Keep, Retain and get New clients??

Hi there. I'm just finishing up my second year as a salon owner and I'm still floundering in terms of making money. We're a natural nail salon so we don't have an automatic return for clients who need fills. Does anyone have any suggestions about:

Retaining clients:

  1. Always prebook before the client leaves
  2. Send thank you cards for continued loyalty.
  3. Acknowledge client milestones with a small upgrade or free gift. send out postcards to acknowledge these occassions. People like to receive "warm fuzzys' in the mail, it's a break from bills and junk mail.
  4. Always thank your clients and be happy to see them.
  5. Always be enthusiastic and willing to add on a service.
  6. Offer a small discount for services bought in a series. 5 - 15% off is sufficient. Or offerring a free paraffin upgrade at each service in lieu of a discount.

Getting new clients:

  1. Be sure to give each client 5 of your business cards at each appointment. Ask them to hand out your card to anyone who compliments their nails/toes or mentions they need a new tech.
  2. Reward client referrals with a small gift or upgrade (ie, paraffin treatment, 1/4 oz bottle of oil, 2 oz bottle of lotion, etc.)
  3. Contact the local schools. Donate gift certificates to their fund raisers. many schools and churches, clubs have a "ladies night out" where they auction off donated gift certificates and baskets from local merchants.
    Every year we donate 20 gift certificates to each of these events. Every time someone wins our gift certificate our salon name is announced. GREAT advertising!
  4. Contact a direct mail service like Direct Impression. For about 43 cents per postcard they will mail out Your postcards to whom ever you desire. We have them mail out 500 cards per month to people who have recently moved into our area from out of town.I design the cards and have them shipped directly to the mailer from vista print. In bulk, my cards at vista print came to 6 cents each.

Getting new clients to return

  1. Send a welcome card for that first appointment. Include a small monetary incentive to return within an allotted time. This incentive can be 5% off the next appointment or it may be a discount on a service upgrade at that next appointment.
  2. Always remember that the client should be doing most of the talking during the appointment. Most of your dialogue should be questions posed to the client.
  3. Always do a home care summary for the client and enable her to purchase those recommended products.
  4. Follow up phone calls a few days after the initial appointment are nice.
  5. Reminder call the night prior to next scheduled appointment.

Pam,  Illusions Salon, Peoria, AZ

My salon/spa is going on its second year as well and I will share some of the things I do for new clients. Craig's list is very popular and I have receive a lot of new clients from there. Also Yahoo local very hot and the cool thing is they both are free. I offer beneficial services that feel good but contributes to the health of your skin and nails, in which most nail salons want to get you in and get you out and I think that set us apart. we provide aromatherapy manicures and pedicures 30/50 and we service a moderate class of clientele and they dont complain. I also network with other professionals in my area. We trade services and have regular girl chat to keep us all from loosing our mind. (Be careful of this one though you have to make sure they are sincere and not the stab you in the back and take your ideas type person). This one is very old but it works I dont care where I go grocery store, post office, supply store I try to make sure that my nails are in top notch shape. If you cant do an A+ job on your nails get them done until you can. Keep your menus fun and sassy with color and not just new services but beneficial new services.

I still have the nails magazine that shared how to make custom services, clients love those things and another big thing in my salon which is another oldie is retail. You know women love to shop so I try to have a big selection of purses and they go like hot cakes; every women that walks into the salon always say something like "Oh I see you got some new purse" or something to that line.

Also I do a lot of evaluations because human beings are so deceptive they will say they like something and really dont but a lot of times you can tell by there expressions or body posture. Evaluations on my salon the way it looks, Evaluations on my employees such as making sure they never forget our mission statement and providing out of this world customer service. Evaluations on my advertisement whether paid or free if you dont see results from it really its a waste of time. Evaluations of services same thing here if its been 6 months and no one has purchased that one single service you need to get rid of it or make some changes to it. I have learned in my 10 years of being in the industry if your clientele is not growing the way it needs to be you need to start doing a lot of evaluations of everything. I did that because I was finding that I could find some people to work but they didn't have that professionalism that I was looking for and didn't fit with what I wanted my salon/spa to stand for, so I did a little cleaning and things are going great and I always pray and ask God to send good honest, trustworthy people. I also pray for all my employees.

You also need to check out the attitudes and personalities of the team are they approachable, do you always catch them sitting around mad because they dont have a full book. Another is websites; if you have one make sure you keep it update and very attractive; add elist; discounts that you only get on the site; online booking which is also free. Those are just a few of the things we do to stand out and attract new clients. I get a lot of new clients that say you have so many good things on your website. I try to think like my clients. They' re woman just as I ,so when me and my crew came up with the valentine specials I said to my guys" if I was a customer I would want my husband to purchase that for me", you got to think like a client, what special things do you like, what things irk  you, etc. etc. 

Oh there's so much I could go on and on but I will spare you guys:)~

I'm sorry so long but those are a few things that I feel stands out. Hope it helped some: SMILE!!! Hang in there I know its a lot of hard work sometimes i get to the salon at 7am and dont leave until 12 midnight but things will change if you stay the course and focus and do some evaluating....

Michelle Smith-Anderson

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