Clients shying away from prebooking? Fight back with sound strategies that work to significantly boost profits year-round for salons and stylists alike.
Denise Gualdoni, owner and designer at Studio Eleven in Maryville, Illinois, hails prebooking as the industry’s single most important key performance indicator, driving clients’ retention and results along with profits and retail sales. But the benefits don’t stop there; prebooking increases frequency of visits, which creates a ripple effect. “When you increase a client from four to six visits per year through prebooking, you increase business by 40 percent— and get better control of your schedule,” asserts Robert Cromeans, John Paul Mitchell Systems global artistic and business director.
But, how? Try these three simple tactics.
1. Run Contest. Encourage planning ahead with contests. Reward the stylist who scores the most prebookings for that month or that week, advises Antony Whitaker, business coach and best-selling author.
2. Entice Clients. From November 1 to December 31, Studio Eleven enters each guest who prebooks all of her appointments for the following year into a drawing for a $500 gift card and four Eufora products of her choice (clients receive one entry for every appointment booked).
3. Promote it Anywhere and Everywhere. Last year, Studio Eleven staff scored 4,000 appointments in two months, promoting the contest via Facebook, Instagram, email, salon signage, and mirror clings. Additionally, Cromeans advocates visual reminders on stickers, posted daily at every chair year-round, outlining dates in four or six weeks for preplanning ease.
Don't Ask, Tell
“‘Do you want to prebook your next appointment?’ gives clients a chance to say no. Instead, give them a reason to prebook,” Whitaker recommends. “Tell them, ‘I’m booked up far in advance; I suggest you prebook your next appointment now to get the day and time that’s best for you.’”
Meanwhile, Cromeans books the next appointment automatically. “That’s assuming the sale becomes a habit,” he explains. “Remember: When clients miss a service through failure to prebook, you’re not servicing that client properly.”
The Front Desk Factor
Though stylists must take the initiative on prebooking, the front desk should be prepped to seal the deal. Hence, Whitaker stresses you should simplify operations for front desk staff with the right POS system, scripts and systems—or even a “roving receptionist” who prebooks clients on an iPad at the styling chair.
Owners can also incentivize the front desk team. At Studio Eleven, when prebooking hits 70 percent, each front desk employee receives a gift certificate, with the goal of raising prebooking by 2 percent when each goal marker is reached.
This story first appeared in the July issue of Beauty Launchpad magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.