Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Good Receiver

Once again, it’s holiday time in the salon. I don’t know about you but it always brings on an uncomfortable feeling. What do I say when someone gives me a gift?

The simple answer is, “Thank you.”

The deeper answer is that you really won’t endear yourself if you make someone feel uncomfortable. Our clients notice our feelings and attitudes. So, get ready for the season and remind yourself how much you offer others throughout the year. You make others feel wonderful. You listen to their complaints and concerns without judgment (well, most of the time) and they think of you as a pseudo-counselor. Go ahead and enjoy the gift.

After all, you wouldn’t want to deny someone else a little pleasure, would you? I didn’t think so.

Happy holidays.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Flaunt it if You Got it!

Your smile lines rock. Your pedicures leave clients speechless and your nail art is so detailed nobody in the salon can recreate it. So when was the last time you got a little press?

Even if you have a full book, good public relations ensures that when openings happen they will be filled quickly. It also makes it possible to attract new hires that will make you proud.

The time might be right to start putting together a press pack. A basic press pack will contain a short bio that outlines your training, awards, photos, and specialties. A list of quotes is a nice touch. These can be tips editors can use in stories or sidebars of articles. A salon menu and any other printed materials such as past articles or tear sheets will round out the packet.

Write a letter to the local fashion and beauty editors of the newspapers within driving distance from the salon. Introduce yourself and offer your services in the case that the editors need an expert for an article. You may also offer to write a small guest piece. These pieces would be informative and not about the salon. They are designed to position yourself as the expert that you are. Browse through your trade magazines. Make a list of the writers it contains. Make contact with professional writers and let them know you are interested in participating in future articles.

Be ready when the opportunity arrives. When the phone call comes, be prepared by having a list of a few short articles you have prepared previously. Start working on this now. You can get someone to help with the writing if you are uncomfortable with putting it together. Start snapping pictures in the salon. The best pictures are active candid shots of nail techs performing services on clients. Take many pictures in a high resolution. The better the resolution, the better they show up in print. Get clients to sign a model release so that you can use the pictures whenever you want. Try different angles and back up the media they are stored on.

Write press releases. If the salon does something noteworthy—canned food drive, charity event, barbeque, etc.—send a press release to all of the local newspapers. You can find simple samples for writing press releases on the internet. Take a look at the Internet for inspiration. After editors see several press releases, they start to get a feel for the salon and you. You will be surprised at how many will pick up the phone when they have a story to do—and call you.

So start getting ready now. You never know when a writer, editor, or journalist will be calling. It could be the big break your salon needs to get noticed. Need more pointers or guidance on garnering press, feel free to email me iNails at hotmail dot com and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Gear Up for the Holidays

As the fall weather moves in, people’s attention turns to gifts, wrap, and holiday parties. Lucky for us, we can help clients meet their needs in all three areas.

Now is the time to start thinking about your holiday nail art line-up. You should be assembling a display board of easy to complete, quick designs that can turn a plain manicure or enhancement into a fashion accessory in no time. Imagine adding $5 to every service ticket over the holiday season. That’s conservative. While you are at it, don’t forget about those party toes. With all of that holiday shopping and prepping comes fatigue. Add a quick foot massage to the menu to quickly recharge weary clients. Charge by the minute with increments as low as 5 minutes. This is a great way for our clients to sneak in some pampering. The first year I offered mini foot massages, I didn’t have enough time to accommodate everyone. Now the clients ask as soon as they walk in the door. Everyone loves a foot rub!

Okay, your client is seated in the chair enjoying their service and a cup of tea. What do they see as they look around? Create mini retail areas in their direct line of sight. Baskets of products, paired with gift certificates, testers, and literature will keep them interested. Impulse buying is at its height during the holidays. Start placing orders now and have plenty of lotions, oils, and bath and body products around.

Encourage clients to purchase a gift certificate for themselves. Offer a buy one, get one at a discount and you can busy up those post holiday downtimes. Imagine for every gift certificate that your client buys for one of her friends, she can purchase one for herself at 10% off! Tuck free gift certificates for paraffin dips into gift baskets to encourage the recipients to come in and partake of salon services.

When it’s time to tally up the purchases, don’t forget the wrap. Offer gift wrap or bag services and it will be one less thing your client has to think about. Gift bags are inexpensive and have a fairly high markup. It just makes the whole experience more polished.

Offer to deliver the purchases to the client’s car when the sale is final. If you plan to take care of them, the client will take care of you long after the holiday season has passed.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When Time Is Money

Time can be an uncomfortable subject. It can get more uncomfortable when we or our clients are running late.It is bound to happen. We find ourselves working more slowly or having to do more work than we expected. When it does, it leaves our client waiting on us. No wonder when they run late they expect us to be forgiving also.

This creates a sticky situation for us all. The best policy is to be up front about time issues. Letting clients know that you will do everything possible to stay on time creates an environment where they feel you have their best interests at heart. I have cards printed for the salon. They are an apology of sorts. The card reads, “I am sorry for the inconvenience of running behind. Please accept this $5 discount towards your next service and my apology.” Whenever I run behind, which is rare, I will hand the client one of these cards. They really appreciate it.

On the other hand, clients also run into snags in their day. We need to handle these issues with grace so as not to offend or upset a client or risk having them go to another salon. One way to handle the conversation is to simply say, “I’m sorry your day is not going well. I’ll do whatever I can to help you catch up and we can reschedule any part of the appointment that we don’t have time for.” You may shorten the duration of the service to fit if needed. The important thing is to charge for the entire appointment. This is a time that you have set aside for them. It is time that you cannot get back. It is gone. Most clients understand that if you are not working you are not being paid.

You may be feeling flustered or irritated. The more you use your interpersonal skills to ease the tension, the better the situation will turn out. Part of our jobs is to smooth out the rough spots in our client’s lives. We just need to make it better for a while. It takes very little effort to offer a kind word or take a deep breath. So the next time you feel irritated that a client is late, look at it from a different point of view. Make it easy on your client, let them get away with just a little bit more, but collect the full fee. You will be smiling later—so will your clients.

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