May 2012

Charlene Abretske

Beyond Your Chair| Jayne Morehouse


Build a Connection with Clients

It's never been more challenging to make an impression with your clients—and especially with new clients. Why?

Because they're being bombarded with messages from beauty brands in every media—magazines, newspapers, television, texts, email, newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and on and on—all day every day.

But the good news is that it's never been easier to bypass the noise and the nonsense and build a long-term, meaningful connection with your current and future clients. Why?

Because with all of the messages, they care about very few of them and take action on even fewer. But yours can be different—without a huge financial investment—because you already have a personal relationship.

This month, The Stylist is packed with tips and how-tos about doing photo shoots, promoting your salon and yourself to the media and using social media tips and tricks to connect with people—clients, future team members, the media, even your product manufacturers and distributors.

Whether you manage a large day spa or a single chair, if you aren't using those tools and others frequently to connect with the people who contribute to your success, then you're really not in business.

So how do you get started? First and foremost, begin with a plan. Reaching out without a strategy and target market is no different than starting a cut and color without doing a consultation first. In your plan, you need to include what you want to say, how you want to say it and whom you want to say it to.

For example:

One tip: It's always easier to connect with current clients who already value you and your service than non-clients, and often the payoff—more visits, more frequent visits, more product purchases, more referrals—is bigger and faster.

Whether you choose one of the statements above or come up with your own, step two is to do that consultation. In other words, ask yourself, your team and your clients, "What does my targeted audience want and need?" and "How do they prefer to receive what we have to offer?" In addition to asking clients directly, read their blogs, Facebook posts and Pinterest boards. You could be very surprised at what you learn with just one or two hours of research.

Step three is to define what your statement means within the context of what your clients want. Use as much detail as possible and bring it to life in words and in pictures. For example, if you're targeting the high-end color client who wants the best money can buy, you bring that to life with beautiful visuals (think photo shoots), by sharing your expertise and advanced education accomplishments in color technique, artistry and product knowledge and by offering a selection of the best take-home color-care products available. These clients usually like exclusivity—think a special preview of a new product or color just for them for a limited time. Consistency is key.

Step four is to figure out how to give it to them in a way that's meaningful, fascinating and irresistible.

While this client wants value, she's more receptive to value-driven offers (complimentary deep conditioning treatment and scalp massage with a color service) as opposed to running a sale. Speak her language (via Facebook posts, newsletters, YouTube videos, personal emails, etc.) and she'll return the favor with referrals and additional purchases. Those same attributes will also attract stylists with the same philosophy who might want to join your team.

Note: It's ok to be driving out several messages simultaneously. Just make sure they don't conflict with one another and they reach the right people.

Big campaigns can be very effective, but just as powerful is one-on-one personal contact, one client at a time. Starting small—targeting 10 key clients per month—can have a big impact over the course of a year. It can be as small and as free as calling or personally emailing those 10 clients (not a group email) to share one thing that you know (because you've asked) will be meaningful for her. And remember, nothing's more powerful than a hand-written thank-you note with your business card (for referrals) to let her know you appreciate her business.

Jayne Morehouse is a columnist for Stylist Newspapers and the president of Jayne & company, a full-service brand communications agency for beauty companies and salons. Follow her on Twitter @JaynePR and @BeautyIQ and connect with her on