I have spent the past decade in salon business development and marketing. That’s ten years of helping stylists make more money. I get asked a lot about the best way to get new clients. It’s a great question and I’ll be answering that in a future post, but to answer that we need to take a step back and evaluate what we are working with. How many of our current customers are we keeping, and how do we make sure they keep coming back? Keeping existing customers happy and coming back is just as important as getting brand new ones.
Our industry average for client retention is about 70%. These are usually clients who have been coming to you for a year. The goal should be to keep 85%. This 15% difference can account for those others who don’t come back for any number of reasons. Think you will never lose a client? People move, get new jobs, finances change.
In my years of helping stylists I’ve learned that the biggest reason clients leave a stylist is because they want change. Your clients choose you because you are the expert. You directly influence how someone feels when they look in the mirror. Change can be subtle or dramatic, but always suggest change or the client might find that change with someone new.
We can address this in a super simple way. I call it the Rule of 3. Appointments can be broken into 3 segments:
#1. Consultation: Every. Single. Time. This is SO important, especially with established clients. Talk about the hair! How was the last cut/color? How did those highlights work out? What’s one thing you loved? What’s one thing you’d like to change? And suggest a change. Tweak a color formula to reflect that it’s almost spring, add a few balayage foils, add soft fringe. The sky is the limit. The point here is to ask and suggest. If the client wants exactly the same as last time, that’s great. At least they know you are on top of your craft and looking out for them.
#2. Chitchat: Boyfriend, kids, pets, work. All the fun stuff.
#3. The maintenance for this awesome new ‘do. Show the client which products you used. Sometimes it’s helpful to physically show them how much to use at home (we all know the difference between a one-inch trim to a client and what a one-inch trim really is; it’s the same principle here), what brushes you used, and when you need to see them back to keep this look fresh.
Keep your current customers happy and try out the Rule of 3.