April 2011

Lisa Kind - Editor

The Mane Objective | by Marco Pelusi


"Offline" Social Networking Strategy as Important as Online

There is no doubt that Facebooking, Twittering, etc., are a necessity these days.

Let's face it, online social networking can create virtual opportunity like never before… but it is important to not neglect the basics.

Did you know that one satisfied client could eventually multiply into five satisfied clients? Are you anxious to be busier; do you want to grow a bigger client base?

Old school, personalized relationship building is still an essential strategy to every salon or spa business-building plan.

Start by working with who you know. That is your current client base, of course. Develop relationships with them; talk with them. In addition, ask for referrals. Do not assume that they know you are looking for referrals, so ask them.

Also, let clients know that you are adding more days to your schedule, if this is the case. Tell them you will be extending your hours and devoting more time to your career. Speak up. Your clients may not think that you want or need more business, so, you have to ask.

Always provide a small stack of your business cards to clients for friends, family, coworkers, etc. Perhaps give your client a discount or a free hair product every time they refer a new client.

If you do not have any clients at all, work on every single relationship you already have in your life. Think about whom you know, and then tell everyone in your network that you are available for hair services. Potential clients could be the clerk at the dry cleaners, the waiter at the neighborhood restaurant, the guy at the gas station, and so on…

Another key to boosting your business through live, "offline" social networking is to build strong bonds with local concierges at area hotels. A strategy to attracting a constant flow of new business is to develop close relationships with these folks and their managers.

The best way to start is simply to offer the local concierge or hotel manager a complimentary hair service… both to foster a new relationship, and to allow them to experience your salon. Each concierge is a live mouthpiece… so, if you can win over the concierge with your professionalism and talents, they will most assuredly speak highly of you.

In addition, every guest who encounters the concierge will hopefully like their hairstyle, and quite possibly request a hair service. Ultimately, you may potentially receive numerous referrals from out of town guests. Again, open up… talk it up. Ask.

Every single new client deserves an amazing, memorable, personalized consultation. Do not treat it cavalierly or casually. Roll out the red carpet. This is the beginning of a potentially long-term relationship. You are essentially "courting" the new client in a professional manner.

Your client base can be cultivated on your ability to create relationships and then networking through those relationships. Listen carefully to each client. Try to deliver on what he or she wants, working within the parameters of what is possible within the limitations of his or her hair, while always blending trend into the finished product.

Do not forget to book your client's next appointment while they are still in your presence. Make it special; i.e., "I just want you to be taken care of, and I will be glad to see you again… how about Friday, etc…" Fill your book in advance, even if a client or two does end up having to reschedule. Do not forget to confirm your appointments with a courtesy call a few days ahead of time. Your time is very valuable, and when you believe that and stand on that… it will become and stay true.

Make sure to go out of your way to please your clients and fluctuate with their needs and wants. Happy clients will return again and again, and the ones who feel that you can offer them something different will return and refer you. This is how you will know you have created a successful relationship, and can ask for referrals through live relationship networking.

Did you know that most clients leave their hairdressers because they felt the hairdresser could not offer them a change in their look? I always say to my hairdressers that it is a luxury when a client sits in my chair and tells me they want something completely different from the last service.

The real problem is when the client does not return or does not give you another chance to make a change. As a general rule of thumb, if you can "win" the client over by the third visit, you have most likely created a marvelous relationship from which you can network.

Another great way to build offline social networking is through, unbelievably, haircolor. With a beautiful color job, your client does not even need to promote you. All someone has to do is look at your client's haircolor -- it will sell itself, and you. Your client is a walking billboard advertising your services to potential referrals. One color client will lead to another.

In short, personalized, offline relationship building is still the backbone of every salon or spa business-building plan. Relationships built on professionalism and trust are the strongest key to the success of any business. This is especially true in the beauty business, where clients desire and demand a personal connection.

With established, client-based relationships come open doors to networking and strong referrals… just like a live version of Facebook. This is truly what it is all about -- instilling confidence in others to recommend your services -- friends of friends, business neighbors, hotel guests, or just about anyone -- to create a constant flow of business in your chair.

Marco Pelusi is globally recognized as a haircolor trainer and platform artist. Marco Pelusi Hair Studio, Inc. was named Best Hair Color in Los Angeles 2009 by KTTV Fox11’s “myfoxla Hot List” competition. Pelusi created the Marco Collagen Color Guard HairCare System, the collagen system developed for color and chemically treated hair. For more information, visit www.marcopelusi.com.



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