Whilst it’s productive to address all the fun aspects of your salon day, it is also important to explore a rather gloomy side – there are going to be, at some point, clients whom you didn’t or just can’t seem to win over.
Ok, so that’s just a bit of a downer to kick things off with, but honestly, unfortunately, it’s true.
We would all love for every single client who enters our door to be appreciative, kind and loyal, but the truth is that just ain’t gonna happen (sobering thought!).
Just because you are the finest therapist in town, offering the most commendable treatments, does not guarantee every client is gone to love – or even like you. Some… wait for it…. will even hate you.
Asking yourself when will I win them all – is futile.
Here’s the tough part to swallow.
It’s not going to happen every day or even every month, but when you least expect it and/or deserve it, will be the day a client tells you she won’t be coming back or she prefers somewhere else.
It will feel like she is pushing you away and you just can’t seem to win her – over no matter what you say or do.
Sometimes it will feel like she is there under false pretenses to spy on you for another spa , or even worse you will start to believe she came just to make you feel small- because she’s nasty!
It may dismally be you will never see her again- and you will always be left wondering why.
Why will you not be everybody’s cup of tea?
Let’s try and get some perspective on this.
The client has to feel attracted to you as a person in some way, and also has to feel warmth and security in your salon.
She will also need to find a common interest with you, values of some kind – again to find you a compatible fit for her therapist.
“Wait” you say, “I am and did so much more than all this!”
Do not fret. Sometimes, just sometimes it’s not you……….it’s them.
Let’s look at just some of the many possible reasons as to why you could not be floating a client’s boat on a particular day :
- As human beings we are programmed to make snap decisions on first impressions and this client has possibly made a snap ( hopefully wrongful ) decision about you or your salon.
- Equally she could have not made any decision of the sort. She may approve you, but she just prefers her current therapist a teeny bit more and she will find it hard to reject her – she’s loyal.
- Maybe you didn’t fill a particular need they have. You advise your specialty method of hair removal for example, and it’s just not the exact one she wants or the one she has seen advertised, and she believes the other is the best.
- It could also be a proximity problem. She’s delighted with your spa but she knows deep down she is not prepared to travel as far as she needs to get there.
- Her decision even could be fear based. Her lack of confidence in herself, meeting new people and new experiences meant she just wasn’t ready for you and your fabulous salon. (Please take into consideration as well that fear based can come in the form of money too. She may not have the funds this month).
Hopefully a picture is starting to be painted here. In the salon, as in life, you can be ticking all the right boxes for a particular person, but some kind of chemistry is just not happening – for one or similar reasons as above.
As you can see none of it is is to do with you or your salon. You simply are not going to win them over and that has got to be okay. You don’t have to perform or prove anything.
Lastly she could just be a nasty person (on this day). She wanted to make herself feel big/better by making you feel small/sad. Sadly, it happens and you have to brush it off and move along. On these rare occasions the client has a problem with themselves and you just happened to be in their way. There are the thousands who love you, so never let that one client make you feel sad, anxious, hurt or depressed in your own salon. Be independent of that.
How do we keep moving forward?
When you find yourself in this no win predicament the first step is to de-victimise yourself. The key here is to realise that the client is not being unkind, rather they are actually just unsure, as pointed out in the points above.
Secondly take a moment to reflect on what you are really asking here. What would it mean if you won every single client that came through your door?
It would mean you have absolutely no competition. Having no competition is a bad thing. Yes it absolutely is! Read our separate post here.
These clients are not unmanageable.
If there is that one person you are determined to win over you can protect yourself from the uncertainty by asking them outright at the time why they won’t be returning, or later in an email questionnaire/ feedback form .
Ask them for their help and advice. This will at the very least stop you from grappling with uncertainty, and it quite often even leads to communication which will entice her back in – a compromise somewhere maybe; you could change the treatment slightly to suit her needs, or you could discuss a payment plan, etc.
Even asking for a responding call like this is still not your most effective or final tactic. If she is still determined not to use your services she will undoubtedly be going somewhere else, and most likely back to her original or current therapist.
Don’t take it personally, you are not re-inventing the wheel here – you do not have the first spa on earth!
Instead, use this great opportunity for some collaboration with other therapists. If you know this client is going back to Sarah at Beauty Dreams for example ask her if she wouldn’t mind asking Sarah if she would like to share advertising space with you, refer clients to each other during peak seasons, or even recommend each other treatments that each salon doesn’t perform.
Start to think of these clients as middle men, not lost clients, and the other salon owners as collaborators, not competitors.
Minimal break up.
Now that you can see that even clients who don’t come back as regulars can be used to support your growth in some way and at the very least you can have inner peace by sending them merrily on their way, I bet you still want to keep these clients to a minimum?
That’s the right attitude.
After all the disappointment, rejection and awkwardness that comes with a definite no return booking- when you can take a deep breath, hold your head high and smile at the next client who is ready to align herself with your great treatments and brand, you are well on the way to winning the next 100 clients that walk through your door.
If you know have asked yourself all the usual questions like :
Was my salon clean and attractive that day?
Did I do my very best?
Did I treat the client like a queen?
If you know these to be true then know you did all that could be done. You will never make everyone happy. On a rubbish day for example if a client is uneccessarily unkind or obnoxious towards you, just concentrate on making yourself happy when she leaves. If you are happy the rest of your day and your salon will thrive.
And remember, it isn’t doomsday if one out of a thousand clients gives you a unnecessary hard time, is nasty or just cold and unresponsive to your help, kindness and professionalism.
It’s real life. You ain’t ever gonna win ‘em all…….
These points come from a place of being there, seen it, experienced it and come from a place of concern.
I don’t want you to get lapse and think any client who doesn’t return to you is okay, but learn to know the difference between the clients that weren’t right for you ( you would never have won them anyway) AND the one that got away ( the one you will always regret because deep down you know you screwed up).
Has anything like this happened to you?
How did you deal with your feelings at the time?
Please share your thoughts and comments below.