Nail techs are often so busy handling their existing appointments that they hardly have time to even think of savvy marketing techniques to keep those clients — and their referrals—coming back for more.

“No matter how busy salon owners are, they need to keep marketing. That’s their responsibility,” says Kate Grider-Troc of Naperville, Ill.-based 20/20 Foresight, an agency that helps salons and salon owners develop better business-building and customer service skills.

Grider-Troc recently discussed the subject of salon marketing at the Chicago Midwest Beauty Show, in a class titled “Market, Communicate, and Succeed.” Best of all, salon owners don’t necessarily need an elaborate business strategy to come up with ways to better serve guests.

All it takes is some genuine interest in your business, and of course, your clients.

What Clients Really Want

According to Grider-Troc, it’s more important to market to an existing clientele rather than try to get new clients in the door. “Existing clients are not only more likely to bring salon owners new business, but the business they’ll give them — if they work to earn it — will continue to increase their technical skills, their relationship skills, and their income,” she says.

First of all, take a good, hard look at your current marketing efforts. Are you handing out at least 10 cards a week to potential clients? Are you asking each client you service to recommend a new client? Do you know when a client has not returned in eight weeks? If you’re not doing any of the above, now is the time to start.

A good way to find out what current clients really want is by surveying them. Grider-Troc says salon owners are better off asking clients questions by phone. The reason? Typically, less than 40% of people will respond to a written questionnaire, while verbal surveys usually have a success rate near 100%, she says. Also, a verbal survey shows greater interest in a client and sends a stronger message about a salon. “Competitors are moving faster, and the race will go to those who are listening and responding the most intently,” she says.

Once the results are in, analyze them with a wide angle, as it’s important for salon owners to realize that they can’t be all things to all people. So if the majority of your clientele is made up of moms and their children, don’t try to change your policy just because one client is unhappy with the “Rids Welcome” sign on your door.

Missions and Goals

“If a salon owner wants to grow, she needs to have a mission statement,” she says. “If it doesn’t say exactly how she wants her customers to feel, it isn’t complete.” Not only that, having such a statement allows salon owners to better focus on what’s important — the client.

A mission statement should be clear, concise, and understandable. It should also state with action words the things a salon owner needs to do to keep her clients, and it should be consistent with the salon’s mission and purpose.

It’s also important to set personal goals, so long as they’re specific, yet realistic and achievable. Grider-Troc says that career goals require a game plan and persistence. Each day, ask yourself if you’re doing what it takes to achieve your goals, and keep in mind that the purpose of a goal is to reduce, not increase, frustration. That means not taking on so much work if it doesn’t give you sufficient time to relax.

In the end, it all comes down to offering the best service possible. And in today’s world, that’s a whole different scenario than what salons would have offered in the past. “Service isn’t service anymore—it’s an experience. Just look at Rainforest Cafe and Dave and Buster’s,” she says of the two entertainment venues that mix food with fun.

And of course, it’s important to always maintain a fresh outlook toward your job. As Grider-Troc puts it: “Always keep the same passion you had when you first entered the industry and were going to school.”

Dialed In

Kate Grider-Troc of 20/20 Foresight says the following are basic questions that should be include in any phone survey to gauge customer satisfaction. As you start to gather information, adjust or add questions to tailor the information you’re looking for.

  • What was the primary reason you visited our salon?
  • What is the main reason you chose to use our salon instead of another in the area?
  • What did you like the best about your visit to our salon?
  • Were you served on tine, per your scheduled appointment?
  • Please tell me what you thought of your experience in our reception area.
  • Please tell me how you felt about our overall salon atmosphere.
  • Do you feel that your wants and needs were fulfilled?
  • What concerns did you have when you visited our salon?
  • How were your concerns addressed?
  • What is most important to your when you visit our salon?
  • What can we do to improve our communication with you?
  • What other services would you like us to offer?
  • What else can we do to better serve you and improve your experience with us?

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