Pre-Booking: Which Words Work Best?

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We're still on the powerful and very important subject of pre-booking. Why pre-book? Why tell your client when they need to come back? Won't they just come back when they need to on their own? I feel stupid and don't know how to make the pre-book offering. What if they turn me down when I ask them to pre-book? Does any of this sound familiar?


When consulting salons for Summit Salon Consulting Group, I run into techs with these same questions. Pre-booking is always a challenge for veteran and new nail technicians. They both feel that it's hard to make the pre-book offering. They always ask me "Why is pre-booking so important?" Pre-booking is important; it's customer service and it’s one of the best ways to guarantee your salary. It also lets your clients know when they have to come back for maintenance on their nail service. It's professional advice and if you're not pre-booking, it could be costing you thousands of dollars!


Why pre-book? Pre-booking is the most effective way to let your clients know WHY they need to come back. Many nail techs ask the simple question, "Do you want to book your next appointment?" With this basic offering, you will get some clients to pre-book just by simply asking this question. Will it increase your pre-book rate? You bet it will — if you've never made a pre-book offering and now you're starting to ask. This will help, but it is not the most effective. I also know that everyone has to start somewhere and if this gets the ball rolling, go for it! It's better to ask this question, then to not ask at all.


I start my pre-book offering by giving my client the reasons she needs to return for maintenance. I tell her what can go wrong and what to expect. Example: "I recommend four weeks for your next pedicure. In four weeks your polish will be grown out, your nails will need to be trimmed, the calluses will have returned, along with the dead layer of skin that will need to be exfoliated." I give them examples and visuals that help them to understand why they need to return.


I also find that asking an open-ended question like, "Do you want to book your next appointment?" leaves room for the client to say no and turn me down. You have to invest time into looking at your book prior to the pre-book offering or when they are relaxing with the additional service. I look at my books every day and look ahead two weeks and four weeks. This way, I always know the dates two and four weeks from now. This prevents me from running back and forth to the computer. So when I make the pre-book offering I can say, "I recommend four weeks for your next pedicure. That brings us to the week of October 17th. Which day works best for you?” The client is more likely to offer you a particular day than she is to say no.


If she is getting her pedicure on a Tuesday, you may offer two appointment times four weeks from now. "Four weeks from now brings us to Tuesday, October 18th, I have a 4 o’clock or a 6 o’clock available. Notice how I gave the client a choice, not a question that can be answered with a yes or no. If your books are wide open, don't let them know that by responding, "You can have anytime you want, I'm open." Instead offer two times near the time they were in today. If they came in after work, offer them times that will be convenient for them after work. Just like offering products, the art of pre-booking will take time to figure out your verbiage.


Tune in next week for more on pre-booking — one more way to help you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!


— Jill

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