The Rules of Retention
A new client, weather a walk-in or a referral, is a nugget of gold.
How do you craft this nugget into a thing of beauty?
How do you hold onto this 1st timer as a long-term jewel in your collection?
Below are my top five rules of client retention for long term clientele building and financial success.
1. Find and leverage your Unique Selling proposition (USP) - Everyone can cut hair. At times it feels like everyone DOES cut hair. How can you stand out from the crowd? What makes your haircut and haircut experience truly unique? What will a client say about you to a friend after they leave? What will they remember? What will stand out? If all you have to offer is the exact same thing that every other hair cutter has to offer you are over before you begin. If you have nothing unique to offer you had better find some way to stand out. Commodity haircuts are cheap and plentiful. You will never build a decent business offering a commodity. Get a copy of the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin. Read it. Ten read it again. Then get busy being unique.
2. Suggest and recommend take-home hair care product. - Yes. Take home is about client retention. It is not really about anything else. Product buyers like their hair more. People who like their hair more are happier. Happy clients stay. Happy clients send their friends. Two of the most important metrics of your business, rate of retention and referral rate are intrinsically tied to retail sales. If you sell take-home you will keep and earn clients. If you don’t, you won’t.
3. Ask for referrals – You need and want to get as busy as you can as fast as you can. You need and want the money, of course. More importantly clients like to patronize a busy professional. They want to go to you because everyone wants to go to you. The harder it is to get in with you the more desirable you become. (And the busier you are, the sooner you can raise the price). Say three things to every client, every haircut, every time.
i. “Thank you for the opportunity to cut your hair.”
ii. “I appreciate your business.”
iii. “If I give you two cards will you send me two friends?”
Master the task of asking for referrals and commit it to your haircut DNA. You will never want for clients ever again.
4. Rebook 80% of your traffic – Rebooking is the art of securing the client’s next appointment before they leave the shop today. It is a skill. It is an art form when done well. Rebooking is the single most important skill you will ever develop. If you can rebook 80% of your client traffic you will find yourself in the top 10% of all earners in the hair industry. Rebooking keeps clients coming back. Rebooking keeps clients coming back sooner. Rebooking is the most powerful weapon you have to fight appointment stretching. A six week interval client gets cut eight times per year. An eight week client gets cut six times. This is a 33% increase in annual revenue if you can hold the client to 6 weeks as opposed to gapping out to eight. Rebooking secures client retention and increases revenue. Why would you not commit to being a master rebooker?
5. Deliver Consistency – Show up on time and ready to work every day. Do not come in late. Do not leave early. Do not monkey with your schedule from week to week. Limit changes in your schedule to no more than twice per year. Develop a reputation for consistency, dependability and accountability. Treat all elements of your business as serious business. If you wear a white shirt and dark slacks, wear that every day. If you have purple hair and facial jewelry, own that. If someone else shows up every time they come in for a haircut they will find someone else to cut their hair. Generally speaking clients like dependability and consistency, not surprises. Treat every haircut visit as a first visit. Consult completely every visit. “same as last time?” is NOT a consultation. Clients wander off when they feel bored with their hair. If they are bored with their hair, they are really bored with you.
Bonus tip – Track your numbers – To know your numbers is to grow your numbers. That which gets measured gets improved. There are a few basic business metrics you must be tracking. You must write these numbers down every day at the end of the day. Commit to tracking these simple business statistics and you will be amazed at how fast and how big these numbers will grow. Look to track the following:
i. Rate of occupancy
ii. Repeat request rate
iii. Average ticket
iv. Average take-home per ticket
v. Rebook rate
All of these important statistics lead into client retention.
I have full and complete information on gathering, tracking and analyzing this data on a daily, weekly, quarterly and annual basis. I offer coaching in working these numbers, too. More information on numbers and coaching is available on line at my web site at clipperguy.com.
How can I help you master the rules of retention? How can I help you grow your business? How can I help you become a $100,000 hair cutter?