I know it’s there somewhere. Where have you hidden it?
I bet, buried in your salon, there’s a piece of equipment you purchased thinking it would revolutionise the way you do business. That would lead to complete strangers queuing in the street to try it out.
You probably bought it with the lure of it being The Next Big Thing at a very special price.
But instead, it’s sat in a corner, gathering dust. The most expensive pot plant stand you ever bought.
Don’t worry, we’ve all done it! My question is, what have you learned from it?
Do your research
Bringing in new equipment can dramatically upset the dynamics of a business. It might not even address the right demographic for you. If your market is mainly nails and lashes, for example, do you know for sure that the latest anti-ageing technology is attractive to your current customer base? And does your salon’s present image automatically appeal to a new anti-ageing market?
Maybe. Maybe not. But unless you ask, you’ll never find out. Who do you ask? Your clients, of course. There’s no one better placed to tell you exactly what they want. Make sure you ask them all and not just the ones who you know will give you the answers you want to hear.
So often it seems we salon owners are afraid of honest feedback from our customers. But there really is no other way to hear the truth. It’s absolutely essential to first understand your target market and then address their needs.
Create a client avatar
Customer avatars, sometimes called buyer personas, are a seriously helpful way to get to know your clients. Creating an avatar involves finding out various characteristics of your top clients – their background, what they love, who influences them, what challenges them, their ambitions, how they want to interact with you and so on – and collecting them together into one, “average” customer.
That might seem a lot of detail, but the more information you gather, the better you can predict what your average customer wants and how they’ll behave.
Getting the data you need isn’t as tough as it sounds. You can simply ask the right questions during natural conversation or put together some simple surveys to gather feedback. Your regular customers will usually be delighted to help you improve your service to them.
No more guessing games
Once you have your avatar and start asking your clients for their input, you can put a stop to all your guesswork. How can you know if your idea will boost your business if you don’t know who you’re targeting and what drives them?
Guessing can cost you a fortune.
Take my own salon as an example of how easy it is to waste money this way:
Bored of having looked at the same design for a while, I set out to revamp our reception area with an exciting new décor. I was all ready to go until I paused, quizzed our loyal customers and discovered they much preferred our current look and image. What an expensive, pointless upheaval that saved!
So don’t drive customers away by making uninformed judgements based on nothing but your own guesswork – get asking!
Not only will you learn the best ways to invest in your business but, by engaging your clients with such a genuine, honest approach, you’ll make them feel an important part of the decision-making process, increasing their loyalty into the bargain.
It’s a real win-win!
Here’s to your great business in 2017!