up

Show up for your clients like they show up for you. Do you have a client who has been planning a charity event for the last six months? How awesome would it be to show up at their event to demonstrate how much you care about their success! If you have a client in the hospital, maybe you stop in for a quick visit during your lunch? What kind of impact would that make for your relationship and their loyalty?  

Remember, the little things mean everything, and you will truly maximize your relationship by following up with your clients!

Secret #7: Accountability

Hopefully, you’re fired up about all the fun and exciting ways that you can WOW your clients before, during, and after the buying process. But, now comes the tough part—how do you stay accountable for all the initiatives that you’ve implemented? Holding yourself and your team accountable will separate you from your competition. 

Excellence Trackers

My stylists all have excellence trackers to hold themselves and the team accountable. An excellence tracker is like a goals sheet. For example, my stylists reach out to all guests who canceled, but did not rebook. They also reach out to guests who have visited twice or more to ask for a Google review. Every week, they have goals regarding phone calls, emails, pre-booking, sending cards, etc. and their promotions are tied to their performance trackers. Basically, if you want to move up in this career, you need to meet the goals on your excellence tracker. 

Meetings 

You need to check-in with your team on a consistent and routine basis. At my salon, we have weekly team meetings where everyone submits their performance tracker. At the meeting, everyone can share what they have been working on in the last week—including me! This is a fabulous way to hold everyone accountable.

Secret Shoppers

Yes, we really do this, and you should, too! As a business owner or manager, you cannot be at your business 100% of the time and handle 100% of client visits. So, a secret shopper program is an effective quality control technique. For our secret shopper program, I break down our training manual to a six-page form for the guest to fill out. For instance, our training manual indicates that a phone call should follow XYZ steps—then, the secret shopper form asks on a scale of 1-5 if these steps were met. 

Like surveys, secret shoppers can be scary, but they give you a glimpse into what things are like when you’re not around. At my salon, I learned that we had some consistent mistakes at the front desk, so we had to tighten that area up. Without the secret shopper program, I wouldn’t have known that!  

Now that you’ve mastered all seven of my secrets, take a moment to write down your three biggest takeaways. In three months, revisit your list and see what progress you’ve made! Do you have other suggestions to maximize customer relationships? I would love to hear from you, so make sure to connect with me! 

Maximizing Customer Relationships Part 3: Take Lessons From Others

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Welcome back to Part 3 of my series on Maximizing Customer Relationships! I hope that you have spent some time reviewing your business’ practices with a focus on standing out from the crowd and WOWing your customer before they even purchase from you! Now, we are ready to dive into Secrets #4 and #5.

Secret #4: During the Visit

This is the easiest—and most fun—secret that I have to share: take lessons from other industries. The best way to do this is booking an expensive, 5 star experience for yourself! If you’re in the salon industry like me, this means heading to a big city and booking a service at a top-rated, high-end salon. (Now you know why this is the best secret!) While you’re there, take tons of notes: what are they wearing, how do they greet you, what did you LOVE, etc. If you’re in the hotel industry, visit another hotel; if you’re a fitness club, visit another fitness club—you get the point.  

The best part about borrowing from other industries is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Success leaves clues, so all you need to do is be the detective. For instance, the best restaurant servers don’t ask if you want a refill, they just bring it to you. I noticed this and implemented it at my own salon. When a guest is running low on a beverage, we simply bring another one.

Remember, the goal of this series is to maximize customer relationships, and there are countless ways that you can do this when you have guests in your business. Another way that we WOW our guests at Be Inspired Salon is by offering to clean our guests’ rings when they are being shampooed. By partnering with The Diamond Center, this added amenity costs us nothing, but is a great added value for our clients! In Part 2, I told you that the little things mean everything and this is especially true when you have a guest in your business, so don’t be afraid to go the extra mile! If you want to maximize relationships, you have to be willing to do what others aren’t.

Secret #5: The “Checkout”

If you’re running a top-notch business, you should be charging top-notch prices. So, Secret #5 is all about alleviating the “pain” that comes with a pricey purchase. I learned from Steve Jobs that people will remember the last thing that they see, touch, or hear. For most businesses, the last thing that a customer sees or touches is the receipt, and that isn’t always a great memory. I decided to replace that “painful” memory with a positive one. Now, when a guest finishes their checkout process, we hand them an inspirational quote to bring a smile to their face. How simple is that?

Another strategy to make the checkout process more enjoyable is by implementing a VIP Program or “Points Program.” When a customer completes their transaction, your front desk staff can let the customer know how many points they have and how far away they are from their next reward. Additionally, first-time customers receive a Be Inspired Salon tote bag with a product sample, brochure, and business card.

Last, but certainly not least, you can’t forget to say “thank you for your business.” Don’t let your customers forget how appreciative you are! In the beauty industry, there are three reasons that a client will stop doing business with you. #1: they move, #2: they pass away, #3: they think you won’t notice. Take a minute and let that third reason sink in. You will notice when a client doesn’t return, so make sure your client knows that!

Here’s an example of a checkout process that eliminates the “pain” of a client’s purchase: “With today’s services, you have a total of 800 points, and you’re 200 points away from a complimentary product! Here’s an inspirational quote to take home with you. Thank you for your business, Elise. Have a great day!” If this sounds great to you, write it down in your employee handbook and hold everyone accountable!

Are you fired-up about WOWing your customers during their visit and checkout process? Connect with me on social media to share what you’re doing at your business and make sure to check back for Part 4! We all grow when we lift each other!

Maximizing Customer Relationships Part 2: The Little Things Mean Everything!

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Welcome back to my four-part series about Maximizing Customer Relationships— I am so happy that you’re back to learn more! In Part 1, I shared my first of seven secrets to create long-lasting and profitable relationships. To recap, Secret #1 is standing out from the crowd and being unique. After reading Part 1, I hope that you spent some time identifying your niche and now you’re ready to think about WOWing your customers during the buying process. Are you ready? Let’s dive into Secret #2: Before the Buy and Secret #3: The First Purchase.

Secret #2: Before the Buy

There are so many components of the buying process that actually occur before a customer even hands you their payment, and you cannot overlook these aspects! Every small detail about your brand can sway a customer’s opinion of your business and whether or not they want to enter into a relationship with you. Remember, your goal is to maximize relationships and this starts the very first time a customer Googles your business. I’ve outlined four key components to focus on that all occur before a customer buys from you—keep reading to learn these secrets to success!  

Website

First, you need to have a great website that reflects your brand and speaks to your target market. For most demographics, this means your customers are researching you on their cell phones, so your website needs to be mobile-responsive! You don’t want people zooming, scrolling, scrunching, and getting frustrated. This leads to the next component; is your website easy to use? In the tech world, this is called UX—user experience. Are your clients able to navigate easily and quickly find the information they are looking for? Finally, your website needs to be beautiful. A customer will instantly judge your credibility based on what your website looks like, so enlist the help of a designer or get some inspiration from other brands with a great aesthetic.

Something Special—Meet Your Stylist  

If you’re connecting the dots, you’ve already realized that Secret #1 and Secret #2 go hand-in-hand. Your business needs to stand out from the crowd (Secret #1), so you can engage with customers before they buy from you (Secret #2). One way that my hair salon stands out from the crowd—before  a client does business with us—is with a tool called Meet Your Stylist. Meet Your Stylist is the best marketing tool ever created for the hair industry! Meet Your Stylist is a customized survey that matches clients with the hair stylist who is the best fit for them based on their personality, lifestyle, and relationship preferences. How awesome is that!

With Meet Your Stylist, clients no longer feel like they are on a blind date when they visit a salon for the first time! Basically, we are eliminating any fear that the client has by controlling their first meeting, before they even step into our salon. Although Meet Your Stylist is designed specifically for hair salons, you can think of other tools to create the same outcome. Consider developing your own survey for clients to determine if they would be a “good fit” for your service. Get creative, think outside the box, and do something special for your clients before they even buy from you!

Google is King

Friends, Google is still the number one search engine, by far! Because of this, your Google ranking is incredibly important to the success of your business! If a client Googles “jewelry store in Madison” are they going to find your business on the first page? Factors such as your website design, SEO, back-links, reviews, and more are considered when Google ranks your website. So, a great way to boost your ranking is by having a ton of great reviews!

When I started Be Inspired Salon in 2010, I needed to gain credibility, and fast! To start boosting our Google ranking, we ran a brilliant promotion—so, here’s what we did. In 2010, Groupon was huge, so I sent a marketing email that said: “Better than Groupon! $60 for $30!” If a client visited with this email, we would provide them $60 in services for only $30. In return, we asked that they leave us a Google review. Within a few weeks, we already had 80 reviews! While we no longer run this promotion, it created a great foundation, and today we have over 230 reviews! Throughout the US, I have only found one other salon with more reviews than us. This is a terrific testament to the great work that my team does and people want to know about it!

Messaging

A final piece to consider that occurs before a customer’s purchase is your messaging. Messaging includes all of the small details that clients will notice! For instance, if a client visits your business’ Facebook page does it say “Typically responds within 24 hours” or does it say “good luck” (not really, but you know what I’m saying!). I am a strong believer that you need to respond to a client within the same day that they contact you. If you’re out of the office, you need to set up an automatic reply that includes a specific date that you will respond to them by. Also, are you setting up appointments with your clients? If so, are you reminding them and confirming their meeting? Again, messaging is all about the small details that make a client excited to do business with you!

Secret #3 The First Purchase

At last, you’ve made it to the first purchase! Before we get ahead of ourselves, take a minute and ask yourself What are my standards for a client’s first purchase?” Hopefully, you have some concrete ideas that you consistently apply with every client. Now, I have a tougher question: are these standards written down? Developing a training manual is a time-intensive process, but if you write it once, you can use it forever! A training manual or employee handbook is a great strategy for ensuring consistency, especially when new employees join your team.

When you meet a client for the first time, you have to treat it as though you will have a relationship with them for the rest of your life. Keeping this in mind, you can’t forget that the little things mean everything! If you have a brick and mortar business, what should happen when the guest walks in your door? What do they see, smell, hear, and feel? Are you greeting people by looking them in they eye, shaking their hand, saying their name, and smiling? Again, these expectations should be written in your training manual so you can hold everyone accountable.

Finally, don’t be afraid to splurge in areas that will help you gain and retain clients. For instance, when a guest enters my salon someone from the front desk team offers them a beverage menu. That’s right! We have enough high quality options that they require a menu. This is one area where I’m not afraid to splurge because I know this amenity keeps customers coming back. On our menu, we serve Wollersheim wine, V Bourbon by Yahara Bay Distillery, reverse osmosis water, locally roasted coffee, and locally sourced tea. How do you plan to go above-and-beyond to make clients feel valued during their purchase?

Rapid Recap

Don’t forget that our goal is to maximize customer relationships! By breaking down the buying process and examining every detail from before and during the purchase, you are sure to find areas for improvement and ways to maximize client relationships. As you probably know, it costs more money to attract new clients than retain existing clients, so don’t be afraid to go above and beyond! Make sure to check back for the next part of this series where we break down a client’s first visit and their “checkout” process—I have some great tips to share!  

You Were Born for This

Acknowledging and Accepting Your Challenges

I know that I’m speaking to the salon owners, and hair and beauty professionals out there. And I get that we wake up many days wondering what we were thinking! Sometimes our profession can seem like a thankless job. But it could also be the same with parenting, or any role we’re in. Some days we may just wonder what the heck made us decide to put ourselves in this position.

But I believe that you were born for this. I first heard this saying when my husband and I went on a “Love like you mean it” cruise. It’s a marriage cruise put on by an organization called Family Life. Their mission was not only to have couples walk side by side with one another, but also to have them grow closer to the Lord. This cruise was an amazing opportunity for us, and I can’t say enough about how great it was for our relationship with each other, and for our walk with Jesus. I’m very thankful for that opportunity. While there, I heard one of the Pastors onstage say, “Marriage is a mission you were born for. When you become married, you’re taking on a role with your partner, and you were born for that role.”

Think about it like being a fireman. Would a fireman resent having to put out fires? Sometimes we do resent the obstacles we need to go through. But we still jump over, climb under, get through that obstacle and emerge better, stronger, wiser, and more resilient.

Persevere to Find Greatness

Nothing, in my opinion, is not meant to be. And I know that it’s challenging when you have these obstacles and you wonder if it could get any worse. But I promise that if you persevere, you’ll realize (and maybe not anytime soon, but eventually!) that you needed to experience that hurt, pain, or trial, so that you would be prepared for future challenges.

So stay positive in the midst of the struggle. Keep your eye on the greater prize and the greater vision. Remember why you began this adventure in the first place. When you remember why you started on this path for your life, you can endure any challenge.

In this line of work, it’s never because we have to. It’s because we get to. All storms eventually die down, and the sun comes back up.

You were born for this. Try to remind yourself of that regularly. There is a bigger, greater, deeper purpose, and you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. And if you persevere and endure, you will be successful. You may not see glimmers of hope for six months, or a year. You may not see how this will work or might not believe that it’s true. But just don’t give up.

I can even get a little biblical with this topic. I believe the devil tries to bring us down. And there are also a lot of naysayers and negativity out there. “See? You couldn’t do it, I knew you couldn’t do it.”

And even in our own minds, there can be plenty of negative self-talk. But think about it this way…You choose a role, just like a fireman does. You have to show up for hard, scary tasks sometimes.  But you’re prepared to put out the fire, because that’s your role. You were born for this. Don’t give up.

People + Passion = Sales

Passion

I’m going to start with the passion piece of this equation. I think that we can relate a lot with this because-think about it--have you ever been to a hair show? I mean, put your hands up—yes, I’ve been to a hair show. 

And we’re watching these professionals on stage and what happens? We end up buying what they’re selling, we’re signing up for their classes, we’re following them on every social media platform. We are so fired up about them. Why?  What’s their secret?

I believe it’s because they’re fired up. That’s the passion. Passion is being excited about what you have to sell and what you have to offer. Excited about your services, trends…the more excited you are, the more passion you display, the more excited your clients will be. And their level of excitement will rise to meet yours. So friends, we’ve got to be passionate. You’ve got to believe in what you have to offer.  

So, are you sold, really?  If you’re not sold on your products or services, your clients won’t be either.  You are the ones that have the power to bring passion to the chair each day.  Let me say that again: You have the power to be passionate each day.  It’s a choice you make, regardless of what’s happening behind the scenes.  If you make this experience about them, which is the people part of sales, then you will bring the show alive and direct with the passion part of the sales. Then you will be wildly successful.  

Practice Makes Permanent

You’re not going to become this wildly, over-the-top, passionate person overnight.  You’re not going to just potentially have it already in you to put on a show and entertain the masses.  But passion can come in other ways.  You don’t have to just show the *crazy excitement*.  You can look people in their eyes and say, “This product was a game changer.”

Here’s an example: “Donna, if I’ve heard you correctly, you are struggling with dry hair. And I get it, it’s that time of year. The winter…especially here. We are in Wisconsin. The winters are brutal. It’s dry, it’s cold, it’s awful. I mean, why do we live here? Another topic for another day.

But, okay, so Donna, you know what? I’m going to have you leave with this conditioning mask today, and it’s going to be a game changer for you. I cannot tell you the amount of success I’ve personally had, but other clients who have said the same things, have had success with this as well.  But here’s what I’m going to need you to do. I’m going to need you to commit to using this at least twice a week.  Put this on twice a week. So think of a time, Donna, where you have about ten minutes to yourself. Is that in the morning? Maybe before bed? You can put this on, leave it sit for ten minutes put a cap on, just hang out, read a little, watch TV. Minimum of ten minutes, maximum of sixty—I mean, that’s cool too. And then you’re going to go and you’re going to rinse that out. You’re not going to wash, you’re not going to shampoo. You’re just going to rinse that out. And then here’s the next thing I need you to do Donna. I need you to blow dry your hair.”

“Why? Why not air dry? I thought that was healthier?”

“No, no, no. The technology of our blow dryers today…I mean this is not the same world we lived in when we were doing our hair back years and years ago.  The blow dryers are not going to damage your hair. What will be stripping the hair though is if you let water just sit and chill. Well, we can talk about the pH scale.”

“Well, what do you mean, Kati?”

“Well think about the pH scale. Your hair, skin and nails are 4.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale.  Well, where’s water? It’s at 7, it’s neutral. So even water is damaging to the hair. So we’ve got to get that water out. So, after the conditioner is rinsed, you’re going to--I know you already have this at home--this moisturizing oil. I’m going to have you put this in, right after you get out of the shower. You towel dry, you put this oil in, and I want you to put this in. So if that makes it easier for you to do this in the morning, that’s cool, but this is going to be the game plan. And I promise you, you are going to see results.”

Now, I’m not acting or saying those recommendations to Donna in a wild, crazy, on stage way.  But I’m bringing passion behind what I’m saying. Some of you who are very supportive personalities, who--maybe your face turns red a little when you have to speak in front of anybody in general. And I get it; I mean I can’t relate, but I have team members who would do anything to stay behind the scenes rather than be in front of people or be onstage. 

So, for you, you’re going to have to kind of go into the mindset of I’m going on stage right now. When you go behind the chair, you’ve got to be like Beyoncé. You’ve got to cultivate that Sasha Fierce. When Beyoncé steps on stage she becomes a completely different person. When you go behind the chair, I want you to cultivate your alter ego, and bring to the table almost like you’re acting a part. I mean for real, very introverted personalities—and these are often very logical, analytical people, so you’re great at your craft—produce phenomenal results, you produce precise results for your behind the chair work, whether it be coloring or cutting. 

But, you sometimes struggle to bring the creative imagination side of the brain to the table, because it’s just not naturally there. And that’s fine! I mean, there’s a place for everybody. But when you go behind the chair, my recommendation is that you pretend that you’re playing a role, this is your role in this play, you’re acting a part. And your passion doesn’t have to be unrealistic for your personality type. 

So maybe your passion is compassion. I will tell you that eye contact will be the biggest key. Put your hand on their shoulder and say, “Donna, this right here is the conditioner for you. I couldn’t back a product up better that will give you the result you’re looking for today.”

And remember, practice makes permanent. Practice makes permanent. When you’re implementing new behaviors, it’s not going to become a habit overnight. You must practice positive habits each day. An Aristotle quote, one of my favorite quotes is, “We all are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Eventually, you won’t be acting any more. When you practice this repeatedly, it will become a habit. It will become who you are behind the chair, and you will become very successful. Your clients will be as passionate is you are. Their level of excitement will come and rise to meet yours. Passion will bring you the sales you desire.

People

But without the people part of this, it won’t matter how passionate you are. What do I mean? You’ve gotta love on your people. You aren’t selling products and services, you’re selling to people. We sometimes forget because we’re all saying, “oh, here’s what this can do, and here’s what-what-what we do”, instead of “Why do the people you work with care to hear about this?”

I mean, the saying is true: “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care”

So, in my opinion, for most professionals in the beauty industry, this is actually a strength of ours. Because I believe most of us got into this industry because we love people. We want to help people, we want to bring out the best in people. We want to help people look and feel good.  So we’re already a step above.  I mean, we’re ready to go; we love people. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we do that we forget we need to give the proper attention to the person. Especially if you get to the point where you’re double, triple booked. Then it becomes managing your schedule and time and moving people around. 

But take a moment to say, “How’s your day going?”  I mean, just asking people.

So how do we care for our clients so much that we can create a trusting rapport with them? Hopefully, by getting to know them. Are you genuinely engaged? Do you know how your clients like to be talked to?

There are clients—and you know what I mean, right?—they’ll come in and you’re going to be like, “Heyyy girl, have a seat. Got this new trend for you, I know you’re going to love it, it’s on point. Girl, check this out.”  

And then you’re going to have other clients where you’re like, “Fabulous to see you today. Take a seat right here.” 

And you sit down face to face and you lean in and say, “Tell me, how is your family doing?”

And yes, these are completely different clients. But you’ve got to understand how you talk to your different clients in different ways. Do you understand your clients’ values? Some people are going to be into different things than others. Are you remembering these things? 

I mean, every salon software out there that I’m aware of, will have a little notes section that will potentially pop up for you and remind you of things.  (We’ll just stick with Donna.) “Donna was on vacation last month” or “Donna is heading to Florida on vacation.” So by the time she comes in next you can be like, “Donna! How was Florida? I missed you!” 

Here’s a question: What is the number one thing people want to talk about?

Themselves, yes!

So how do you become more engaged with your clients? How do you get to know them? 

You ask them questions. 

And there are some personal questions, and there are questions that lead to the end result of your appointment. So, a personal question—and this is going to help you professionally so just go with me, here—a personal question you can ask your clients is “Hey, what does your everyday life look like?”

People are going to be very excited to answer that. 

So you say, “What does your everyday life look like?”

And they’ll say, “Oh, I get up, I go to my workout, and I get home, eat breakfast, get the kids off to school…”

And then you can say, “Oh, let’s back up! So I’m assuming you’re going to shower after your workout; tell me, what are the top products for your shower?” Now that’s a lead-in to your professional conversation. So it’s a personal question, you’re getting to know them. And now the next time they come in, you can be like, “Hey, how are your workouts going?”

But that was also a discovery question that also led to: What’s your daily regime with your hair?

Another leading question like that is: Do you have the time that you’d like to have every day to style your hair or apply your makeup?

“You know, I wish I had more time, but honestly I have about twenty minutes that I can allot for both.”

“I hear that, Donna. Because now that I know you only have twenty minutes to work with, I have a couple of suggestions for you.”

Another question: If you had more time, what would you like to achieve?

“Well, if I had more time, I’d love to put in those curls where it looks like waves, not like beach waves, but kind of…”

And they show you a picture and the light bulb goes off—and you’re like aha! Those are flat iron waves. 

And now this is in the back of your mind: Now I’m going to show you the flat iron you need to be using, and I’m going to show you the proper product to put on your hair before you put the heat on. It’s not only going to protect your hair from the heat, it’s going to infuse protein into your hair, and it’s going to hold the curl.

Boom! Opportunity.

Another question: If you had no fear or hesitation, what would you love to try?

Now, stick with me on this. Because you don’t ask this like, “Oh, we’re going to do the whole world today, we’re going to take you from a level four to a level ten today.”

No, but it’s kind of cool to see whether this person is a risk taker, or if they’re kind of in their comfort zone. Once you know that, for future visits you can make a note that this client, Donna, likes to push the boundaries. 

That is so fun. Because you know, you can do a little change to their look—add bangs—and it changes the whole thing. You can place foils in a certain way to completely change the look of their style. You add a few highlights on top, it’s going to instantly seem like there’s more lift, more volume at the top of the crown. So that’s so cool to find out.

Then there are products and services questions, for example: What are your products not doing for you that you wish they would?

Especially maybe with new guests. They come in and you ask, “What are your products not doing for you that you wish they would?”

And they say, “Well I really like how soft my hair is, but I’m struggling with volume. I feel like my hair is lifeless.”

You look and they have blonde, Norwegian, thin hair. And you’re like, “well, you probably shouldn’t be using that product…”

But you don’t say that! Instead you say, “Oh, well I have a really awesome idea I’m going to work with you on today, and you’re going to be blown away at how much volume you can have with your hair, and not compromise the softness, the moisture, the integrity of your hair.”

Another question: On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your current product or this product?

And if they say, “Well, maybe a 6…” this is your follow-up question: “What would need to happen to make it a 10?”

And she says, “Well, I love the softness, but to make it a 10 I need to have volume.”

So now you’re coming up with your game plan. You’re genuinely engaged. This is a give and take. Being great at sales, building trust so people will buy from you…it starts with the person. Getting to know them, and not just getting to know them to be their friend.

You know, when I’m hiring new stylists and I say, “Why would a client want to work with you?”

And they say, “Well I believe I can get along great with people, and I have a really great personality and I like to make people happy…”

I’m thinking in the back of my mind, “Yeah, you and every other stylist out there!”

Friends, this is why we’re going to talk about your unique selling proposition. What makes you truly unique?

Because unless you’re a complete A-hole, people are going to genuinely feel like most hair stylists are nice people. So that’s not doing it. With your client it’s not “let’s be best friends time”. With your client there is a way to maintain your professionalism and the fact that you are in a sales position, and still care deeply for people. Your goal is to be their professional.

And are you friendly? Do you care so much for them? Yes. But you’re their professional first. 

That is, if your goal is to make the earnings you’re worth. You know, I had talked before that the average stylist in America makes $30,000 a year. Across the nation, the average income for a hair professional…$30,000 a year. 

Are you okay with that? I’m not! I don’t want that for the stylists that work for me. I don’t want this to be their job for a little while, that’s fun. I want hair professionals to feel that this is a long-term career, that they can retire from this career, and feel comfortable.

And so, I’m just not willing to settle for the average. And just remember, friends, average is best of the worst or worst of the best. Can I get an Amen? 

I want us to be the exception.

People + Passion = Sales

So sales is about people plus passion.  Here’s the sales process: People have to know you. They’ve got to know that you exist. (Oh, I’ve heard of that salon, I’ve heard of that professional)

And then, they have to like you. We’re going to get into this a little bit further, because that’s all about authenticity. Then, they’ve got to trust you. I believe trust is built when you have the opportunity to sit down and get to know them, ask questions (the right questions) and come up with solutions.

Once, they trust you, then they’ll buy from you. You know, it’s hard to say, “Oh, I’m a sales position when I’m in the service industry.”

Friends, if you don’t make sales, you don’t make money. You are in sales. We just talked about discounts and how they complete devalue what you have to offer. Please, consider charging what you’re worth. You will attract the clients that believe the same things you do. Their values will match your values. There’s plenty of people to go around. This is not a world of scarcity. We live in America. This is a world of abundance. There’s plenty to go around.

Don’t fear the unnecessary. Instead, focus on your potential. And remember, practice makes permanent. This won’t come overnight, but today is the day that you can implement a new mindset that will result in new behaviors, that will result in new habits. And eventually, a year from now, you will a completely different professional than you are today. 

I believe you deserve it.