One of the fastest ways to build a clientele is to get people talking. You want positive attention, the kind that fosters business. It’s good to keep in mind that people never talk about:
- boring people
- boring products
- boring services
- boring companies
I’ve used this technique in many of my companies. When I/we focused on this method, our growth rate has been amazing.
There are many ways to build positive buzz. Many of these strategies are super easy to do. As a bonus, many are also cost-effective. Others take a little bit more planning and a financial investment to get the ball rolling. Choose what works best for your situation and budget. It doesn’t matter if you are quiet and shy or vivacious and outgoing. There are tactics that work for all personality types.
The key to making this work is…
- Know what they like.
- Know what makes them smile.
- Know what gets them excited.
- Know what triggers them in a positive way.
Be unique. Stand out. Knowing your clientele can help you make a positive impact. Done well, clients will seek out your services. Mismanage it and they will run in the opposite direction.
Most grooming business owners focus on the rational parts of running their business: price, scheduling, pet handling, and the finished groom. They totally ignore the emotional rewards for the human client. This is important, because although we love the dogs, they don’t have the ability to pay the bill.
People don’t get excited about ordinary services, an acceptable haircut, or a fair price. They talk about things that surprised them and made them feel great about their pets. When you make things special, you make them memorable – while at the same time removing the feeling of risk they might have had about doing business with you.
It’s not enough to have a good grooming business. You need to stand out from the crowd. The unique business has fabulous solutions wrapped in a shiny package that delights, excites, or surprises the customer.
So what makes up a “unique shiny package?” Here are four areas to get your ideas flowing.
How does it look? It doesn’t matter if it’s home business, a corporation, a small storefront, or a large facility. Your presentation will make an impression.
What does it look like when the client first drives up? What makes it stand out in a positive way? What makes it unique? Is it your signage? Your exterior decor? Some clever way to lead clients to your front door? Your front display window? Something needs to pop out at them.
Moving indoors, what do your clients see as soon as they step through the door? Is it clean and tidy? Is it bright and cheery? Is it easy to maintain and organize? How is your indoor signage? Is your reception desk inviting? Are your brochures and business cards readily available?
Think about not only what they see – what do they hear and smell? Is there appropriate music? Are the dogs relatively quiet? Is the louder equipment muffled behind closed doors? Do a sniff test – or have someone else do it for you who isn’t “nose blind” to smells in the salon. The salon should smell clean and fresh. If it can’t pass the sound and smell test – fix it.
Clients have loads of choices and ways to compare you to other service-based businesses. Even if you are the only grooming salon in town, you still have competition. Clients and prospective customers are comparing you to plenty of other service businesses such as their vet clinic, their hair salon, or their dry cleaners. How do you stack up against the other professionals in the area?
Clients gravitate to businesses where they feel comfortable. Making them feel comfortable means mirroring how they present themselves. Whoever has direct interaction with clients should positively impact the customer. Clients are your guests – welcome them as such. If you had invited them as guests into your home, wouldn’t you try to make them feel as comfortable as possible?
Regardless of whether you are in a conservative or a trendy area, presenting a well pulled-together look goes a long way. Pay attention to the details. Make sure you are groomed as well as the dogs leaving your salon.
If you don’t want to take the time to put together a polished outfit every day – opt for uniforms. Nothing pulls a look together like outfits designed for the work at hand. If you have staff, discuss what you wear so you all match. Once uniforms look dull and old – toss them.
You are going to be washing and styling dogs all day, so make sure your own hair gets the same amount of attention. It doesn’t matter if your hair is short or long, natural or brightly colored. Your own hair needs to be clean and styled in a manner appropriate for your workplace.
Accessories can bring a smile to a customer’s face and make an impression. Makeup can be an accessory. Let’s not forget jewelry – earrings or a fun bracelet that can hold up to the abuse of professional grooming. Even funky shoes that can take hours of standing and still be comfortable.
Your personal presentation can be as unique as you are. Just remember to present yourself in a manner appropriate to the clientele you wish to attract. Never lose sight of the fact that you need to make your clients feel comfortable and welcome if you want to build your business.
Pick a breed. Pick a technique. Pick a personality. Pick a trim. Specialize in something. Do it better than anybody else.
Establishing a reputation for specializing in your area of choice will make you stand out. People will begin to talk. Because you do such an amazing job in your specialty, new customers will seek you out.
Maybe you love Terriers and hand stripping techniques. You might be a Poodle fanatic who loves to hand scissor. Love kitties? Enjoy challenging pets? Whatever it is, lock into it. You will thrill people when you walk out with a well-groomed pet from your specialized field of expertise. It’s a great feeling. Both you and your customer will be smiling.
What do you do that makes your clients grin from ear to ear and say, “Wow, I can’t believe they just did that!” Customer service skills come into play over the phone and in person.
All service-based businesses are problem solvers. If you can solve the problem triggers for your customer, you are way ahead of the game. Once you figure out the problem, offer a viable solution with a kind heart and a big smile.
In some cases, the client doesn’t even realize they have a problem. Not only do you need to be a problem solver, you need to be a tactful educator.
Most clients benefit by using the trifecta principle of communication: tell – show – read. As professionals, we deal with dirty, messy dogs all the time. We can groom dog in our sleep. It’s a totally new experience for the client. Most people cannot remember all the information you are going to give them when they first come to your salon. Use the trifecta principle to help get your messages across. Tell them. Show them. Give them something to read that locks in what you just told and showed them.
In order to be successful, we need plenty of clients that keep coming back. Salons that get positive buzz in the community will attract new clients and help retain old ones.
When done well, there a great sense of pride. But even more than that, there’s also a great sense of security. Security comes from knowing clients like what you do and continue to seek out your grooming services.
So stand out from the crowd. Be the positive buzz of YOUR town. If you want a busy business, you need to get people talking. Finding creative ways to make your clients feel special is one of the best marketing strategies you can develop for your business.
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