Secret #3: Referrals are your friend

The best way to build your clientele is by referrals.
The only way to get referrals is by doing your job well.
What does it mean to do your job well?
In no particular order here are a few ideas:
Get technical skills: https://heididelmuro.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/secret-2-get-technical-skills/
Communicate: https://heididelmuro.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=57&action=edit

And…
Earn referrals

People are busy.
They did their homework to find you, why do someone else’s too?
Free service or product you say? That just might work.
Offering incentives for your clients to spread the word costs much less than print advertising, and consumes less of your time than any other form of marketing.

Whenever your client comes in and says,

“I get so many compliments on my hair!”

That should be your cue to say,

“Great, I am so glad to hear that!”

But don’t stop there- next you could say,

“You know, for every referral you send me you earn ‘X’.”

I like the choice of words with earn, because it is work for them. They have to keep track of you, and make the effort to communicate with another about you. You have to keep track of their work, too. Because you already keep your client files up to date, note in your clients file who they referred so the next time they see you, their incentive is honored.

If you aren’t sure what type of incentive to offer, or what will work; think about your business.
What types of things can you afford to offer if you have 2 more clients in your chair?
There are two main things at your convenience; services and products.
Services cost you time (and money if chemical).
Products cost you money.

The incentive I have offered my clients since 2006- For every 2 new clients you send me, you earn the same service free. If you send two color clients, you get your color free. Two haircuts, free haircut. I do this to reward my clients who are loyal.

A lot of people offer an incentive for first time clients. I don’t usually do this because first time clients are more work for me, I can’t do more work for less. Also, there is less incentive for them to come back to you because next time is costs more. Besides, they can go down the street and get their hair done as a 1st time client with a discount, ahem. Notice a problem here? I can do a client for less who has been in my chair repeatedly, who is a joy to work with and who loves my work. They deserve an incentive because you don’t have to find them over and over again, they are coming back- so don’t gouge them.

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Secret #1: Value of communication

Communication: This must be crystal in order to know what the client wants. Not only words, of course communication is a whole body experience. Touch their shoulder before you touch their head to reassure them of your grace, this establishes trust in contact. Look in their eyes so they know they have your attention, listen to their choice of words in describing what they want, and analyze where they are coming from. Ask the questions that feel natural for you to comprehend what they need from you, and give them an understanding of the limitations you have (whether it is time, training, or their hair is simply not going to do what they want). Let them know your rates for their request, offer alternatives to their service and pricing if you aren’t sure they are certain or dead-set on what they want. Have consistent pricing too. People hate going to the hairdresser and having the surprise ending- that she is now charging you more than she did before but forgot to tell you. I always quote the work before I begin. It’s the only way to be fair to both the client and yourself. Don’t just come up with something either, have a base and structure additionals consistently.

Make sure you are actually connecting with your client, tap into the way they understand the world, look at their hair from their perspective. Ask as many questions as necessary, in ways that speak to that person…

Every now and then I will have a client who says, “maybe I didn’t tell the last girl what I really wanted, because look at it, it’s______.” That undesirable trait may or may not be your idea of foul play, but it most certainly is according to the client (who is no longer patronizing the last hairdresser). Communicate clearly to avoid repeat offending. My response to this is almost always, “I am the professional here, it is MY responsibility to make sure I know what you want before we begin.” Don’t argue with a client about whether their hair is gold or not, accept how they see it and make sure you do it how you have agreed.

Additionally, it’s not enough to know what someone does want, you must know what they do not want.

For all the readers who are clients, this series of articles is a valuable tool for you too. Make sure the hairdresser doesn’t proceed until you are comfortable with the communication.

Stay tuned for the 2nd secret….