May 2011

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Are You Doing the Same Thing Expecting Different Results?

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This definition would be particularly appropriate when it pertains to the insanity of how we deal with today's business environment. There are those who are still following old scripts, yet are expecting a positive outcome in today's economy.

However, there are entrepreneurs who are looking at the tremendous possibilities this new business environment has to offer, and are growing their businesses along with their profit margins.

The major difference between these two mindsets, is one is looking at the past and the other is consciously creating a future.

One, being reactive, is allowing the current dynamic to dictate the outcome and hope for the best, while the other, being proactive, is adapting to the new reality and embracing the changes as new opportunities.

The reactive individuals are producing fewer positive outcomes while expending more effort. The proactive individuals are creating new models that meet the needs and desires of their guests. Consequently, the proactive individuals are gaining ground with less effort because they planned their actions with measurable and achievable results in mind.

Examples of the proactive versus reactive models abound in the professional salon industry. When the economy started its downward spiral, the reactive model began discounting services and products, hoping to entice guests to come to the salon more often, but marketing the discounts required extra resources. With service prices reduced and less profit made, it became critical to produce higher volume just to maintain the status quo.

The service providers ended up either working harder for the same wages or making less if the volume was not there to cover the discounted service costs. Sadly, although our profession is recession-resistant by nature, reducing the value of services and products was not the way to achieve growth; it mainly served to undermine the value of their brand.

In the proactive business models, several new strategies are not only producing busier salons, but are also creating a broader new client base. These models did not begin by saying, "Clients are not spending the way the used to, and they are not coming in as often." The reality is that client service patterns have been declining for the last ten years. It is necessary to deal with these patterns and reverse the trend.

Where the average client used to come in every five to seven weeks, the average is now eight to ten weeks. This means you need twice the number of existing and new requests to maintain the same outcome. The proactive model uses pre-booking the next appointments to lessen the time between appointments and insure the guest a reservation at a time they choose.

They also use confirmation calls to remind the client of their pre-reserved appointment. Some salons reward pre-booking clients with add-ons or discounts on services. By reducing the time elapsed between appointments, the amount of visits can be increased per guest by up to six per year. This shifts the focus from solely relying on new clients to maintain growth, to better servicing existing clients to maintain their loyalty.

Another strategy is to increase the number of service offerings to clients. In the case of the color client that is stretching the time between colorings, some salons are offering express touch ups at a reduced cost. This can be offered in addition to another service, reduces the use of home coloring and keeps the color client in the professional salon.

One of the major esthetic skincare lines has moved facial services from the treatment room to the styling chair by offering facial zone mapping and quick service zone treatments at $25 per service. This business model has a 50 percent service to home product sales ratio. Make sure your cosmetology license includes performing skincare services, as this service makes good use of your down time and creates new revenue for both the professional and the business.

All of the above strategies and service offerings can be utilized to help bring a greater overall perceived value to both existing clientele and potential new customers. There are numerous ways creative thinkers and industry leaders use their knowledge of what motivates their clients to not only meet their demands, but exceed their expectations as well.

Utilizing these strategies assures not only a strong and long lasting relationship between the clients and service providers, but also continual growth of the business.

Jerry Tyler's column Blue Highways is his "Road Less Traveled" perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Industry Relations for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.