Whether you are in cosmetology school, or already working as a hair stylist employed by a salon, or even as an independent contractor renting space, building a strong clientele is essential to flourish in your cosmetology career. Having reliable, repeat customers will ensure a steady stream of income throughout the duration of your career. Building your clientele as a hair stylist will require time and patience as well as creative marketing and promoting yourself at all times, even when you’re not behind the chair. You never know who could be your next potential client so it’s important to always carry yourself in a professional manner!
Create an incentive program for referrals that provides current and new customers with a discounted or complementary service each time they refer a new client to your chair. Complimentary services could be something as simple as a free conditioning treatment or facial wax for first-time referrals or a complimentary cut or color for multiple referrals. If you choose to offer discounts, make sure you don’t offer so much of a discount that you’re not earning income from the service. Even with new clients coming in, you’ll have created a client relationship that is based on bargains. Remember: We choose our friends because we have similar interests so a good client will likely mean a great referral! If you’re a cosmetology school student, make sure you check with an Educator before offering discounted services, since the clients that start with you in school are already paying very little. This may be a good way to offer an incentive for them to follow you after you graduate and start working in a salon!
Allow walk-in appointments or schedule a certain day of the week you are open to walk-ins. This way, customers who happen upon the salon while out running errands or while shopping nearby can have their hair cut or styled by you without an appointment. This will bring in new clients who impulsively decide to get their hair done and are discouraged by salons that only take appointments. This is your perfect opportunity to encourage them to schedule an appointment so they are guaranteed a spot with you next time. If they have a hectic schedule and are unable to book in advance, let them know you are still open to take walk-in appointments if that is what’s best for the client
From my own personal experience I can say that this is the easiest way to get the word out without having to hit the streets. Enlist the help of friends and family to advertise your services through social networking. For example, they could post a photograph of their hair done by you on their social networking profile and credit you in the caption, or they could post an update on their page directing friends to check out your services in person. Ask your clients for permission before snapping and posting photographs of them, but many will be more than happy to help you brag!
Starting in cosmetology school, you want to start getting in the habit of handing out business cards with your salon’s contact information on it. A good rule of thumb is: 3 for each client. I know it may sound like a lot, but if each client hands out 3 cards, your clientele could triple very quickly! Personalized business cards are very affordable and some sites will even allow you to design them yourself for free. Drop them in giveaways, or any time there’s an appropriate place to display them. You never know who will see the card and if they are in need of a new stylist!!
How have you had success growing your clientele? Share with us some of the ways you built your clientele.