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!
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!
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?
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!