Your Guide to Building a Sales Process and Community at Your Salon, Spa, or Wellness Business
You’ve created your salon, spa, or wellness center because you have a passion for the services and experience that you provide. You’ll be successful if you attract and retain clients who respond to what you’ve created with the same passion. They must love it enough to return and to bring their friends. Sounds easy, but unfortunately, none of this is automatic. The ultimate success of your business requires a focused effort on these touchpoints, which will help you to turn casual visitors into loyal clients.
Ready to implement a rock-solid sales process to help grow your community? Here are some tips to get you started.
Branding and vision
Sure, you have a business that helps clients look and feel better, and that’s appealing. But it’s also not unusual or special; beyond the outward appearance and identity of the business, what’s the elevator pitch you would use to describe it? How is it different from the competition? The business should have a brief mission statement that sums up what you stand for—and your staff needs to be aware of what it is. What types of experiences do you provide, and more importantly, are you communicating how a prospective client feels when they leave?
Your menu of services is the first thing clients usually want to see to help them decide if they want to visit your establishment. Much like a restaurant menu, this information should be organized by modality, making it easier for guests to find what they might be looking for. Each service that you provide should be listed and accompanied by a brief description that really emphasizes how the client will look or feel afterward. The steps that will be performed during the service are not necessary unless you’re describing a very experiential treatment.
List your treatments with the MOST expensive at the top, descending to least; this will force clients to read beyond the first line, which is what happens when you display them from least to most expensive. The list of treatments, prices, and brief descriptions should be shared consistently across all mediums (i.e., website, Facebook page, printed version).
Communicating with prospective clients
Once they’ve heard about you, either through a friend or social media channel, most clients will look you up on the internet before eventually calling to make an appointment. When they do call, it’s crucial that the first personal impression they receive is very positive. Make sure the phones are answered with a smile and in a genuine manner. For example: “Good day, thank you for calling <name of business>, this is Jamie, how can I assist you today?” or a similar line. Ensure that all staff who may answer the phone are trained to do it in this consistent manner. Remember, this phone call is the first connection in what you hope will be a long relationship. Every time that phone rings, you want the result to be a booking.
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Many clients seeking services or treatments are also interested in an overall relaxation experience or escape. When a client calls to book, be sure to mention any amenities your business has that can offer them this type of experience. A few examples are:
- A quiet lounge
- Steam room
- Wet amenities
- Pool decks
- Cafes or tea bars
Additionally, if they can expect a locker, robe, slippers, or showers—be sure to mention that as well. The key here is to paint an enticing picture of what a visit to your business would feel like.
Connecting with the prospect
Most prospects that call will have a few specific questions, but they really are just hoping to make an overall connection with your business. So, be sure to spend most of the conversation asking them questions about what they hope to get out of their experience rather than just talking at them the entire time. Engage with these prospects by asking them thoughtful questions like “Can you tell me a little bit about your skin?” or “Are you looking more for relaxation or results?”—these types of questions will help you connect with that person and will reveal their goals. This will allow you to select treatments or design an experience that’s exactly what they’re looking for. Many prospects have already read your menu and reviews, but this conversation is your chance to give them some “behind-the-scenes” knowledge on what the results of a service will be—so you and your staff should be prepared to share your own impressions of the treatments.
During the conversation, prospective clients should also be reassured about any other potential aspects of a visit; the length of services so they can plan their day, your sanitation and cleanliness standards, and even your overall hours of operation. If they are inquiring about a massage or body treatment, it’s common in the US to ask if they have a gender preference for their provider.
Booking and closing the deal
Once you’re done educating the prospect about the services and experiences you provide, it’s time to “close” the sale. “Well, it sounds like the Oxygen Facial will be the best option for you, how does Thursday look? Would you prefer morning or afternoon?”—this is an example of an assumptive close; using information from the conversation to close the deal. Remember, don’t be pushy—just put a few options out there on the plate and invite them to make the choice that works best for them.
Making the client feel at home
The initial greeting
Whenever the front door opens, all focus from your front of house staff should go to the incoming person. A friendly smile and welcome are ALWAYS the first responses that should be given. The client should feel comfortable right away—this will reassure them that your business is the “right place” for them. If you’re alone at the front desk and on the phone when someone enters, at minimum look them in the eye and nod, let them know you see them. When you’re able, welcome them verbally and share your name. You don’t need to ask them why they’re there; they will tell you! It may not necessarily be for an appointment—they could also be there to pick up a gift card, purchase some retail products, or request a tour.
Keep in mind, some guests may book their first appointment with you online, making the greeting when they first enter even more crucial.
Whether your first encounter with the guest is on the telephone or in person, it’s crucial to quickly size up their communication style and to use mirror/matching. If they’re in a hurry for specific information, be prompt and professional and give them what they are looking for. If they’re not acting urgently, and displaying a more conversational style, respond in kind. Tailoring your approach to each client builds rapport quickly, which is very valuable in growing your client list.
Check-in and check-out
At check-in, it’s crucial to confirm with the client the services they’ve booked, and it’s also appropriate to share the name of their service provider at this time. This is also the perfect opportunity to confirm that the services booked will best meet the needs of the guest and it’s your chance to suggest any add-ons or upgrades that might positively impact their visit.
When the guest returns to the desk to check out, it will make an excellent impression if you can remember who they are—they’ve just spent some time in your facility after all! Be sure to ask them thoughtful questions about their experience. Instead of asking “How was everything?”, try a more open-ended response like “What was your favorite part of your spa visit?” or “How could we make your spa visit even better next time?” This last question is especially helpful since it gets the guest thinking about their next visit to your establishment.
This is also the ideal time to ask if you can book their next visit (rather than an appointment) for them before they depart, to secure a spot in your busy schedule. Don’t forget to ask about any home care products they may need to further enhance the results of their visit, and make sure to tell them you look forward to seeing them on their next visit.
The client should now feel like they are part of your “club.” Hopefully, they have signed up for email communications, and follow you on social. You can use tools like Mindbody Marketing Suite to create regular client check-in emails and texts that help you gather feedback and build connections with your new client. Sharing promotions with customers that aren’t available to the general public is a great way to encourage this. If you have an event or workshop calendar, be sure to share that also. Follow up on homecare product purchases to ensure they are using the products correctly. These extra steps are intended to make sure you retain the client and reduce marketing expenses down the road. Clients who become regulars provide the highest revenue and lowest costs, as once they are familiar with the facility and routines, they don’t need as much customer service care.
Maintaining a vibrant and active local group of clients takes focus, but also pays off in the long run. Today’s customer wants to support businesses that in turn support the communities they serve. Whether it’s picking up trash once a month, or supporting local charities, you and your staff should be following a regular schedule of involvement in activities and interests shared by your clients.
Whether you are a salon, spa, or wellness business, following at least one tip in each of these areas will provide a foundation that helps you build a steady clientele of happy clients who recommend their friends and family and form the nucleus of your thriving personal care business.