Making It Tough to Say No, Part 2

Picking up from my last post, I’d like to discuss some ways you can respond if your client initially says no to your offer to pre-book.


So after the appointment, I’ve walked my client to the front desk. At the front desk, I start by saying “I recommend four weeks for your next pedicure, that brings us to Monday, November 7th. I have four or six o’clock available that evening.” Here comes the excuse: “I have to check my calendar, then call you.” Most of us feel deflated and defeated and say OK.  We just got up the courage to ask for a pre-book and now they shot us down. This rejection alone can debilitate a nail tech and make her never want to suggest a pre-book ever again. I used to feel that way a lot early on in my career. Then I got tired of feeling that way and feeling let down. I decided to do something about it. So I thought I need to change my approach and have something to say back to them during the weird silence after they said no.


I decided go back in for another try with a prepared response. I came back with: “Let’s reserve your next appointment time. When you get home and check your calendar, if this appointment time doesn’t work, call me to reschedule, I’m flexible.” I made no big deal out of it and put it back on me by saying, “I’m flexible.” Here’s what they heard: “I’ll accommodate you.” I also tell them that the front desk will call two days before their appointment to remind them. Most clients take me up on the pre-book here if they said no to my first offer. Why? Because, I made it feel and sound like no pressure. I made it simple and let them know I want to get them on the calendar. I also used the word “reserve,” which is like making a reservation. Ever notice that reservations are more fun than appointments? We make fun reservations for vacations and dinner. We make appointments for doctors and dentists — not usually the fun stuff in life.


If they still say no, I write on the back of my business card my suggestion for their next appointment. I don’t just write, “Next pedicure in four weeks.” Why? Because who knows when they will find that card in the bottomless bag they carry called a purse? Who knows when they’ll be cleaning out their purse at their kids sporting event and find it?


So I write, “Next pedicure the week of November 7th.” By writing a specific week, it gives them a timeline. I mention, “When you get home, check your calendar and call me back to set up your next appointment. Let me know how I can accommodate you.” Otherwise, by the time they find the card, when the heck is four weeks from now? When did they put that card in their purse? When was that last pedicure?


By using this method, I have tried three times to get my client to pre-book without pressure. I didn’t just say “OK” when they said, “I have to check my calendar, then call you.” I tried a second and then a third time. I didn’t say things like “I’m getting busy.” You don’t have to pressure them into pre-booking, it’s all in the script. The script delivered with a carefree attitude really sells it through.


Now, I understand that this will not work on every client. Some clients really need to check their calendar or run out the door after an appointment. Some will use that excuse because it’s easier to say “I have to check my calendar, then call you” than “I can’t afford a next appointment” or “I can’t commit to an appointment time.” Not everyone will pre-book, but at least I gave it my best and tried three times.


Pre-booking like any other business skill takes time, practice, and patience. How will you get better at it if you don’t start making the pre-book suggestion? If you like what I said, use it and start pre-booking more effectively. If you want to change it and make it your own, do so. Do and say whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. Personalize it and watch your pre-book percentage, your clientele, and your money grow.


Pre-booking scripts — one more way to make you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!


— Jill

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