Lisa Conway talks about the importance of focusing on our own business in quiet times instead of worrying if other people are quiet too.
Why do you need to check if others are quiet, too? Because it makes you feel better to know you’re not the only one. My advice is to stop worrying about other peoples’ business performance, and do something about improving yours.
Business is a game for grown-ups. You need to look at yourself for answers and there’s no running to your parents for help. To experience growth and get business booming, you need to work harder on yourself than on anyone else.
The tough-but-true t-shirt I want you to wear reads: “I am the problem and I am the solution”.
If your salon is quiet, ask yourself: What am I doing about finding new customers? How is my rebooking percentage? Is it at 75 per cent or higher?
The reason you’re quiet today has everything to do with the activity (or lack of) you engaged in 6 to 8 weeks ago. Go to your computer, look back and see what was going on 6 to 8 weeks ago.
How was you rebooking percentage then? Perhaps you were super-busy without a full team on deck and struggled to service your clients 100 per cent. Look for the drama factor: your team bringing personal dramas to work and not focusing on premium customer service. Perhaps it was extremely quiet then so there were fewer opportunities to rebook.
Some salons tell me every fifth week is a quiet one. So … fix it! Identifying the quiet time isn’t nearly as clever as doing something about it. Make a conscious effort to rev it up with marketing activity. Promote an offer for that week only. Work harder at making it happen.
There are basic marketing tasks that I believe every salon should be doing, from chasing lost clients, to seeking new ones, encouraging clients to refer, and everything in between. You need to execute all these via physical post – yes, snail mail. Email and SMS are not personal enough. Sure, it’s much cheaper electronically, but I’ve proven time and time again that it simply doesn’t work.
Inviting new clients to your business should be a constant and ongoing practice. An effective method is making business relationships with other like-minded businesses. Seek those who have similar databases to your own – local gyms, cafés, florists, dry cleaners – and partner up for some joint promotional work.
If you’re struggling to do the promotional work, ask yourself what you can do to make this the last quiet patch. If you don’t learn from the down times, they’ll be back. Again and again. By nature, business will always peak and trough. It’s your job, as the grown-up salon owner, to minimise the troughs.
Engage your team in your mission by having regular meetings and celebrating your successes, such as rebooking percentage, number of clients serviced and number of retail units recommended every week. Did you notice that I didn’t mention money? Money is a by-product of good service; get the service right and people will happily hand you their money …and rebook.
An American study claims that when a client purchases one product from you, there is a 30 per cent chance they will return to your business. If a client purchases two products, there is a 60 per cent chance they will return. Why? Because people buy from people who they know, like and trust. That’s why I always look at a salon’s retail sales; it shows me whether or not they are engaging their customers, looking after them beyond the salon. There is a strong loyalty between the customer and the stylist or beautician. That’s why it’s critical to celebrate the units of retail rather than the dollars collected.
There are many ways to teach your team the value of retail. Mine is that it’s not in the selling, it’s in the telling. Just share what you know in a generous and caring way. Simply tell the customer what you recommend and why. Offer a sample. If they don’t choose to take the product today, it doesn’t matter. You’ve done your part in being the expert.
If your client loves the product and it solves their problem, then it’s an absolute bargain at any price. That’s why a sample is a great introduction to that product – it shows you care.
When a client feels the love, I can guarantee they’ll be back. Multiply that across your client base and you’ll no longer be asking others “are you quiet?” You’ll be too busy to wonder.