Build clientele in the salon, that's the number one concern I hear from new hair stylists.
You just graduated from cosmetology school and you only have a few family members that will come see you, along with a friend or two. But face it, those friends and family don't want to pay your fee at the salon! They will expect you do their hair for free. And on your day off to boot! (Don't get in that trap from the beginning or you will end up resentful fast.)
So how do you build clientele when beauty school pushes you out into the real world?
Sorry, boo, but I have to be straight with you. Building your clientele will take time, patience and a little financial investment. It doesn't happen in a day. BUT, string the productive days together and very soon you will see your clientele snowball.
I have plenty of ideas to share with you, but none of it is 'Get Rich Quick.'
I need you to understand from the get-go that building clientele will take a commitment of your time and resources. Please accept this up front.
If you need to start making your money right away I suggest you begin in a franchise salon with high traffic. It isn't the most glamorous side of the cosmetologist business but it can get you started, get you trained, hone your skills and provide a steady paycheck. If you do choose to start in a franchise you can do the most to build clientele from within the salon. It just depends on the franchise you choose.
Within the Salon
You may not realize it but there are numerous ways to build clientele within the 4 walls of the salon.
The first is called Client Retention. Client retention means keeping the clients that you have. It sounds like something that is a given, right? You think that a client that came to you will automatically come back to you.
Oh, new hair stylists, if that were only the truth! It is so easy to lose a client. Let me throw out a few reasons a client won't return to you:
This isn't even all of the reasons! But like losing them is easy so is keeping them, if you will be a "professional" professional hair stylist. We already know that it costs a bunch more to get a new client than to keep one.
So how do you keep client retention up?
By giving them an outstanding service experience by a knowledgeable and skilled professional hair stylist.
Can you do that?
Follow salon etiquette and maintain your professionalism at all times. PLUS, never miss an opportunity to WOW or stand out from the pack. You know we are always looking for ways to STAND OUT, right?
Come up with a little something you can do for your clients that other stylists aren't doing. Like supply your own rare, special magazine for your specific clientele (imagine Italian Vogue in your drawer!) or keep a phone charger at your station and ask if they would like to charge their phone while you do their hair. Little touches like this help you stand out and solidify a positive impression. (and keep the little touches to yourself or your charger and Italian Vogue will end up at someone else's station!!!)
You will build clientele from the behind the chair as well. Every positive impression you make with a client means the more they will want to share you with their friends and families.
Unbelievable, isn't it? If you don't believe me do the math yourself.
The point is this is how building a clientele works. An exceptionally happy client tells her best friend and sister. The friend and sister come see you and you make them exceptionally happy then they send friends, then the friends send friends.
And before you know it you are a busy little bee with no time for lunch! Plus your income has doubled, then tripled, then.....well, you know how the math works!
This is why you need to understand the power of professionalism. It affects every client in your chair and reflects in your income. Your professionalism today determines your income tomorrow.
You over-deliver in every area!
When it's time to market yourself on the outside of the salon use a conversation starter like this shirt. People will come up to you instead of you walking up to strangers!
A Happy Client:
An Unhappy Client will:
So over-delivering an exceptional salon experience alone will help build clientele.
But give them extra incentive and you will see a faster turn around. A referral program is a great place to start. Hopefully your new salon will have one in place. But if they don't, start one of your own to build clientele for yourself.
Here is a point of break down in the process for many new stylists, so pay attention!
A new hair stylist will do all this good work to insure an exceptional salon experience then drop the ball at the very end by not approaching the retail sale or rebooking the next appointment or asking for a referral.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR A REFERRAL. You have already won them over with your personality, professionalism and customer service. They like you! People who like you want to help you. Simply tell them you are new to the salon and building your clientele. Give her several of your cards and ask her to send you a friend. You promise to treat her friend like royalty and she will be rewarded by "whatever your referral program is." Then rebook her, set her up with the products she needs and go clean your station for the next client!
I'm a big fan of Behindthechair.com as most stylists are. Check out their article here teaching you how to use referral cards, punch cards and gift certificates. They have some wonderful lessons here to build clientele. Invest a little in yourself at the beginning of your career and I promise you will see the returns!
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