By Jenny Backman, Carolina Tan Factory
It’s true that “it’s never too late.” Let me go on record and be one of many that will tell you that if you aren’t selling memberships in your salon, do not wait another minute to make this change!
The reasons we must sell memberships are very simple to understand. Tanning is seasonal, your customers are only so loyal, membership perks make customers feel special and the affordable monthly rates make clients appreciative of your services. So, how do you craft the perfect membership structure? There a few things to keep in mind for a successful EFT program.
It’s crucial to have variety of packages, including individual months and sessions, but never sell those options first. You may even consider having a completely separate price list that is only brought out if necessary. I instruct my staff to sell the memberships first and not to even mention the other options unless the customer does not see a membership that fits them.
Expect rebuttals such as “I want to tan for just a month,” “I don’t want to draft” or “I just need a few sessions.” Your job is to make your memberships so affordable, even the session tanner finds it to be of better value to join as a member. If you craft affordable, attractive memberships, you’ll easily combat these common rebuttals.
It’s very important to not make it a contract. It has to be something they can freeze, cancel or downgrade after a very short period of time. I suggest having a “one draft minimum.” If the rate is good, and they enjoy the experience, hopefully they will continue for longer or freeze for the next time they want to tan.
Charge an enrollment fee and create a rewards program. Enrollment fees are the key for clients “freezing” or “downgrading” instead of cancelling. By choosing one of these options, they can avoid any rate increase and avoid repaying an enrollment fee for the next season. Your rewards program should give members perks like extra discounts on lotions, upgrades and “tan bucks” towards purchases, all of which are on a graduated scale – the longer they stay, the more they get rewarded.
Be sure to have flexible membership options. When a customer comes in to cancel, I suggest you have your membership options printed and in display form so you can show it to them. Your membership options document should include options for changing the membership when they are no longer tanning or not tanning as much.
Your goal is to retain the client for the next season no matter what, whether that is through a downgrade option or freezing. For example, at my salons, I offer a very affordable limited membership, which allows weekend-only level-one tanning for only $8.88 a month. They can choose to downgrade to this during the off season or when they simply want a lesser membership for a period of time.
We also have a freeze option, which charges the customer $5 a month for the period they are frozen. While frozen, they can come in for occasional sessions and receive 30 percent off. When they come back in to reactivate, the $5 they have accrued goes toward their first month back. This keeps your clients coming back to you because they essentially know that they have a “credit” at your salon, so why go anywhere else?
Memberships are absolutely essential in this day and age of our industry. Do not be fooled into thinking that your clients will remain loyal to you when a larger chain salon comes in with memberships. If you haven’t, make the change and make it now! Change is difficult, and can be scary at times, but I cannot stress to you enough how necessary it is. Once implemented, you as a salon owner can focus on making your members happy, while they’ll be able to enjoy a more affordable, rewarding experience at your salon. It’s a win win!