A salon’s success is always achievable when tried and tested systems are set in place, followed through with a touch of personal panache.
One essential discipline you need to know in order to retain your clients is the age old saying: “Know your client.”
We have all heard it; It is attached to all the usual service industries but becomes particularly important in the beauty salon.
Chances are you may even think you know your clients already. You know their likes and dislikes, how they like to be treated during their appointments and you definitely know what pleases them.
These things may work or be working to some extent, but not every time, and definitely not long-term.
The little known secret about know your client is not what you think it is at all.
To be able to pull off know your client you first have to know……… yourself….!
Yes that’s right, as a therapist you really don’t know yourself at all. At least not as each and every client sees you anyhow.
It’s time to take a long hard look at yourself in the salon mirror.
We all wear many hats on a daily basis, in front of our friends, our family, our work colleagues etc. As a therapist this role, or personality changing can occur hourly or even every 10 to 15 minutes, depending on which clients come in, how they are feeling , how their day has been and how the appointments are spaced out etc.
So how does this all work?
Know my client?
Regular clients out of all this?
Let’s have a look at an example;
Say the client that comes in is a new client. She is coming in for hair removal or maybe an eyebrow treatment. This interaction or we can even call it relationship will last say only 15-30 minutes.
You – are looking to make a good impression, to make the client feel happy and also see a smile on her face when you show her results in the mirror.
From her – you will be looking for positive feedback on your work and you will definitely be hoping for re-booking.
This is all very nice and is how any win-win relationship works, but to understand what the client is thinking about you throughout these crucial moments is the essential part for this relationship to have a real connection factor.
Here comes the difficult bit.
You have to know, and be ready for the negative thoughts the client will be having about you.
Yes that’s right.
She will be having scary, negative thoughts going around in her head.
This is her first time in your salon!
She doesn’t even know you!
Even if she has heard great reports on you, she has to keep an open mind and find out for herself.
Admit it, you do it too.
When you go to a new hairdresser, therapist or any kind of treatment practitioner, it is always in the back of your head “Are they going to mess this up?”
It’s just human nature, and it’s nothing personal.
The key is to flip this around, be ready for it, view it honestly and objectively AND be able to use it to your advantage.
The hard part is they won’t be telling you about their negative thoughts. They are still trying to battle them in their own heads….
How do I handle this?
Ok, put yourself in your client’s shoes. Ask yourself what might she be thinking of or about during this treatment.
This is a private interaction between two individuals and like any first time meet she is going to be sussing you out! Remember what we said, by standard definition you are a brilliant therapist, you know it, but she doesn’t.
Recap. She WILL be having some negative preconceived perceptions of you (also remember we said don’t take this personally, flip it around to your major advantage).
Here goes. This is what any new client could potentially be thinking of you:
Is this lady well practiced on the treatment I am about to receive? Where’s her certificates, I can’t see them on the wall?
Does she look tired? I hope she doesn’t mess this up?
OMG she is beautiful. I hope she doesn’t think I look a complete mess? I don’t feel comfortable here, it’s too fancy for me.
I hope she doesn’t realise I haven’t been to a spa in years!
I don’t think she likes me?
Is her smile fake?
How long is this going to take as I have lots to do? I hope she is quick. If not she must be still learning!
And on top of all of this there is usually “Is this going to hurt? “ going on in her head too!
The point is although we don’t want to believe it, on a first visit to your spa a client will be thinking some or all of the above, or even worse to herself – about you and your salon!
She WILL be thinking good thoughts too, but to be able to have a real connection factor with her from the offset you have to be able to spot any doubts in her head.
She is being fussy, nervous or quiet for a reason. Spot it!
She may even have suffered some kind of trauma that day. Sometimes clients need more from you than just a great massage or treatment. Tune in to this and help out- help them to be new again.
Watch her body language, read her thoughts, listen to her, squash her doubts and worries and replace them with delight!
Lavish her in your great service and professionalism and win her round. Like this:
*First know yourself( how they, the client will be seeing you) Know how that client may feel about you during this first relationship experience you are going to have together.
* Know a good 50% of her thoughts on you will be negative.
* Remember not to take it personally when you are trying to figure out what her negative thoughts may be.
* Concentrate on squashing them – Think how you look to her, how your salon or your room looks that day, be extra kind, extra attentive.
* Chose your conversation wisely based on her mood, her age, her demeanour, her attitude etc.
* Tweak your personality slightly just for her if you feel you need to. If she wants the girly, chatty therapist go for it! If she wants intellectual conversation proceed and look very interested.
We could go on but you get the picture….
None of this is deceitful in any way and indeed is not wrong or even hard to do.
We do it all the time in our daily lives in order to fill the need of the significant other in that moment of time.
The only thing that is really important to remember through all this is although you should change your persona slightly with each and every client, it is also very important not to change your core values.
Keep your integrity always, and remember your image and your salon’s message.
Yes be that person your client needs you to be that day, but don’t change so much that you are totally unrecognisable.
The version they will like of you is you, it’s just you being their you with each and every appointment.
Other salons of course will want to know how everybody loves you.
This will be why.
Do you practice “know your client “ already, to any extent?
Are you excited to try a bit of know yourself – to know your client?
Let us know in the comments below how you work it in your relationships with your clients and how it works out for you.