By Grant Miller, Salon Consultant
During this time of the year, most salons around the country are starting to see a business slow. The kids have gone back to school, the days are getting shorter and cooler, and the EFT cancellations start to outnumber new registrations. New customers and existing members are coming in less frequently, which means less upgrades and lotion sales and lower revenue per member.
As always, you have three basic ways to grow your business:
We will be talking a lot about the first strategy in Nashville this November and in future magazine issues. Today we will be talking about your existing customers.
I love getting new customers by stealing them from other salons. It’s easier than it should be since most salons spend too much time finding new ones and not taking care of the tanners they have currently.
In most cases, the biggest reasons people stop doing business with you is because they either forgot about your business or felt neglected by you. You may think, “Hey, how can they forget about me? They’ve been tanning here for years!” Your members are getting bombarded daily with radio, newspaper, direct mail and Facebook ads. There are all kinds of other businesses fighting for your customer’s attention and wallet. If you don’t take proper and constant care of them, they wander off like cats chasing after the next bright shiny object.
I am days away from my 32nd wedding anniversary. I didn’t stay married this long by accident, and it doesn’t hurt that my wife is a saint. But without some constant care and nurturing of this relationship, I would have been single and living in a van down by the river decades ago. This same principle holds true about the relationship with your customers. Neglecting them and not communicating with them in a meaningful manner will leave them open to trying a competitor down the street or other tanning option.
One of my golden rules is this: It’s not your customer’s job to remember you; it’s your job to remind them. Read that sentence again, it’s that important. Once you understand and embrace the importance of it, you will make a lot more money.
There are many ways to accomplish this: thank you cards, birthday cards, anniversary cards, bounce-back offers, client reactivation campaigns, monthly newsletters, etc. I use all of the above and more.
Oh sure, you can post something on Facebook or send an email. But how many of your clients are actually fans of your Facebook page? Even the best email open rates of 15-20 percent leave 80 percent of your messages left unread. Plus, you probably only have a fraction of your customers’ email addresses, so think of the thousands of members who never get to see your emails.
Being cheap or lazy about this will cost you a lot of money. I’m betting you and/or your staff has some spare time on their hands this time of year. So get on the phone, send a letter or do some direct mail. Get a real stamp and put it on a real letter or postcard and put it in the real mail. It will pay you back in multiples. Smart salons are doing this and they are hoping you won’t figure it out. If you are unsatisfied with your current customer counts and daily revenue, this could be just what the doctor ordered.
[Insert photo and bio of Grant Miller]