How to Solve the Biggest Problems With New Client Retention


You went to Diana and didn’t feel the spark. You search for new salons. The telephone rings. It’s Diana. She mentions she hasn’t cut and colored your hair in a while, asking you if you want to make an appointment. What do you say?

Everyone fears rejection, plain and simple. If first-time clients don’t click with their stylist, they’d rather switch salons before they let “Diana” see them with a new one, said one upcoming C.A.M.P. speaker.

“Everyone is ghosting these days,” said Kati Whitledge, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, and Podcaster. “We’d rather avoid discomfort. It’s no different in a salon setting.”

In salons, new client retention is less than 30 percent, which means that salons and stylists must have a unique selling proposition to get and keep the newbies around. When it comes to sales, it’s about identifying the buyer and selling to them their way.

Whitledge, Founder of Inspired Enterprises, Inc. that includes Be Inspired Salon in Madison, Wisconsin, the Beyond the Technique podcast, and the Meet Your Stylist tool, was featured this July in Salon Today for tackling retention with first-time guests. She’s getting an additional 56 clients a month, has seen an 86% increase in new-client retention and attributes $286,000 of additional revenue in 2017 to her behavioral economics strategy.

This term may sound new when it’s really one of the oldest tricks in the book—and highly underused. It’s a human-to-human way of doing business, Whitledge said, using psychology to study economic decision making.

“Typically, people don’t buy logically,” she said. “Eighty percent of the time they’re going to buy with the emotional part of the brain.”

So, what does it take to convince an engineer to buy a hair product? Let’s break it down. An engineer is most likely analytical, logical, and highly cautious. Bottom line: They don’t like to feel impulsive. So, the stylist must talk them through the ins and outs of the entire product, explaining why it’s the right choice, for the engineer to ultimately purchase, Whitledge said.

For a supportive personality type, or a “Steady Eddy” as Whitledge calls them, they need to know there’s a purpose. They want to buy products or services to help you out. Explain how their purchase will support local business and keep the community thriving, and they will be more willing to help you out.

“It’s not intuitive to love somebody their way, just like it’s often not intuitive to sell to people their way,” she said. “If we know how to identify everyone’s individuality, it will give salons a massive return on their client acquisition investments.”

Being successful in sales is not about being pushy, and it’s not about over-educating. It’s about knowing who the person is on an emotional level and selling to them in a human-to-human interaction. Get more insights from Kati Whitledge when she speaks at C.A.M.P this September. Register on our website for more details.

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