I’m a little obsessed with helping businesses find new streams of revenue, in case you haven’t noticed… I’ve thought a lot about hair salons specifically, and it all comes down to a system.
The first piece they get wrong in most hair salons is scheduling. Usually, there's some receptionist who’s handling all the appointments. That person is usually the anti-appointment administration. The “we're busy”, “we're booked”, person. God forbid, they get a walk-in…
I've been sitting in a salon and there's people standing around and somebody walks in and the receptionist turns them away. C’mon, you can’t take those people for granted! Part of growing your clientele is having a plan to drive traffic, getting the phones answered, and getting bookings on the calendar.
The receptionists should be incentivized on how many appointments show up and are booked. Maybe pay them a little bit less hourly and then incentivize them on how many appointments come through. That person should be commission-invested in the booking of the schedule. If it directly affects their pocket book, I guarantee you’ll see different results.
Create a system for the person booking appointments and teach them that you want to book early and stack them up. No more, “When do you want to come in?” If a stylist comes in, they should have their five appointments stacked up and then they're done. You don't want them having two-hour gaps. It's bad for morale. Book clients early and book them consistently.
Next, salons rarely do any sort of marketing. I've never been to a salon where they collect my email and market to me, but this is an industry made for fun marketing. Before and after pictures are like gold in those situations—the system is built for dramatic before and after pictures. Particularly with a business where clients need to be reminded how good they can look with highlights, or that they might want different looks for different seasons. This also opens the door to market products. Shoot easy little videos with a cellphone and send out emails once or twice a month to your list to remind them.
Getting your hair cut or styled is also perfect for social media—especially if it comes out well. I see people posting about how they got their hair colored or cut, yet I never see them tagging the hairdresser or the salon. If the hairdresser or stylist was the person who took the picture and shared it, they could cross promote, and make sure the salon is tagged.
The next thing is, where’s the presentation of what you could take with you? We're all using products in our hair, but most of the time you have to beg for them to tell you what to use. They're the experts. They need to present. Most of the time, the hairdressers get a percentage of what is sold, but there has to be some sort of mandatory forced presentation every time where you come in. Tell the clients what you used in their hair, or what shampoo you recommend. You could have some sort of needs analysis during the process where you ask them if they have damage, or tell them they have damage. Ask if they struggle with dry hair or greasy hair and then come back at the end with suggestions for them. Then, if they buy, next time they come in ask how they liked the products, and refill the supply, or adjust as necessary. You could double or triple your sales on products just by doing a needs analysis alone, pointing out the things that are wrong with the scalp, the hair, that sort of thing. Use your expertise to create a custom plan for your clients, and make sure they have everything they need.
Let’s wrap this up. To double your sales in a hair salon make sure that the person answering the phone is vested in making appointments and in those appointments showing up. Prioritize efficient management of the appointment schedule. Identify ways to drive new traffic with things like Groupon. Have an email CRM where you're collecting emails and you're sending out before and after pictures so you’re marketing, and creating a bigger story for your clients. Then send out reminders and present products every time. Use the time that you have with the client to recommend color, pedicures, nails, anything you can sell on top of whatever the client came in for.
Hair salons are built on creating a good experience, and if these business-boosting suggestions are executed properly, you’re only enhancing that good experience. The good news about boosting sales in a hair salon is it’s a win-win for everyone.