February 2011

Lisa Kind - Editor

Off the Top | by Kimberly Johnson


Three R's to Retention

Building a clientele is not difficult if you commit to the day-to-day behaviors necessary. These day-to-day behaviors can be summed up with the "Three R's to Retention": rebooking, referral, and recruiting.

Let's begin with the easiest of the Three R's, Rebooking.

This is a great opportunity because it is with a guest who has already chosen to come through your doors and spend time and money with you. All we need to do is make a connection, provide sound technical ability, and offer amazing guest service.

Rebooking a guest starts in the consultation and continues throughout the service – it cannot be an afterthought. A stylist must immediately uncover the client's need and true opinion regarding their short term and long-term goals, including how often they will visit the salon.

It is important not to use the old statement: "I would like to see you again in four – six weeks." It's not the timeframe that's wrong, it works great for many precision cuts and colors, but you should be tailoring the service and the recommendation to your guest's aforementioned goals. Find the need and set the plan. The plan is a reason to rebook.

When the guest is finished with their service (no doubt looking beautiful and feeling great), they usually want to thank you with a monetary tip. This is where the second R, Referral, comes in.

You should always have three to five business cards on hand. Imagine yourself thanking the guest for the monetary gesture but instead handing them your business cards and stating, "The greatest tip you can give me is to refer everyone who pays you a compliment on how amazing you look." With care and honesty, this shows the current guest your commitment and passion to your craft. In addition, you will earn a few new guests.

Asking for a referral is likely to feel uncomfortable to a stylist. You must come up with a "talk track" (verbiage) that feels genuine and real to you. Do not get caught up in judging a co-stylist in how they approach this, just figure out how you would say it instead. This is part of building your business. You need to find a way to come up with feeling like yourself while still doing the things it takes to stay in business in this great industry.

The last of the three R's is Recruiting. Whew. It is one of the hardest because many people in the general workforce prefer to keep business separate from their personal life. However, you have chosen to be in an industry that requires you to be on your "A" game at all times. Everyone has his or her hair done somewhere. You go to a family gathering, into an office, to a party, or to a cocktail dinner and everyone there goes to someone to get their hair done. What an opportunity.

If you were in radio sales or mattress sales, you could never tap into the target customer 100 percent of the time. All you need to do is practice how to invite a person to come and see you. Having the right intent around this invitation is very important. You need to invite but not expect the potential client to take you up on the offer. Be open, casual and sincere. Get this R right and you will see the fun of merging work with pleasure.

I hope the three R's will guide you to continued success in building your business for a long-term career. Do not let a minute, hour, or day go by without thinking and talking. Use the three R's and have a great year.

Kimberly Johnson is a successful Cosmetology School owner in Portland, Oregon.  In addition, she serves as Director of Business Development, overseeing a local 12 million dollar salon spa operation with 250 employees with four locations.  To reach Kimberly email her at kimberly@avedapdx.com.



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