Creating Elite Clients

Choose Your Own Clients, While Turning Existing Clients Into Your Ideal

by Jenny Hogan

You CAN create your own elite client base. Instead of settling for any warm body that comes into your salon or day spa, take the initiative to find and create your own elite and desirable client base.

Lauren Gartland, the founder of Inspiring Champions, relays the story "Acres of Diamonds" to show just how important it is to recognize potential.

Acres of Diamonds is the tale of a man who bought a house on land that was reputedly full of diamonds. He went out every day digging for diamonds, yet he never found any and eventually gave up and sold the house. Years later, he returned and was shocked to find a huge mansion where his farmhouse once stood.

The new owner showed the man an ugly rock – just like many rocks the man used to find all over the property. The owner rubbed the outer layer of the rock until a brilliant diamond underneath showed. The man realized he had in fact owned acres of diamonds, yet never recognized what they really were.

"Think of yourself as a treasure hunter and your clients as diamonds. If you're going to go treasure hunting for diamonds, you'd better know what they look like," laughs Gartland.

She advises creating a salon vision statement so that you will be able to recognize your elite clients when you see them. "Put yourself in a position to receive something," advised Gartland. "Remember that asking questions is the starting point of receiving. Write down in vivid detail what you would like your ideal client to be like, what services they receive and what products they use. Create a description of your ideal client, so that you will actually recognize them when you meet them."

To create your vision statement, consider your current favorite clients. You know who they are. They will all share some attributes, such as visiting you regularly and being open to receive a variety of haircare services, while consistently purchasing homecare products.

Perhaps your elite client is an executive who is always punctual, rebooks before leaving, receives chemical services regularly and is committed to the homecare regimen you have recommended to her. On the other hand, perhaps they are is creative, edgy and fashion forward; always ready to try the newest hairstyle and haircolor trends.

Write down their characteristics until you have a very clear vision. Once you clearly define who your elite clients are, you will start recognizing them all over town. Make sure that when you do, you have your business cards on hand and are proactive about approaching them, and that you always look polished and professional.

Now, select a few of your best regular clients who are already considered your elite guests. They will become part of your advocacy group. Choose your most enthusiastic clients, business people in your neighborhood, friends or family who are your strong advocates.

Invite people in to help with your success. Tell them you value their input and ask if they have ideas on how to grow your business. Let them know you appreciate them. Let them know you are expanding your business and want more clients like them. Provide them with client referral cards to share with their friends and co-workers.

You can then reward these regular clients with bonus points, free products or discounted services for sending you new referrals. Your advocates should know your "defining statement," which is an exciting definition that vividly describes what you do. This way, your advocates can create enthusiasm when they tell people they know about your services.

Join a local business-networking group. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce and visit at least three to five groups before committing your time to one or two. These groups are an inexpensive and effective way to get new clients, as the members will work for free on your behalf. You will also have the opportunity to make new friendships and meet business people outside of your industry who will provide support and inspiration to help you grow your business.

Finally, consider your existing clients who have the potential to become elite. Try to discover which services and products will help your clients to fulfill their full potential. Ask meaningful questions and engage your clients' imaginations to find the right answers.

Connect with your clients on an emotional level to enable them to see what is truly possible for their beauty transformation. For example, have them list three words that best describe what they want their hair to say about their personality. An important part of your role during the consultation is to help your clients see the possibilities for their hair and their total image

By educating your existing clients and showing them the possibilities you can provide for their looks and style, you will start to create your own elite clients. Then, by consistently searching out the right new people in your everyday routine, you will continue to fill your business with elite clients. Remember that you already own acres of diamonds. You just need to find them and polish them.

Inspiring Champions is a business and coaching company. For information, call 800-496-9305 or visit --www.InspiringChampions.com. Jenny Hogan is the Media Director at Marketing Solutions, Inc., a marketing, advertising and PR agency specializing in the professional beauty business. Contact 703-359-6000, visit www.MktgSols.com or email: MktgSols@MktgSols.com.

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