Posts from the ‘salon professional’ 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

Is Your Curly Hair out of Control with All This Heat? Shiva Flat Iron Gives Your Smooth Straight Hair

Features

  • Titanium Plates create the smoothest surface with less friction & drag on hair strands while the hair is hot and fragile.
  • Floating Plates help to have uniform pressure and consistent result in straightening each hair section.
  • Maximum Temperature is 450°F or 230°C with LED digital adjustment. Temperature can be switched from °C to °F.
  • Maximum Temperature Variation from set temperature is under 2%.
  • Nano-Silver helps to kill virus, germ, while you are using on different clients, or while it is coming in contact with unsanitary surfaces.
  • Negative Ions break up water molecules to help penetrate deeper into hair follicles and help hair to be shinier and healthier instantly.
  • Ceramic Heater creates negative ions, and heats up very fast, and holds constant temperature much better than other materials.
  • Instant Heat Recovery, SHIVA Flat Iron is engineered such that from near the scalp all the way to the end of long & dense tresses, there is no drop in temperature.
  • Automatic Cut off Switch (Advanced Feature) by microprocessors to prevent overheating.
  • Non-use Rest State, when the flat irons are not used automatically shuts off; shut off time can be adjusted from 20 to 120 minutes.
  • Safety Plug very important feature for consumers and professional, any short in Shiva Flat Iron caused by water, or any conductive liquid will automatically trip the safety plug circuit breaker.
  • Ergonomically Designed to ease stress and strain on hand, wrist, fingers and tendons.
  • Suitable for any Hair from coarsest to finest, from chemically processed to virgin, from short to long hair. All you need is one flat iron.

For More information on the Shiva Flat iron please visit  www.shivalab.com

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

7 stupid ways to screw up your direct mail

Screw up Direct MailA famous chess player once revealed to me how he wins so many games, often against far more experienced players. I had expected some arcane theory or secret formula. However, what he said was this: “I try to avoid making mistakes.”

I’ve never forgotten that bit of wisdom. In fact, I routinely give similar advice to my direct mail clients. Yes, I have all kinds of deep and well-thought-out ideas about creating effective direct mail, but the first thing I tell them is this: “Avoid mistakes before seeking brilliance.”

What sort of mistakes? After working with over 250 clients in the U.S. and abroad, I’ve seen lots of smart people making lots of stupid mistakes. But there are a few particularly stupid things I see again and again, each guaranteed to screw up your direct mail big time.

Stupid Thing #1 — Allow a trigger-happy “general” agency within killing range of your promotion.

One of the world’s largest chemical companies sent me a self-mailer to review. They were using it to generate inquiries for a special program here in the U.S., but it hadn’t produced the sort of response they wanted.

They didn’t have to tell me a general agency had created it. I could tell by looking at it. The copy was cutesy, full of pun-heavy, meaningless headlines. The design was garish, with wild colors and hard-to-read type styles. The offer was hidden. The response elements were buried. The central message was disjointed and unclear.

My review consisted of two words: “It stinks.”

My solution consisted of three words: “Do it again.”

They said they could design the piece themselves if I gave them new copy and some very specific design direction, so that’s what I did. But when I got samples a couple months later, I was shocked. The copy had been hacked to death. The design had reverted to its original hideousness.

The reason? They showed it to some people at their New York agency. The creative team took a fit and mercilessly sacrificed the newly born self-mailer on the altar of creative irrelevance. The result? More lousy results.

I have nothing against general agencies, but most of them simply can’t do effective direct advertising. (Most can’t do good brand advertising, either. But that’s another article.) If you’re serious about selling products, generating leads, or raising funds directly, keep a safe distance between your direct mail piece and most general agencies. Say, a half mile or so.

Stupid Thing #2 — Have the artist design the piece first, and the writer fill in the blanks later.

I’ve been in this situation more times than I care to admit. And the result is always bad. It’s usually an agency. And it’s usually right after they’ve won a client’s business with the aid of a few funky design mockups.

Trouble is, when clients are sold that way, they want to see a final product that looks like the original pitch. The format is set  and the layout is created before any thought is given to the actual message.

Like the time an agency sent me a mockup of a three-dimensional mailing to announce a trade show. The copy areas were indicated by neat little gray boxes here and there in the design. My job: fill in the blanks.

But, I asked, what about a response form? What about a letter? What about … no, just fill in the blanks, thank you.

I love designers. I work with them all the time. But with all due respect, designers should never, ever lead the creation of a direct mail sales message. Images entice, impress, demonstrate, dramatize, tease, assure, amuse, and suggest, but they don’t sell. Words sell. And words come from the writer.

Stupid Thing #3 — Plaster a clever teaser on every envelope you mail.

A teaser is a technique, not a requirement. But some people seem to experience physical pain at the idea of mailing a plain envelope.
A financial services firm asked me to write a lead generation package. I delivered it, and my contact called me to say some of my copy had been lost.

Me: Lost?

Client: Yes, there is no teaser copy for the envelope.

Me: Oh, well I didn’t write any.

Client: Didn’t write any? (Long silence.) Well the envelope can’t go out like that. What would the board of directors say?

Me: Are you mailing it to the board of directors?

Client: No, but they want a professional-looking package.

Me: Really? I would think they want a package that gets the best response possible. And in this case, I think that means using a plain envelope.

Client: (Another long silence.) Okay, well, our designer has some ideas for teaser copy, so we’ll come up with something.

The decision about whether to use a teaser depends on what you are selling and your relationship with your prospects. And it depends on whether you want your ad to look like an ad. Sometimes it should. Often it shouldn’t.

My rule on this is simple: When in doubt, leave it out.

Stupid Thing #4 — Spending 2 weeks on the flyer and 2 hours on the letter.

I know. Brochures are sexy. Letters aren’t. But the old saying is as true as it ever was: “The letter sells. The brochure tells.” So if you spend all your time on the tell, you just aren’t going to sell.

A newsletter publisher sent me a sample of a direct mail package that wasn’t working like they thought it should. I could see one big problem right away. The letter was a four-paragraph snoozer — little more than “Enclosed you will find, yadda yadda.” The company president said his secretary wrote it.

Sigh.

I could go on and on about the importance of letters, but here’s the bottom line. If it’s in an envelope, it needs a letter. And if you enclose a letter, it should sell. That’s where you make the personal connection. That’s where you make your pitch. That’s where you close the deal.

A package can work without a brochure, but it will seldom work without a good letter. It’s the most important part of every direct mail package, and you should allot your time accordingly.

Stupid Thing #5 — Create a slow-reveal “Burma Shave” brochure.

Remember those Burma Shave signs along the highway? (If you do, you’ve just revealed your age.) They would present a rhymed message, with each line on a different sign, so as you drove past, the message was slowly revealed, saving the product name for the end.

Cute. But a bad technique for direct mail brochures. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about. A few words of copy or a clever graphic on each panel. The reader has to open the brochure — reading in exactly the right order from panel to panel — to figure out the message.

Early in my career, I worked with an agency that insisted every brochure have a “set up” on the cover and a “payoff” inside. It was like writing jokes instead of brochures. Every time I delivered clear, straightforward copy that started selling right on the cover, it was rewritten to set up, then pay off.

Burma Shave signs had a simple purpose: to fix the Burma Shave name in the minds of buyers. However, your brochure has a much more difficult and immediate task: to support the sales message in the letter with explanations, details, and proofs. People look to it not for entertainment but for information.

So if you have something to say, say it. Start saying it right on the cover. And make sure your message is clear no matter how the reader skips around from panel to panel.

Stupid Thing #6 — Play hide and seek with the order form, guarantee, and testimonials.

A software company had tested a half dozen versions of the same mailer. All of them had performed poorly. When I got the samples, I could see why. The order form was hidden on the last panel of the brochure. The guarantee — one of the strongest I’ve ever seen — appeared in only one place in the middle of some text. And the testimonials were merely filler for a few open areas in the design.

But an order form is not a piece of extra paper. A guarantee is not a necessary evil to jam into the copy. Testimonials are not a design element. These are each part of the skeleton of your direct mail message. Without that skeleton, the body of your package collapses into a helpless mass of paper.

Whenever possible, make your order form a separate piece that falls right into your prospect’s lap. Highlight your guarantee on every piece to assure your prospect of your integrity. And group your testimonials so they make a stronger impression.

Stupid Thing #7 — Guess, guess, guess instead of test, test, test.

This is probably the stupidest thing of all. And I run into it all the time. Despite the image our industry has for being a bunch of number-happy bean counters, a frighteningly large percentage of businesses don’t test. Or don’t test properly.

One guy wanted me to help him sell a software product. He was using a self-mailer, but I thought he needed an envelope package. He said he had tested envelope packages and firmly stated that they don’t work.

But after asking some very specific questions, I found out he had done one mailing. With a new offer. To an untried list. During a bad time of the year. And didn’t mail it against his control. In other words, he did a lousy mailing, got lousy results, and concluded that envelope packages are lousy.

And you would be amazed at the businesses I talk to that don’t test at all — respected, household names you probably think are testing their socks off. Some of the worst offenders are big companies that have direct mail programs, but don’t rely on them for their success. And (egad) you’re probably borrowing techniques from these people!

I don’t care how smart you are or how well you know your market or product. Until you run a properly designed test, you don’t know jack. And even then, you should test again just to be sure.

Is testing expensive? Let me put it this way: it’s less expensive than rolling out a mailing that is destined to under perform or flop.

Avoiding stupid mistakes won’t guarantee success. But like the chess player, you will reduce your losses and thereby increase your wins.

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 www.DirectCreative.com.

For your postcard design and printing needs, please visit Salon Pro Marketing