The Coaching Chronicles

Stop the January Slump With Referrals

by NAILS Magazine | November 28, 2012 | Bookmark +

We’re about halfway through our “Practice Now, Shine Later” series. So far, I have given you two techniques to help you make your clients sparkle and shine this holiday season. We introduced “Foil Nails” and “Glitter Toes.” Those are a few techniques that will help you to make some more money this season. Now, I want to get back to the business part of the season.

How many of you are super busy during the holiday season? We can’t eat, take a break, or even breathe some days, can we? Then, January and February come around and we’re twiddling our thumbs hoping a client will walk in. Let’s try to be more proactive and stop that from happening this year. Here is what I think happens. Our clients spend money a lot of money at Christmas. They over-purchase gifts and then they get their credit card bills after the holidays. They want to pay those bills off and something has got to give. It’s usually us, so they cut out what they believe are the “non-essentials” in their life to get caught up. Many clients do this even if they don’t admit it. So, what can we do to help stop this vicious cycle?

There are three smart business plans that I think will help to remedy this situation. This week we will talk about the first: referrals.

We are going to be so busy during the holidays right? So, why not take advantage it by asking for referrals. Let’s face it, running a referral campaign in January is too late. We have to strike while the iron is hot! Let’s preplan — start writing out referrals cards ahead of time and start a referral drive.

My salon offers $20 off your first visit. The person who referred you will also get $20 off of her next visit for referring a client. This creates movement. If there is no incentive, some of our clients just won’t hand our cards out. This creates what I refer to as the “the call to action.” This will help our clients to get rid of the card quickly. Make sure you write the name of your client on the back of the card, so we know who to thank and who to give the referral credit to.

Think about it, our clients are hanging out with their friends more around the holiday season and they’re going to holiday parties. Think about all of the groups your clients belong to. They have their moms group, book club, workout friends, neighbors, college friends, high school friends, etc. They are running with many kinds of people and everyone belongs to some kind of group. Most of them celebrate or at least get together during the holidays.

So arm your clients with plenty of referral cards. I don’t mean just one either. Gift each of your clients with two to three cards. Give referral cards to them every time they come in during the holiday season. Explain to them how it will benefit them too. Tell clients how they can earn $20 off of their next visit. I keep track of this and will deduct it off of their next service. (The new referral has to redeem the certificate in order for my client to receive the $20 off. They do not receive the bonus just for handing the referral out.)

If you are not comfortable with $20, you can offer $10 off any service. I have also used this and had great success with $10 off any service $25 or more or $20 off any service $50 or more. Some salons just simply offer $10 off any service and that will work too.  Do whatever you and your salon are comfortable with and always discuss it with your salon owner.

You can also tell your clients that for every referral they send you, their name will be entered into a drawing. Place a basket at your station with a few of your favorite products. Make sure it looks like a gift and that the products are visible and not in a gift bag. Clients want to see the items they have a chance to win. You could make a manicure or pedicure basket too. Pair up a gift certificate with your favorite pedicure product, etc. You could also just offer a gift certificate for a pedicure or manicure. This is another incentive to get your clients to talk about you and hand out the referral card. If you choose to use a gift certificate, have it on your station and make sure it looks like a gift.

Starting a referral campaign to drive business into January and February — one more way to help you stand out above the rest and become the BEST!

— Jill

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