Build Clientele Now
for New Hair Stylists
(and other stylists who need a booster shot)

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?

No matter where you are in your career, you need to know  there is so much that goes into building a client base!

Some Cold, Hard Reality about Marketing Yourself

Have a seat........we need to talk stylist to stylist.

Here's the thing about building clientele, as with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

This is a common scenario.  "How do you build clientele?" "How can I market myself?" "How can I get more people to book appointments with me?"

Hairstylists ask.  They look up quick tips and say, "Oh that's a good idea!"

Then they just keep on keeping on like every other day.

I could seriously give you all of the tips and methods to build a successful career, but ultimately using the methods is all on you.

Your commitment level has everything to do with it!

For example, if you decide to go out marketing you need to have a plan of attack in place.  If not, you will hand out a few cards and go home.  Then you will say that you tried marketing outside the salon but it didn't work.  That's what I call a half-ass attempt at marketing.

If you post a couple of pictures on facebook with a caption, "Open til 7, come see me," you may think that social marketing doesn't work.

If you try to pre-book your clients and have a low success rate, you will think that pre-booking doesn't work, even though we have statistics to prove that it does. You may say, "Well it doesn't work for me!"

When a stylist is building clientele there are many factors at play.

  1. Skill execution
  2. Personality
  3. Customer service
  4. The salon culture/environment
  5. Professionalism
  6. Effort
  7. Social presence vs. business presence
  8. Retailing professional product
  9. and MORE

To build a sustainable client base all of these factors need to be addressed.  But the main thing you need is commitment.  

Commitment to YOUR CAREER.

Ask yourself how important it is for you.  What happens if you don't build your clientele this year?  Will you quit being a hairstylist?  Will you have to get another job?

It's not hard to build your client base but it does take effort.

So do yourself a favor and take a little personal inventory.  If it is important that you build your clientele then make it a priority in your life!  Devote yourself to it.

This is your living!  It provides for your family.  Once your book stays full you can let off the gas a bit.  But never take it for granted.

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2 Paths to Build Clientele
for New Hair Stylists

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:


  • smelling smoke
  • don't like the result of the service
  • poor hygiene
  • bad breath
  • talking about yourself too much
  • talking to other stylists
  • negativity
  • gossip
  • sloppy work
  • not catering to their needs
  • poor atmosphere
  • bad attitude
  • unprofessionalism
  • too rough
  • dirty station
  • dirty tools
  • making them wait on you
  • poor communication

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 your 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!!!)

Every positive step you take in customer service will pay you dividends.  It is never a wasted action.  Push yourself to exceed client expectations and watch as you become very popular in the salon!

Build Clientele Behind the Chair in the Salon

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.

Riddle me this:  2 men are playing 18 holes of golf. At hole #1 they make a wager. Hole #1 is a dime bet and every hole after that the wager doubles. Hole #2 is a 20 cent bet, hole #3 is a 40 cent bet and so on.

How much is the 18th hole bet?

What do you think? $100, $200?

Would you believe $13,107.20?!!!!!´╗┐

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.

How do you make a client Exceptionally Happy? 

You over-deliver in every area!

  • Customer Service
  • Technical Skill & Knowledge
  • Your Professionalism
  • Ability to overly meet their needs
  • Clearly communicate

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:

  • Doesn't have to wait
  • Is greeted immediately and welcomed into the salon
  • Is offered hospitality
  • Is fully advised on promotions
  • Knows what to expect with her bill
  • Is guided into the best look and services to meet her needs
  • Is educated in products that would benefit her specific needs
  • Is treated like she is very important and has your full attention
  • Is treated with respect
  • Is made to feel like her business is valued
  • Is re-booked for her next appointment
  • Is sold product that will help her re-create her salon look
  • Can't wait to tell someone about her stylist!
  • Will send friends and family to her new stylist!

 An Unhappy Client will:

  • Not return
  • Not buy product
  • Not Tip
  • Tell anyone who will listen about her bad experience with a stylist! 

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!

May I suggest my buddies at ZAZZLE, below, to make your Hair Stylist Referral Cards! 

Shop & Create on Zazzle

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