(Even if you are a New Stylist)
I'm about to give you 7 creative clientele building ideas, but first I want to call something to your attention.
All stylists have their busy times and their slow times.
The trick is to have all busy times and no slow time because you aren't making that money when your chair is empty, right?
So any promotional ideas I give you that include free or discounting, keep in your mind that you want to limit redemption to your "slow periods" Ok, now moving on to the creative ideas.....
Your first creative clientele building idea!
Team up with a Salon Buddy. There is more power in 2. Plus marketing with a co-worker holds you both accountable and gives you mutual support. Everyone is not good at everything. Maybe your strength, like talking to strangers, is her weakness. You can learn from each other too. Have some marketing shirts made for the 2 of you. You can do this easily at zazzle.com or cafepress.com. What if you had black baby-doll tee's that said, "I Did Her Hair!" Wouldn't that be adorable? Or, "We can make you FABULOUS!" Your shirts would make you stand out and make talking to people much easier.
Go out for the day shopping the mall and talking to high-end store managers. Offer them something special along with a referral reward. Or go to a wine tasting or art show. How about walking around an artist fair?
Just picture the 2 of you in black pants and boots, these Tshirts and black jackets! Don't forget your digital portfolios for quick consultations.
Your second creative clientele building idea!
Have "Free Service" Cards Made. Don't snap yet, hear me out. What is a quick, inexpensive service that would benefit your target market? How about a bang trim? Or neck trim for men? That would take you maybe 5 minutes to do, right? Imagine a business card, separate from your hair stylist business card, that said
'Come see me for a Free Bang Trim with Free Consultation!'
Wouldn't that be a great way to bring clients in for a look at your salon? It would get them in your chair and give you the opportunity to further service them or book them in the future. Make it only redeemable on your slow days. It would suck to be busy on a Saturday and have a few of these come in to throw you off schedule.
Your third creative clientele building idea!
Have your material put in New Resident folders at Apartments and Condo's. This is one of my favorite marketing methods and most overlooked. When new residents move into apartments they receive a packet that has local business coupons. I once received one from a Papa John's for a free large pizza the week I moved in. It was such a nice touch and appreciated because I still had to unpack. People are moving into your neighborhood and want to know where to go for needed services. Put a nice postcard in from "your salon" saying 'Welcome to the Neighborhood' with some sort of free service from YOU!
Not perfect, but you get where I'm going with this. This could be a salon effort but wouldn't you rather be the one to benefit? Make sure to run it by your manager if you are on commission. Especially before you have them printed.
All you have to do is ask an apartments manager if you could include your postcards in their new resident packets. They are always looking for good offerings. Ask them how many new residents they have per month. It probably won't be more than 30 each.
Only pick the complexes that house your target market. If you were going for middle class families and you gave the postcards to low income housing all you would be doing is giving out free services! (Because they won't be able to afford your services.) But if you target your specific market you will have a much greater chance of getting the type of clients you want.
Once you get this going, don't forget to keep checking in with your complexes to make sure they don't run out. (Oh, also add somewhere that it is good for first time clients only.)
Building relationships is the life blood of building clientele. Nurture all of the contacts you make along the way. Every person you speak to that is in your target market is a potential client, like the apartment managers!
Your fourth creative clientele building idea!
Make nice with Real Estate Agents. This is similar to the apartment idea but not as wide spread. Develop a few relationships with real estate agents by offering to do their hair. They can steer your type of clients in your direction.
A real estate agent will often give a house warming gift to the new owner. You could put your post card in a decorative envelope to stand out. If I just bought a home and received a beautiful invitation for a free shampoo and blow out at a salon in my new neighborhood, which I am so thrilled to be in, you better believe I would go by and redeem.
What a wonderful opportunity for the stylist, to make someone's day, make a new friend and welcome them into the neighborhood! Never forget the amazing powers you possess as a professional hair stylist!
Your fifth creative clientele building idea!
Jump at Community Events. Community events like business expos, festivals, street fairs, sidewalk sales, 5k runs, fundraisers, etc. Some events would charge for a booth but you don't need to go that far. I'm trying to get you going without a big cost to you. These type of functions would be a good opportunity for you and your salon buddy to put on your cute shirts and mingle with the community.
"I Did Her Hair!", remember?!
ANY TIME you have a chance to get your face in their face helps with your client building efforts.
How? That's a really good question!
Because advertising research proves that the more exposure a person has to an image and/or name the more favorably they feel toward it! Being seen in your community is a boost to your career, even if it is subtle.
When someone stumbles into your salon looking for an appointment and see you behind the chair you have instant credibility! Just the fact that they saw your face at a community event triggers recognition in their brain and shoots you above the other stylists.
So see and be seen! (Always looking like the professional hair stylist that you are, of course)
I can't help but say this right now. YOU are YOUR BRAND. YOU are YOUR CAREER. Being in public please keep this in mind. If you work in a fancy pants salon with high dollar professional women clientele, don't be seen walking down the street on your day off smoking a cig in cut off Daisy Duke's and no makeup. It will damage your brand.
Define you style. What is your best asset? Yeah, your butt looks great but you don't want to rely on that. You need a "look" that people won't soon forget. For me it's my hair, white fat Mohawk. Play up your best feature to stand out.
Now, if you have the opportunity to participate in a community event where it costs you nothing, by all means, go for it.
I know I refer to blow outs quite a bit but for a few reasons. One, it is trending, and two, it is a service that makes you look like a genius!
If you had the chance to be in a community event and could do blow out services it would give you the opportunity to show a lot of flash and stand out!
Imagine, it would be like being a platform artist! To make yourself shoot to the top, you have to show some originality and dazzle. All you need is a chair, electricity (borrow a generator for an outdoor event), a water spray bottle, your trusty blow dryer, and your other professional hair stylist tools. You might even consider purchasing a used salon chair off Craigs List if you have means to transport it to events.
Have you got the image in your head???
You, dressed like a professional hair stylist, with your tools, doing a blow out service on a lady that was just walking by. Work that brush! Hold your dryer with confidence! Put some swag into your technique! Heck, put on a show! You are not doing anything complicated. But you sure look good doing it!
Oh, and "Here's my card. I would love to spend more time with you showing you how we can enhance your look! Have a great day, ladies. You look beautiful!"
Your Sixth creative clientele building idea!
Exploit the Teen Market. Yeah, I said it! But in a good professional hair stylist way. It's no secret that American teens are spoiled rotten these days. I know, I have one.
More than ever, teens are very conscious of their look. Pop culture has at least done us that favor.
Teens make up 14% of the U.S. population. And teens with jobs or mommy's credit card will soon be young adults with careers. See where I'm going with this?
Gain a teen client and grow your clientele. Believe me, the majority of professional hair stylists are not going after this demographic. But you can!
They have money and they want the hottest, trendiest looks! Ka-ching. They do not mind spending mom and dad's money!
And boy are they SOCIAL! Which means they will help you build clientele faster than the professional business woman will.
How do you go after this niche market? By establishing yourself as the go-to stylist for teens. And by going where they go. Work your social channels to bring them in.
I would not do free blow out services in this target market or you will wear out your arms! BUT, this is a good market to do Buddy promotionals. Like make an appointment for you and your friend and you both receive 50% off of your service. It's like a buy one/get one free deal but you are cashing in at the same time. 2 tips. Double the work the first time but do what you know to do from behind the chair and you have the opportunity to win 2 new clients with one brush!
Try private schools, cheerleading squads, soccer teams, etc.
Here's a sample angle: Heather, Official Hairstylist to Memphis Competitive Cheer Teams!
Your Seventh creative clientele building idea!
Start a community hair vlog. You are everything hair, right? So what if you are new. No one has to know that. Having a vlog gives you professional credibility. You could use your free website or do a separate one for your blog or vlog.
Use it to post some YouTube videos. Center it around hair and your specific community. I'm making this up, but say you were in Clapton, MN, a suburb of a major city. How many hair blogs do you think there are for Clapton? The deeper you dig into a niche the shallower it becomes.
So when someone Googles Clapton hair blog, or Clapton hair you have a good chance of being found, especially if you really work it. Same with YouTube.
As your audience grows so does your reputation. On your videos do things that you are really good at to highlight your strengths. This makes you look like a genius too, and perception is reality. Always be professional.
This will get your face in the public and develop your brand. For more on this hop over to personal branding.
This is a very good way to grow your muse as well!
Now let's assume you did a few of these creative client building ideas. What is your real payoff? You got more butts in your chair for starters.
But the really big payoff is the branding you have accomplished and the reinforcement of that brand.
All things work together for the greater good of your beauty career! Can you imagine if a new hair stylist did all of these creative client building ideas? Wow, she wouldn't be spinning in her chair for long. She would be too busy making money!
Non-activity, apathy, complacency are all career killers. You are new to the industry. You have to start the rock rolling. NOBODY is going to do it for you.
Every hour that passes without a client in your chair is a missed opportunity to build your clientele. Don't let yourself get comfortable hanging out in the break room or spinning in your chair.
Fight for your career! Use what techniques fit your style and seize control of your beauty career now.
Good luck out there. I wish you all the success you can handle!