Posts from the ‘salon business’ Category

Your Frequent Buyer Program: A Secret Formula for Effortless Repeat Sales

Your Frequent Buyer Program: A Secret Formula for Effortless Repeat Sales

The other day I passed an upscale nail spa and a sign on the front desk caught my eye: It read “Cheaper by the dozen, buy 12 manicures for the price of 10.”

Well what that hoity-toity nail spa knows is that frequent buyer programs, by any description, are a very powerful tool.

Here are a few ideas for frequent buyer programs.

* Make your program user friendly (for both the client and the salon/day spa). A punch card or a stamp will do. Make sure you keep the number of purchases in the computer in case the client forgets her card.
* For a more “expensive” look, try a plastic card. You can purchase these through your software provider. A wonderful touch is sending the client a printout of her usage.
* Try collaborating with an aligned business and offer “frequent” buyer programs. For example, you can arrange with a neighboring tanning salon to give a free tanning session for every three haircuts in your salon.
* Give a gift certificate valued at $x for every $y spent in services in your salon.
* Offer your top “inner-circle” of clients an exclusive discount as a reward.
* Arrange to give frequent flyer miles with your gift certificate program.

After you decide you’re going to have a program, make sure you:

* Clarify your goal.
* Clarify all the technical aspects of your program (how it works).
* Have a reward that the client considers valuable, but not so expensive that you lose money on it.
* Determine the length of your program—give enough time so the client can benefit.
* Know how the clients will receive the bonuses—don’t make them wait too long or jump through a ring of fire to get the bonus. They’ll only get frustrated and all your hard work will go down the drain.Test your program.

Andrew Finkelstein, President of the Beauty Resource, is a successful New York City-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps professional beauty businesses get more clients. Andrew’s E-zine The Finkelstein Report is the beauty industry’s #1 marketing resource with free articles, marketing tools, and valuable advice for salons and day spas owners. Contact Andrew at TheBeautyResource.com

If you are interested in printing a postcard for your sales or buy one get one events, please visit Salon Pro Marketing

Four Big Time Pricing Myths

Pricing your services and/or products is an integral part of your salon/day spa generating the sales and profits you are looking for.

The question you want to ask yourself is what prices should we be charging? When you think about the answer, please keep your objective clearly in the forefront.

For sure your ultimate objective is to maximize the amount of money your business makes. It’s just that on the road to doing that you can use pricing as a strategy (there’ll be more on pricing as a strategy in a future Finkelstein Report).

However before we can even make pricing decisions it’s important to wipe your mind clean from four big pricing myths. If you hang onto these myths, you’ll be sure to dilute any advantage that a pricing strategy will bring to your salon/day spa.

Myth #1 Price is the client’s most important buying criteria. Sure price is important; however, it usually comes up around #4 in consumer shopping surveys about what’s important to them. Yes, there are people who buy based strictly on price. The question you must answer is do you want to do business with these folks?

Myth #2 You have to match or even slightly under-price your services or product in a competitive or commodity driven market. With so many different ways to differentiate your salon/day spa, I’m astounded people even think this way.

For instance, you could try:

  • Specializing in a particular niche within the beauty niche (example: hair color or laser treatments)
  • Touting your experience or credentials
  • Partnering with top of the line manufacturers
  • Limiting accessibility

Myth #3 Pricing only involves taking the cost of your service or product and marking it up by your desired profit margin. Unfortunately, too many salons/day spas don’t have a handle on their true costs so even if they wanted to do cost-plus pricing they couldn’t. For that matter, cost-plus pricing may have nothing to do with the value of your services or with the market price.

However, if you don’t know already, please find out the cost of delivering the service and figure out what gross margin you need to cover all your fixed expenses.

Myth #4 If your sales are stagnant or falling behind, just drop your price and they will increase. Remember that although people put a high value on price, they also put a high value on quality. In the service business, perception is reality, so when you lower the price you chip away at the perception of your quality.

There are ways to justify lowering prices, if you believe you can retain the clients once you have them in the door and up-sell and cross-sell them with other services. However, if you lower your prices to increase sales you could very well be accelerating your losses.

Andrew Finkelstein, President of the Beauty Resource, is a successful New York City-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps professional beauty businesses get more clients. Andrew’s E-zine The Finkelstein Report is the beauty industry’s #1 marketing resource with free articles, marketing tools, and valuable advice for salons and day spas owners. Contact Andrew at http://www.thebeautyresource.com or 212-831-2421 x202

Firing Right—Letting People Go with Dignity

Here’s a quick primer culled from executives and outplacement experts on how to fire people without bruising their egos.

  • Give warning. All performance-based firings should begin with a warning or probationary period. If you let employees know they’re on the edge, they just might turn things around. If they’ve put in years of service, it’s the least they deserve.
  • Document, document, document. Once you’ve told an employee she/he’s on probation, document every task and interaction. The better records you keep, the easier it will be to justify your actions should you find yourself defending them in legal proceedings.
  • Time it right. Fire early in the day and early in the week. The worse time to terminate an employee is the day before a weekend or holiday.
  • Prepare the paperwork. Don’t wait until after you fire an employee to deliver termination paperwork. Deliver pay, including any benefits and unused vacation, on the spot. This is not only good policy, frequently it’s the law.
  • Don’t go it alone. Have someone else with you in the room. It adds a sense of seriousness and finality to the termination conversation. It also provides a witness on your side should you end up in court.
  • Ensure privacy. Make it clear to the employee that only you and the other person (your witness) will take part in the termination meeting. Reassure the employee that nobody else will be in on what’s happening. Neglecting this will make her/him self-conscious.
  • Be brief. Say what you have to say, say it clearly and don’t say any more. Prolonging the meeting allows the employee to believe she/he is involved in a negotiation—there may be a way out. When she/ he realizes there isn’t, she/he will feel betrayed.
  • Watch your tone. Choose your words carefully and make sure you convey a tone of cordiality and sympathy. Be compassionate but firm, honest but guarded. Never say, “I know what you’re going through,” even if you do.
  • Seek feedback. Although it’s important to keep the meeting short, encourage the employee to voice her/his feelings after you’ve delivered the news. If she/he doesn’t answer immediately, count to 20 before moving on. The last thing you want is a reputation for being heartless. However, if recriminations result, take charge and cut her/him off; remember that you’re declaring the employee fired, not engaging in a dialogue.
  • Give a good send-off. Always offer words of encouragement and confidence in the employee’s future career. Stand and extend your hand to indicate the meeting has ended. Thank the employee for her/his service and don’t be surprised or hurt if the employee declines to thank you for firing her/him.

Andrew Finkelstein, President of the Beauty Resource, is a successful New York City-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps professional beauty businesses get more clients. Andrew’s E-zine The Finkelstein Report is the beauty industry’s #1 marketing resource with free articles, marketing tools, and valuable advice for salons and day spas owners. Contact Andrew at TheBeautyResource.com

How to Turn Complaints into Opportunities

The old adage says that complaints are opportunities. They certainly are; however, only if you look at them that way. 

The thing is that most salon/day spa owners don’t have a system in place for turning those lemons into lemonade.

So here’s an easy six-step rapid recovery process that when implemented, will serve you, your business, and your clients (believe me they want to do business with you—they wouldn’t be with you in the first place if they didn’t!).

  1. Apologize: Does it really matter who’s right? Ultimately the client is, even if he/she is wrong. So get on with it and acknowledge that a problem exits. Say you’re sorry and mean it.
  2. Listen and empathize: Let the client get it out—at this point, she wants “an ear” and not a lecture. Really listen, when you do, the client will feel that you care.
  3. Fix it ‘Fairly’: After you’ve listened, you’ll understand the problem. Now do what you have to do to fix it. Usually all the client wants is what she wanted in the first place, the sooner the better.
  4. Offer atonement: Even if symbolically, your rapid recovery system will earn high marks if you come from the perspective of, “I’d like to make it up to you.”
  5. Keep your promises: You’re already in hot water, so don’t fuel the fire by over-promising and under-delivering. In other words, do what you say you’ll do.
  6. Follow-up: Be it in a few days or a couple of weeks, check to make sure that things really did work out to your client’s satisfaction.

Andrew Finkelstein, President of the Beauty Resource, is a successful New York City-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps professional beauty businesses get more clients. Andrew’s E-zine The Finkelstein Report is the beauty industry’s #1 marketing resource with free articles, marketing tools, and valuable advice for salons and day spas owners. Contact Andrew at TheBeautyResource.com

Building Your Salon/Day Spa’s Service Statement

David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done,” wrote, “If it’s only in your head your dead.” So how does that sentence apply to customer service?

Your salon/day spa may already have a mission statement and/or a vision statement. An enlightened owner/manager knows employees/associates need to see both the bigger picture and feel the salon/day spa heading in that direction.

You also know the challenge of keeping the troops focused on client service and uses various tools to do just that.

A service strategy statement that describes what you are ultimately accomplishing with and for clients helps your team members understand the true purpose of the work they do.

It’s a tool that when well done can:

  • Ensure your employees are working with the same idea of “what’s really important here.”
  • Give employees a snapshot summary of the salon/spa’s mission or vision.
  • Give customer contact/service providers a point of reference for their day-to-day decision-making.
  • Help people understand the rationale for salon/day spa policies so they have confidence in resolving one time or unusual situations.
  • Give people insight into your salon/day spa’s key indicators (the things that are measured).

Why would you want to create a service statement in the first place?

  • If you don’t have a clear definition of what good service means, then the odds of your salon/day spa achieving it are about 30%.
  • If you have a general definition, then the odds are about 50-50%.
  • If you have a specific definition, clearly defined in the context of both the client and the employee, and if it is well communicated, and tied into standards and indicators, your chances of achieving good service increase to about 90%.

What should a service statement look like?

  • Clear: It should be to the point, and understandable.
  • Actionable: It should communicate ways to satisfy, impress, and retain your clients.
  • Consistent: It should support the mission and vision.
  • Helpful: It should guide your employees, showing them what to do, how do it, and why. It should not make them roll their eyes and laugh silently to themselves.

How do you create one? First by including both your clients and employees in the process and by:

  • Identifying your target customer
  • Identifying your core contribution to that customer
  • Deciding what you want to be “famous” for

Like anything else, a service strategy is a tool that is meant to be used. If it simply sits in your toolbox, it will never achieve the purpose for which you designed it.

David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done,” wrote, “If it’s only in your head your dead.” So how does that sentence apply to customer service?

Your salon/day spa may already have a mission statement and/or a vision statement. An enlightened owner/manager knows employees/associates need to see both the bigger picture and feel the salon/day spa heading in that direction.

You also know the challenge of keeping the troops focused on client service and uses various tools to do just that.

A service strategy statement that describes what you are ultimately accomplishing with and for clients helps your team members understand the true purpose of the work they do.

It’s a tool that when well done can:

  • Ensure your employees are working with the same idea of “what’s really important here.”
  • Give employees a snapshot summary of the salon/spa’s mission or vision.
  • Give customer contact/service providers a point of reference for their day-to-day decision-making.
  • Help people understand the rationale for salon/day spa policies so they have confidence in resolving one time or unusual situations.
  • Give people insight into your salon/day spa’s key indicators (the things that are measured).

Why would you want to create a service statement in the first place?

  • If you don’t have a clear definition of what good service means, then the odds of your salon/day spa achieving it are about 30%.
  • If you have a general definition, then the odds are about 50-50%.
  • If you have a specific definition, clearly defined in the context of both the client and the employee, and if it is well communicated, and tied into standards and indicators, your chances of achieving good service increase to about 90%.

What should a service statement look like?

  • Clear: It should be to the point, and understandable.
  • Actionable: It should communicate ways to satisfy, impress, and retain your clients.
  • Consistent: It should support the mission and vision.
  • Helpful: It should guide your employees, showing them what to do, how do it, and why. It should not make them roll their eyes and laugh silently to themselves.

How do you create one? First by including both your clients and employees in the process and by:

  • Identifying your target customer
  • Identifying your core contribution to that customer
  • Deciding what you want to be “famous” for

Like anything else, a service strategy is a tool that is meant to be used. If it simply sits in your toolbox, it will never achieve the purpose for which you designed it.

Andrew Finkelstein, President of the Beauty Resource, is a successful New York City-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps professional beauty businesses get more clients. Andrew’s E-zine The Finkelstein Report is the beauty industry’s #1 marketing resource with free articles, marketing tools, and valuable advice for salons and day spas owners. Contact Andrew at http://www.thebeautyresource.com or 212-831-2421 x202

A Short Menu of Profitable Direct Mail Formats

A Short Menu of Profitable Direct Mail Formats 

by Dean Rieck

One of the beauties of direct mail is that it allows you to send people just about anything you can print. Your creative options are virtually endless. And while the standard envelope package is usually considered the most effective, there are plenty of other formats you can test.

Often an alternate format will increase response. But even if your response ends up being lower, many formats let you deliver your message at a reduced cost while maintaining enough response to offset the difference and give you more net profit. Here are a few format ideas:

  • Reduce costs with a self-mailer. It offers low cost and a quick read, good for quickly recognized content. It also helps speed response because it’s not as in-depth as a full package and looks more urgent and newsy. To make a self-mailer work at peak efficiency, combine elements of a standard direct mail package and a print ad. Include a strong headline in bold type, copy in easy-to-read sections, strong visuals, clear offer, reply card, toll-free number, message or mini-letter printed near the recipient’s address, feature list, testimonials, guarantee, and other elements as needed.
  • Signal exclusivity with an invitation. To make an offer special, you can issue an invitation in the appropriate format, usually a smaller envelope and letter on high-quality paper. This works best for offers targeted to high-income prospects, professionals, and executive level positions; for events such as conferences, meetings, and presentations; or for offers that need a quality feel.
  • Add urgency with a telegram. This is a good idea that is, unfortunately, wildly overused. It can be little more than an envelope design, such as “Urgent Gram,” “Speed Gram,” or some variation. Or it might be an envelope and letter combo resembling an actual telegram printed on yellow paper with tractor-feed holes down the sides of the letter. One way to make this format work is to create your own urgent-looking envelope for fulfillment materials. This allows the envelope to get noticed and assures that the contents will be relevant and interesting instead of boilerplate.
  • Create an official look with a snap-pack. This format is often used for official notices or statements, so it gives your ad message the same feel. And because the recipient has to rip open the edge of the envelope and pull out the contents, it creates involvement. It’s good for generating inquiries or for organizations with recognizable and trusted names. It has been used with particular success in the nonprofit sector to deliver what appears to be an urgent, cheap appeal for funds.
  • Generate quick leads with a postcard. Direct sales are possible with postcards but only for simple offers, such as magazine subscriptions. They are much better for building traffic for local retail or for generating inquiries for familiar services, such as real estate or carpet cleaning. However, because response is so easy, lead quality is often low. But it’s worth testing. Just remember to telegraph your message with a clear benefit headline, strong and tangible offer, a picture of what you’re offering, lean copy, and a bold call to action.
  • Use dimensional mailings cautiously. Boxes, bags, tubes, folders, and other unusual formats are great for getting attention. But while there are plenty of examples of successful campaigns, these formats are usually misused, wasting money on a novel format when a standard format could deliver a more powerful message and net a greater response or profit. Most of the dimensional mailings I have seen are simply a way for ad agencies to jack up their fee and cover up the fact that they don’t have anything to say about a product or service.
  • When in doubt, use an envelope package. The classic direct mail package consists of an outer envelope (usually #10, 6”x9”, or 9”x12”), a letter, brochure, reply card or order form, maybe one or more inserts, and a reply envelope. The reason this format is a standard is that it has been developed, tested, and perfected over many years. And it works. Test other formats but don’t be different just to be different.
  • Test formats head-to-head. The important point in format testing is to keep the offer, copy, graphics, and all creative elements as similar as possible so that you are testing the format itself and not a new creative treatment. And always test a new format in a head-to-head mailing with the old format. Never make a change until you have proven results.

Copyright © 2003 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.

________________________________________________________________

Dean Rieck is a top-ranked freelance direct mail and direct marketing copywriter. He has been called “the best direct response strategist and copywriter” in America. Dean offers complete copywriting and design services for direct mail, B2B, print, sales lead generation, sales letters, e-mail and online marketing, and radio advertising. For more tips on improving your direct response advertising results, subscribe to Dean’s free direct marketing newsletter at http://www.DirectCreative.com.

If you are considering postcards, please visit  Salon Pro Marketing

GULF COAST OIL SPILL – HOW SALONS CAN HELP

Anyone and Everyone: salons, groomers, individuals can sign up to donate hair and fur clippins and nylons for our Oil Spill Booms. Our Excess Access program sign up is free, fast and helps us to coordinate the masses of donations.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP TO DONATE HAIR / FUR / NYLONS

Thousands of pounds of hair and nylons are coming in by UPS and FED EX from every State in the US and from Canada, Brazil, France, UK… Booms are being made all along the Gulf Coast near beaches and marshes. What a community feeling! We all get it. We shampoo because hair collects oil! More Info

OIL SPILL HAIRBOOMS AND HAIRMATS
Here we look at fibers (hair, wool, fur, feathers…). Thousands of salons mail us hair clippings, swept up off their floors, and the fibers are stuffed into booms or woven into hair mats. We all know about shampooing our oily hair, but it took Phill McCrory, a stylist from Alabama, to realize that hair was also an efficient and abundant material for collecting and containing petroleum spills.

For how you can get involved please visit Matter of Trust

Check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg9vdnOuEhk