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Tuesday, 24 May 2011 19:45

A Routine That's Habit Forming

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As a professional aesthetician, you may think your main focus is on providing the best skin care services for your clients. Yet the fact is the more often you see those clients, the better their skin care program will be. In addition to better results in a shorter time for your clients’ skin care regimen, your business will thrive with a committed and loyal client base. You will ensure a win-win situation for everyone by taking some steps to create some new routines – that are habit forming! As a skin care professional, your job is to educate your clients and create a picture for them of the possibilities that you can provide.

Lauren Gartland is the founder of Inspiring Champions, a business and coaching company offering live training seminars, coaching, and leadership services. Gartland offers the following ways to ensure your clients are booked regularly, to build your clientele, and to provide greater value to clients.

Make Pre- and Rebooking Appointments a Priority
Perhaps you don’t think regularly rebooking client appointments should be a priority in your business? You may want to do a little number crunching. Gartland shares, “You will increase your revenues 30 to 50 percent by consistently rebooking 75 percent or more of your clients. Let’s say you have 150 clients with an average service ticket of $65. That equals $9,750 in revenue. If you rebook them to come in once a month, your year-end revenue totals $117,000. If you fail to rebook your client, statistically they will come in only three to four times a year. Based on this, if they make five visits a year, your revenue will drop to $48,750. That is a loss of $68,250. You can clearly see how quickly you can increase your income by thousands of dollars by making rebooking a top priority.”
To ensure your clients rebook regularly, don’t rely on your spa or salon receptionist to make their appointments. Gartland says, “When you go to the doctor, does the receptionist tell you when to come back? No – the doctor tells you when she wants to see you again. Only you know when your clients need to see you again. This is the most valuable way to ensure that you are creating better service for your clients and getting them into your spa or salon more often.” If your clients don’t know their schedule, offer to pencil them in now and let them know they can always reschedule later. If the receptionist has to officially book their appointment, you could write out a ticket with their preferred time and let the receptionist finalize it at checkout. After you have discovered what your client’s pattern is over time, you can then offer to pre-book them for a year.
Have a pre-booking plan prepared ahead of time. This includes memorizing a pre-booking script and using it every time. Never just ask a client: “Would you like to schedule your next appointment?” The common response will be a no, followed by an excuse such as “I’ll call you,” or “I don’t know my schedule.” Avoid open ended yes or no questions, because you will usually get a no! Instead, lead the guest with open-ended questions. Say, “To achieve your skin care goals that we started working on today, I will need to see you back here in four weeks. Would you prefer the first part or the latter part of the week?” Based on the answer, give them two choices of days. If they say the latter part of the week, ask if they would prefer Thursday or Friday. Only give two options even if there are more. Next, give them two choices for the part of day. If they say Friday, ask them if they want the morning or afternoon. Complete the script by giving them a choice of available times. Don’t worry about stumbling over the script at first. Practice makes perfect and you will soon be an expert. Rehearse the script with coworkers or friends until you are confident with your style.
Besides just maintenance visits, there are many other ways to encourage your clients to see you more often. Offer treatments in series that offer cumulative results. For the face, this could include microdermabrasion, photo-rejuvenation, or chemical peels. For the body, you could offer cellulite, hair removal, or sunless tanning treatments. Gartland notes, “Always cross-sell your services, letting your clients know what else you can do for them. Listen to what is going on in their lives and look for chances to provide them additional services. How often do they tell you about special events or new opportunities?” If someone is going on a vacation, you could suggest they get a sunless tanning service, spa pedicure, or hair removal service so they look and feel their best. If they are going to a wedding or formal event, you could offer a collagen treatment, makeup application, or a back facial (for the low cut dress). Is your client going on a first date, starting a new job, attending a reunion, or celebrating an anniversary? You could suggest many treatments – your imagination is the limit! “There are always opportunities to promote your services while enhancing your clients’ results. Tell them about seasonal promotions ahead of time so you’ve planted a seed for future appointments. Of course, offering retail items is always essential to ensure that clients continue their skin care or body regimen at home in between visits,” notes Gartland.

Continually Build Your Client Base
Your business is a living thing and you need to ensure it thrives by continually working on building your clientele. You should always be marketing and prospecting for new clients. Gartland says, “Your first marketing tool is yourself. Dress like the clients you would like to have. Always ensure your image conveys what you want your business to convey. After all, you never know where you might bump into a great potential client. It could be at your doctor’s office, a restaurant, the coffee shop, or at the mall. If [your image is screaming]: ‘I love what I do and I want to serve you’ to the world, then clients will end up finding you!” When you do find good potential clients, give them your business card. Your card should be professionally printed and have a ‘wow’ factor. Have plenty on hand at all times and give them out generously. If you gave out just two cards a day, that would become 10 cards a week. Over 50 weeks, with two weeks off for vacation, that would total 500 cards a year. If only 10 percent of the people you gave cards to came in to your business, you just got 50 new clients! Increase the numbers: by giving out three cards a day that would give you 75 new clients.
Always work on networking to build your clientele. “Find local network groups to meet other business professionals and gain new clients. Join your local Welcome Wagon for new homeowners, the Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, Rotary Club, or other meetups or mixers for professionals. Enlarge your circle of acquaintances through these business associates. Unlike other professions, everyone in your network will need your services!” says Gartland. They can then help you grow your business through their contacts. Don’t forget about using your current clientele to find new clients. By inviting people in to help with your success, you give them ownership in it and they will want you to succeed. Pick out the clients from your base that you’d like to have more of and tell them so. Let them know you value their patronage. Say to them, “I’m expanding my business and I want more people like you as clients. Would you help me? How many business cards do you need?” You can also reward them by creating referral cards to award bonus points for new referrals that can be used for products or discounts on services.

Offer Clients More Value
By creating ways to be of greater service to your clients, you enhance their results while also growing your profits and business. You will not only earn more money but also increase your client loyalty and commitment. Gartland shares, “Using up-sells regularly during your client appointments is a very effective way to quickly increase your profits while also giving better results to clients. McDonald’s has to be the best example of a successful business regularly using up-sells. Back in the 1970s, McDonald’s realized that they could up-sell customers by merely asking them if they wanted to add a side of french fries to their order. McDonald’s marketers caught on to the fact that when customers are already buying, they are open to the idea of buying more.”
To understand just how much they can raise your profits, consider how McDonald’s raised theirs back in the 1970s. At that time, french fries cost 60 cents per bag, which may not seem like much. Yet one franchiser realized that fries were not being ordered by 200 customers per day at his stores. So they simply started asking customers if they wanted fries in addition to their order. You know what happened? Half of the customers said yes! One hundred more orders of fries per day equaled $60 per day and $21,840 per year. McDonald’s soon implemented the sales technique in every franchise and the rest is history. Now you see the potential profits that up-selling can bring to your business or salary. What is your salon or spa equivalent to a bag of french fries?
For an aesthetician, quick and easy up-sells include makeup application, hair removal services, eye, lip, hand, or foot treatments, many of which would range from only 10 to $30. If you increase your total service sales by only $40 a day, in a week’s time you’ve increased sales by $200. Over a 50 week period, by increasing your daily service sales by only $40 a day, you’ve increased total sales by $10,000. “To really increase your profits from up-selling, start to plan it into your day,” notes Gartland. “Arrive at work half an hour earlier and go over your schedule. Look at the openings in your book and see them as opportunities to create multiple services. If a client has a gap after their booking, could you up-sell them for an additional service? Think about each client’s likes and what would benefit their needs; then you can plan ahead to up-sell them.” Don’t worry about being turned down when offering up-sells; a ‘no’ today could turn into a ‘yes’ tomorrow. You may have simply planted a seed for a service that the client will want at another date. The whole point is to introduce the client to the possibilities that they can achieve.
It’s time to form some new professional habits! Get in the routine of regularly engaging clients with up-selling, taking opportunities to bring clients in more often, expanding your client base with active prospecting, and never letting clients leave without first pre-booking their next appointment. You will be rewarded with a thriving business and your clients will be rewarded with fantastic results.

Jenny Hogan is the Media Director for Marketing Solutions, Inc., a full-service marketing, advertising, and PR agency specializing in the professional beauty business working with manufacturers, salons, spas, medical spas, and wellness centers. A licensed massage therapist practicing in the Washington, DC area, she writes on the topics of massage, skin care, health, and wellness. 703-359-6000, www.mktgsols.com, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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