Six ways to grow your average client spend in salon

With most salons still looking to recoup losses incurred during last year’s closures, Liz McKeon offers up some tried-and-tested methods to increase average spend

1. Engage your team

“You need to commit to putting a greater emphasis and focus on your turnover than you perhaps did pre-Covid-19 and I look at this in two ways,” says salon business coach Liz McKeon. “Every single client should have a positive impact on your bottom line and every single person on your team should be a financial asset, because why would those people be there if that’s not happening?

“Hold a staff meeting and let everybody on your team know just how important their takings are,” she continues. “Tell them their job spec is slightly different to what it might have been previously because you need them to upsell and cross-sell. If people understand they have to do both then your numbers are going to go up. This might sound like a very basic thing that you don’t need to explain but, having worked with many teams, my observation is that people seem to think, ‘I just do whatever is in the booking’. They carry out the service that’s been asked for without seeing the opportunity that the little changes can make.”

2. See the second sale before the first

“Discuss from the first meeting how many sessions your client needs to come in for, their skin plan, and the homecare needed,” advises McKeon. “Don’t just think single service, think long term about what you need to do with this client for the next six months. Make that the conversation.”

McKeon refers to this as “seeing the second sale before the first”, adding, “If I’m in the chair and you say ‘what do you want me to do today?’, well that’s a single service. But ‘where are we going with your skin or nails? OK, then let’s put a whole plan in place for you’; that’s seeing the second sale.

“When you have a bridal party coming in, you work out a plan for them for the next six months, right up to the day of the wedding. Could we not start everybody off like that? The client is here; they’re booked in for a service, so move the conversation on to what they’d like to work with you on during the next visit. ‘I’d like to see you back here in a month and I’m going to give you that appointment before you leave’.”

3. Pick five things to tell every client

“What are the top five things that you would like a new client to know about your business?”, asks McKeon. “It could be related to your retail brand; it could be training that you’ve done; and new techniques that might help that client. If every member of staff has five things to tell every single client then it’s just a conversation rather than a pressure to make a sale.

“Do you want that client to come in once and never see them again or do you want that client forever? If you want them forever, then wow them. You’re not going to wow them talking about holidays or Covid-19. You might just wow them with five new things that are interesting to them. Put the products in front of them, show them that new treatment and get them excited. If there are five things that every client is told, then that’s going to open up opportunities.”

4. Identify gaps in spend

“Review the reports of your top 10 clients and identify the gaps. If your top spender had a lot of services but only bought three products in the past year, for example, then where are they going for their retail?”, says McKeon. “Look that at the gaps in each client’s record then create a little plan of action for each.”

“I also categorise clients so you might take your top 100 and call them your A group, then the next 100 is the B group,” she continues. “Your first focus is to get those A group clients’ spend secured, then for the B group, the focus is on how to get them more excited about their skin or nails.

“Not necessarily how to increase their spend immediately, but how to get them more excited. But I would start with your top-level accounts because they’re already excited – they come in most often, have the highest dockets, and love what you have to say, so they’re an easy starting point.”

5. Revisit product knowledge

“Give everybody a product or service to talk about to refresh their knowledge, because if you’ve forgotten the details about what you’re trying to sell, that’s when you come across as pushy,” advises McKeon.

“Once, while I was still lying on the bed at the end of the treatment, the therapist came in with a 500ml cleanser and said ‘you have to buy this’. I asked why and she replied, ‘because I’ve been told I have to sell a product to everybody today’. That was very awkward because it puts the client under pressure, whereas you want the sale to be natural. It has to make sense to the client. There seems to be a distorted trend going on in the industry that we need to sell one product to every client but from the customer’s perspective that’s unhelpful. Put four or five products out and tell them why they’d help with home care, then let them choose if they want one, or all, or none of them.”

6. Drop your attachment to the outcome

“I bring everything back to the job description: it’s not your job to worry how much is in your client’s purse but it is your job to make recommendations, give advice, do a proper consultation and tell them what they need,” says McKeon. “But you have to drop your attachment to the outcome. So, if they say, ‘yes, I’m going to take home those products, and yes, I want to come on the course of treatments’, then that’s great. If she says, ‘thanks, that’s really interesting but I’m not interested in buying that’, that’s great too because there’s no more that you can do.

“The client will decide whether they want it, not you, but the reason therapists’ confidence gets knocked is that they get attached to the outcome and become upset if the client says ‘no’. I’ve tracked it and, generally after a ‘no’, therapists haven’t got the nerve to ask again for another three weeks – and that’s too many clients ignored – so we’ve got to get over ourselves and our fears, feel confident that we did everything we could, and move on with the next client."

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Liz McKeon HeadshotLiz McKeon is an internationally renowned beauty business expert, bestselling author, guest speaker, business coach & trainer.