Of all the dynamics essential for running a successful business, the most important is growing a clientele (regular, money-in-the-bank clients.)

For me this is the fun part of the business, it’s like collecting friends on Facebook or having lots of people on your birthday list. Each new client you add to your clientele is a celebration to the success of your business.

However, in the real world, getting clients and keeping clients are two different things. There are four stages to growing a clientele.

Attracting clients – getting new clients is not as difficult as it sounds. Promotional activity, social media, good signage, networking and referrals provide a great source of attracting clients to your spa or salon. In this four-stage-process it is vital to note how you got this client into the spa or salon, what we call ‘client source’. Good software will ask you the source of new clients and this information will show you from where you are getting new clients. With My Salon Software the system automatically recognises a client’s cell number so that, working on the principle that you can’t be be a first time client twice, when she returns the client status changes the status to ‘regular’.

Getting clients to come back to the salon – the most obvious way is to give them a reason to want to. Treat first time clients as the start of a long journey you would like to have with them. Always plant a seed called ‘next’ – what is the next thing you would like to do for them, when is the next time you would like to see them in the spa or salon, what is the next step to improving their maintenance programme at home. Or simply offering first time cut & blow clients a second blow dry ‘on the house’ if they come in within the next week for you to see how she is enjoying her hair.

Growing clients – it’s no secret, the only way to grow turnover is to get more clients, get existing clients to buy more of what you have to offer (upselling), or keep putting your prices up. We have looked at ways to get clients into the spa or salon and to just keep putting your prices up to generate turnover is suicide. So it makes sense that we focus on growing clients. The operative word for this is consultation. Consultation sounds like something you do (a noun) however to be really effective it needs to be a way of doing things (a verb) during which you take your client on a journey of discovery to see what is going to be the ‘next’ service or product the client will buy.  Discover what problems, needs or desires your client has and to then make a professional recommendation to satisfy that problem, need or desire. It might be colour fade or hair loss or just generally bad hair condition. Once you have clients buying all areas of your offering the average spend of each client goes up and clients become more loyal to your spa or salon. My Salon Software allows you assign clients to groups and to see the number of clients growing in each group.

Losing clients – getting and growing clients is one thing but holding on the them year after year can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know how many you are losing. To address the problem client you need to understand the problem.

Unfortunately clients die or move to another area or country and we can’t do much about that. However, more that 75% of clients change spas or salons because they no longer feel they are getting the service they expect or feel your services are simply not worth what you’re charging.

There are two ways to guage the number of clients you lose over a given period of time.  Firstly, on My Salon Software the system can show you a breakdown of how many clients came to the spa or salon broken down by source, by month. So, if you had 100 clients in month one and got 5 new first-time clients a month and kept all 100 of your origianl clients you should see 115 clients coming in in month 4. This estimation is more accurate the longer the period of time you monitor. If the 15 first-time client are included in month 4 then you are losing existing clients.

The other is to generate a report of your top spending clients.  This report sorts your clients by spend starting from highest spender to lowest. The value in this report is that it shows you the date of clients’ last visit. So, if you see that some of your top spenders haven’t been to the spa or salon for 30, 60, 90 days etc you have the opportunity to follow up with them.

If there are take-aways from this blog they are:

  1. Clients go where they’re invited, stay where they’re wanted and grow where they’re consulted.
  2. Always treat clients as though they were first-time clients.
  3. Remember clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.