Don’t forget the fundamentals of making a good first impression on new clients. These simple rules from NSI’s Jessie Burkhardt can be found in the company’s downloadable e-book “Building Your Clientele in 6-9 Months: A 360° Guide to Generating Income.”

Keep a clean house: The first thing new clients will notice is the physical appearance of the salon, from curb appeal and signage to interior design. More important than trendy paint colors or uber-modern furniture is cleanliness. Dust is entirely unacceptable in a salon. All glass and mirrors should be spot-free and nail stations should be cleaned and reorganized between services. A more thorough cleaning is necessary on a semi-regular basis. If you can’t keep up with it on your own, consider hiring a cleaning service.

Be on time: If a client is running behind, be creative in finding ways to shorten the service so it doesn’t inconvenience your next client. If you don’t work alone, perhaps someone else can help you finish a service while you start with the next client. You may want to institute a “late” policy so clients understand that if they are so many minutes late, they may need to reschedule or change their service. It is best to never refuse a service if you can find another way around it. You may have to switch her service to something that takes less time. Late clients will appreciate your efforts and not feel they are being punished.

Consider offering light refreshments: You can offer light refreshments to your clients for very little money. We’re not talking about champagne and caviar. Bottled water and cookies are perfectly fine. Just keep food and water away from the nail product area to adhere to local health laws. If you do wish to serve alcohol, check with your attorney or insurance agent first to ensure that any permits are acquired.

Adopt the three-foot rule: Never let your client get more than three feet from your side. There is nothing worse than a client who is unfamiliar with the layout of the salon. Point out the restrooms, so she sees how to get there from the front door and from the work area you are using.

Make payments easy: Accept cash, checks, and credit cards. If accepting checks makes you queasy, consider getting a check system to validate checks. More payment options means more income for your salon or spa.

Write thank you notes: With e-mail and texts becoming the most common forms of communication these days, a handwritten thank you note can really impress someone. Don’t stress over the wording; a simple “Thank you for visiting the salon. I loved having you and I hope you enjoyed your service. Please come back and see us soon!” will do.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.