July 2011

Steve Sleeper

Strictly for Students| by LeAnne Velona


Strictly for Students: Finding Your Perfect Client

Editor's Note: Strictly for Students is a new column written by LeAnne Velona, director of esthetics and massage therapy education for Marinello Schools of Beauty. She is a certified licensed esthetician for over 18 years and is a licensed holistic health practitioner, of which she has held a license for the past eight years.Prior to her current role with Marinello Schools of Beauty, Velona worked as a practicing esthetician and massage therapist at a world renowned California spa and resort, where she managed and trained staff. Now the director of esthetics, massage and laser programs with Marinello Schools of Beauty she writes advanced curriculum for educators to train future professionals.

Regardless of which facet of the industry you plan on entering, building a steady client base is essential for having a lucrative career at any salon or spa.

However, it is equally important to gain and maintain the perfect "elite" client rather than finding just anybody to fill a seat. And unfortunately, it is sometimes crucial to know when to part ways with a client too – and not be afraid to do it.

Here is a three step approach which will enable you to secure top clients, retain them and keep them coming back for years.

Step 1: Identify the right client for YOU!

As students begin their careers, they often find it difficult to identify who their ideal client is. Many of us walk into our first job with preconceptions of who the perfect client should be. To avoid this pitfall, each student should take some time to research salons in their neighborhood and take a deeper look at the demographics in the surrounding areas.

Knowing the medium income, age, spending habits and gender breakdown of the region will help a budding esthetician get a better understanding of who he/she should reach out to and create a realistic database of the best possible clients. The ideal client roster isn't the same for everyone so students shouldn't be afraid to think outside the box.

Step 2: Customer Service Equals Client Retention

As the demand for beauty and grooming services grow by leaps and bounds, so does the competition and opportunity to "own" a piece of the market. While it's great to secure a new client, it is crucial to maintain existing relationships and the best way to do this is through top-notch customer service.

If your client is happy, they are more likely to stay. Good customer service is much more than just listening to a client's complaint – it is far more proactive and requires you to anticipate potential issues and address them before your clients even think about it.

This can be accomplished by looking at the landscape of your market and providing fairly priced, high quality services that focuses on the needs and wants of your clientele. Listening to your guests, understand them and guide them toward products and services that they will want and need (even if they don't know it already!). Customer service is key to any business. Customers are our business and going that extra step can keep that client coming back to you for years.

Step 3: Maintaining and Growing your Client Base

Client relationship, customer service and education are the cornerstones of maintaining and growing your client base. Work hard to build relationships with your clients by giving them ultimate customer service, answering their questions and taking the time with each and every person that is in your chair. Remember to treat the last client just as freshly as you do the first client.

Lastly – always enlarge your knowledge base. Your guests are always looking to see what is out there. Be the one that shows them new products that work, new looks that show off one of their features and new items in the market place. Keep up-to-date on the latest trends to keep it interesting for you and your guests.

Throughout my nearly 18 year career, I was lucky enough to work at world renowned day spas and resorts as a practicing esthetician and massage therapist and as a manager who trained new staff. Through my own experiences with clients and with mentoring staff, I found that each person needs to carve their own niche and find the right client base to serve his or her own personal needs.

One of the greatest aspects of the beauty and grooming industry is the boundless opportunities and flexible schedules. The ideal client base is different for everyone. I tell students to map out a career path that is best for them, find what they love and bring their own brand of excellence to it.

LeAnne Velona is Director of Esthetics and Massage Therapy Education for Marinello Schools of Beauty and a certified licensed esthetician for over 18 years. Marinello Schools have been in beauty education since 1905 on the West Coast. For more information visit www.marinello.com or call 1-800-648-3413.