Tough Times Tactics: 6 Strategies to Bring Clients Back More Often

You're an enlightened owner who knows there are three legs holding up the stool to increased sales (revenues).

Increase the number of clients.
Increase the average ticket per client.
Increase the frequency of client visits.

While so many salons/day spas concentrate most of their marketing time and effort on bringing in new clients and trying to increase the average ticket, many pay little attention to the third.

When you focus on building the salon/day spa's revenues, you'll want to recognize the importance of frequency of visits and that you're creating opportunities for your clients to gain greater benefit from your services and products. Remember, they trust you with an important part of themselves and with that trust comes the confidence they can feel nurtured, and gain even greater results.

The six strategies to bring clients into your salon/day spa are actually systems that articulate to your clients the advantages your salon/day spa offers.

Communicate personally with your clients to maintain a solid personal relationship. Make sure this strategy is on going (not a one-time shot) and that each communication, be it by telephone or in writing ("snail" mail or e-mail), has a special purpose—one centered on the client rather than one extolling how great your business is. Treat your client as you would a dear friend. Offer her something complementary—maybe it's a service gift for her birthday. Give advice on how to take care of her skin or her newly straightened hair between visits.
Create special events centered on your core client's interests. It'll make her feel special. Think about the type of events that your client would enjoy attending: "closed-door" sales, a fashion show with a local store, a jewelry "trunk" show are just a few ideas. Make sure these special events are not just "one-off's" but rather have them as part of your regular promotional calendar.

Create a "long-term" buying program that makes it both fun and easy for your client. For example, create a goal setting "life-time" appearance approach by doing an extensive "over the top" first time consultation with the first-time client. Build on your normal consultation that focuses on the immediate—what she wants to look like when she leaves your salon, to what she imagines herself looking like in short-term, i.e., 90 days time. From that point you can evolve your service offering and create affiliations with personal trainers, dieticians, etc., who can visit the client at home. This approach leads to an opportunity to shift to a long-term picture—how the salon/day spa can be of assistance with anti-aging products and services, stress reduction, etc.

Use appropriate pricing incentives to overcome the client's hesitation to try new services and products. A number of salons/day spas I know have successfully established frequent-buyer or point systems. To increase client frequency ask the question, "How many ways can my business use price inducements to persuade the client to buy more often?" For example, "How would a product refilling program work in my salon/day spa?"

Develop backend products and services from which your clients (past, present, and future) can choose. Ask yourself, "What other products or services (or combination) could I offer our clients that is a logical extension or complements the benefits they get from our current offerings?" For instance, you could set up an accessory boutique and by using database marketing create an accessory club like a "fruit of the month club" with auto-shipping and offering a special price advantage to club members.

Promote other business' products and services. First, organize your database and then amplify it by gathering information on the clients' interests or purchases. After you've done your homework, then ask yourself the question, "What other services or products do my clients buy before, during, or after they purchase their basic service or product from me?" Then make a list of those services/products you can add to your salon/day spa and make a second list of other businesses you can refer clients to and develop cross promotions.

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