We all strive to create loyal clients. The type of client who visits you without fail every six weeks for their facial or the client who always books with Sarah because she has always done her nails. That’s because loyal clients are much easier to service, they tend to buy more and most importantly, you have regular guaranteed income. That is, of course, a dream client.
We also strive to find new clients too. New clients also mean more income – and hopefully more loyal ones. But how do you find them? An expensive marketing campaign in your local newspaper or perhaps a discount offer, what about paid social media advertising? While valid options, they’re expensive ones. But do you know how much you spend on acquiring new clients? Well it’s certainly a lot more than what it costs for a loyal client to rave to a friend about how much she loves her masseuse or for another to mention where she went for a spray tan. Not only is this free but we also know that referrals are the strongest form of marketing. That’s because it’s a real person with real experience providing others with a real opinion.
If this is a key aspect of a successful business – how can you ensure you have loyal clients who create clients? Well it’s got a lot to do with getting to know your clients. So here are some ways to do so:
Build a relationship
Forming long-lasting, meaningful relationships is vital to any businesses success particularly when it comes to loyalty. So if you’re relying on basic information and purchase history, you probably don’t know your clients well enough and you certainly won’t be building relationships.
Take your time
You need to get to know your clients on a more personal level and you’re not going to get there during their first appointment. It takes time and you do have to start with the basics. Where do they work? Are they married? Do they have kids? But it’s where you go from there that makes the difference. Build on the information you have and use it to get to know them on a more personal level. Use your time with them to learn what type of personality they have, what’s their style and what their lifestyle is like. And don’t forget to share a bit about yourself too – relationships are a two way street and it’ll help you get to know them better.
Remember the details
Then comes the hard part – actually remembering all your conversations. We understand that with so many details and tonnes of clients it’s a hard ask. By using software, like Kitomba, you can add all these important details to the client card. What’s their drink preference and do they have any allergies to products? Pop these details and anything else you’ve learnt into the client card and glance over the notes prior to their appointment. Now you won’t forget that they’re going on holiday next week and you can pick up conversations where they left off six weeks earlier. Remembering the finer details can ensure you always cater to their needs and you can start to find things in common. All of these factors can have a big impact on building a relationship.
Ask questions and don’t forget to listen
This one is obvious but it’s good to be reminded! When you’re getting to know your clients – ask lots of questions. In particular, it’s important to keep asking “why”. Asking why and waiting for an answer provides your client with time to have a voice and helps you obtain the information you need to determine what they want to achieve. Remember to keep your questions open to encourage your clients to talk, you’ll learn a lot about them during this process.
Use visual tools to assist when asking questions. Ask your client for photos of the hair they’re wanting so you can discuss their desired style. Or take progress shots so you can review them together and see if you’ve achieved what they were asking for. Kitomba has just released photos in Kitomba One, our cloud software solution, and Online Booking allowing salons and spas and their clients to view and upload photos to the client card. This brand new feature makes using photos during consultations and throughout the client’s journey really easy!
And remember – after all the questions are asked, listen! That is where the value lies – you’ll know your clients better and therefore understand where to make changes.
At the end of the day, no amount of personal connection can substitute for great work. You need to know your stuff. Afterall, you are a paid expert and someone is giving you their hard-earned money to do something they believe you have a high level of experience and knowledge in. Keep yourself up-to-date with the latest in your profession and take the opportunity for training or upskilling. Ultimately, you should be a useful resource for your clients, someone they can obtain advice from, and don’t hesitate to share information that you think your clients should know. It shows you’ll go the extra mile and it doesn’t cost a lot of time or money. The more value you offer, the more a client comes to depend on and trust you – and these are key elements to a long term relationship.