After a wild ride of a year, most of us are settling back into a new salon groove. While things may look different, from capacity restrictions to PPE and plexiglass, our work remains that of making people’s #hairgoals come true. Whether you were closed for 2 months, 4 or the dreaded 7 (sorry San Francisco). We all experienced the hurried flood of desperate clients. The long days in masks, correcting, retouching, and revamping our client’s locks were many and seemed endless. Then, slowly but surely, we began to catch up and the busied rush of post-COVID closures settled into an easy lull. After we caught our collective masked breath, hairstylists across the globe had to figure out how to keep their businesses afloat during this next phase. The building blocks of a successful beauty business are maintaining current clients, growing with new clients, and maximizing all clients, but how can we accomplish this in a COVID world?
Maintaining clients is typically a pretty standard business. Traditionally, you find clients who fit your vibe, make them happy and in return they refer clients to you - boom you have a clientele! Fast forward to a pandemic and the pattern shifts. Some clients have started doing their hair at home, have moved, are still too nervous to step foot into the salon, were laid off, furloughed, or just plain out of work. So what can we do?
In pandemic times I think the most important thing to offer our clients is a sense of consistency and safety. Communicate with your client via social media or email blast with the steps you and your salon are taking to keep everyone safe. From new procedures and rules to new services and skills, show them how you took lemons and made lemonade. You can’t stop someone from moving or expect them to expand their budget but you can approach those clients with grace. For clients relocating, I tend to try to help them find a new hairstylist and for those whose budget changed, I suggest services that fit their new lifestyle better. In both cases, clients are so appreciative they continue to refer friends and coworkers your way which helps with our next building block….
Growing your clientele during a pandemic and recession may seem impossible, but it is actually the best time to supercharge your books. This is the time to set yourself and your salon apart from the rest. Clients had a long pause from their regular stylists and during that time may have decided to make a change...why not let that change be you? Beyond the obvious reasons of relocation and being dissatisfied, clients typically leave salons due to the lack of variety in services, specialization, personability, or cleanliness.
- We all know your hair skills are on point, but does your target market know this? Use social media to showcase your specialties and make sure your salon lives up to its Insta-presence during your clients’ appointment.
- Try offering a referral program. Offer an incentive for every referred client who comes and books an appointment. Make sure it makes sense for your bottom line, even a 10% or 20% thank you discount goes a long long way. If discounts aren’t your thing try ‘thank you’ product pouches with travel sizes products of your favorite retail items.
- Do you offer services that other salons in your area shy away from? Run a special for low overhead services (like a blowdry) with any booking of a specialty service. These services could be perms, keratins, extensions etc. Even if the special isn’t a hit, it will let the community know what you offer.
One of the hardest aspects of the current restrictions placed on salons is our inability to double book. This means that even more than before we have to maximize each client’s time in our chair. While always respecting a client’s budget and desired end result try for small add-ons during processing time. Could the ends use a balayage refresh during a full foil? What about a gloss during a grey touch-up? Who wouldn’t want an added sun-kiss face-frame? Does your salon currently offer additional services outside of hair? This might be a good time to add these on. Additionally, newer stylists or assistants can make use of their extra time by training in services like basic mani/pedi or brows! Even a nice hand and arm massage can go along way to enhance the experience and add to your tip.
You’ve Got This
The important thing to remember is this, you build your clientele once and you will do it again. You have the personality, the skills, and the experience to back that up. As stylists, if we can marry the artist with the business professional we are unstoppable.
Written by: Nicoletta