Sometimes business lessons come from the most ordinary of situations — like trying to find a decent hairstylist. These seven lessons will have you rethinking how to get clients and keep them happy.
Rapunzel had a problem. And it wasn’t being locked up in a tower by a crazy witch.
Well, perhaps that was a small dilemma. But her real problem was obviously that she couldn’t find a good hairstylist. Why else would her locks have been so freakishly long? That’s just a back spasm waiting to happen.
For the past decade, I’ve had the same problem. In college, my hair changed from straight to wavy. Then later it shifted again from wavy to curly. Subsequently, I’ve been on a quest — a 10-year saga, if you will — to find a stylist who knew how to cut curly hair.
Dozens of stylists and salons later, I gave up. I decided to just let my hair grow and sit in my own isolated tower for a while. That approach worked fairly well, until my super long hair got to the point I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Resigning myself after years of getting mediocre hair cuts, I made a call to the salon down the street to book an appointment with whoever the receptionist recommended. Little did I know that I was about to discover my Holy Grail of stylists.
Her name is Faith. She is everything I had been searching for in a hairstylist. But even more astonishing to me: she turned out to be an extremely .
There was no question why Faith was so successful as a stylist aside from her expert ability to cut curly hair. Not only did she know how to get clients and keep them — she also knew how to maximize the customer experience. I was hooked.
I didn’t just learn one good business lesson from Faith on that fateful day. I learned seven.
1. Charge more than the next guy
Faith charged more than the other stylists at her salon. It wasn’t much more — maybe $10-$30 — but it was just enough to make me, her client, think she was more experienced and would give me a better haircut. Is that the truth? I have absolutely no idea.
Price shows value, and a higher price translates into higher perceived value. ( to tweet this bit of wisdom.) When you keep the prices of your services, products, or programs low, thinking that they’re more “affordable” for your clients, you’re decreasing the perceived value of what you offer.
The consequence? Your prospects will spend their money with someone else who they think offers more value than you.
2. Channel your inner guru
I showed Faith three different hairstyle photos I had saved on Pinterest. She looked at them, immediately pointed at one, and said, “That one would be perfect on you.” Then she proceeded to explain why it was perfect and why I’d love it. Done. I was sold.
Confidence and decisiveness are key components of a successful service-based business. Your clients come to you because . And if you waver, waffle or delay, they’ll quickly find someone else to spend their money with.
Channel the guru inside of you. Even if you don’t feel confident about your business, you have to act confident. Even if the voice inside your head persuades you that you’re not good/smart/talented enough to do what you do, you still have to exude certainty out of every pore.
3. Upsell like a boss
A moment after sitting down in Faith’s chair, she asked me if I’d like a conditioning treatment along with my haircut. She explained the benefits of the treatment (more volume, more curl, etc.) and told me it was an extra $20 charge. “Sure, why not?” I said after a split-second internal debate.
It’s much easier to upsell, resell or cross-sell to a client you already have compared to finding a new client. Upselling is a way to optimize each transaction while offering more value to your clients. said, “Upselling is the simplest, fastest way I know to increase the size and profit of an individual sale.” More value equates to more money, happier clients, and faster growth.
4. Secret sauce = free bonuses
Before Faith lead me to the hair-washing station, she spent a couple minutes giving me a (much-needed) neck massage as a nice free bonus.
Whether you’re selling online or offline, everyone likes free bonuses. Bonuses are like the a la mode component of the brownie dessert: they make it that much more decadent and irresistible. And throwing in just one or two simple added bonuses has the potential to hook your clients for life and give them something to tell their friends about.
5. Always educate clients
As Faith began cutting my hair, she told me, “You’re going to see me doing some weird things.”
“Weird things?” I asked, chuckling nervously. She smiled as she explained to me the process of cutting curly hair, like how she was maximizing the curl to keep my hair from falling flat — a big newbie stylist mistake. Through this process, she educated me about her — that she was an expert at cutting curly hair.
Informed clients are more likely to become loyal clients. Use every interaction with your clients to educate them about your USP. What makes you different? Why is your service unique? Why should they spend their money with you now and in the future? Answering these questions will make them want to come back for more.
6. Collect social proof
Faith asked me if it would be OK for her to capture a before and after photo of my hair to post on the salon’s Facebook page. “This is brilliant”, I thought to myself as I gave her the go-ahead to proceed with the “before” photo.
One of the most powerful ways to build trust with future clients is to show them . In other words, showcase examples of clients who have benefitted from the services or products you offer. The proof could be in the form of a written testimonial, video testimonial, review or rating, or before and after photos (preferably where the client is happy and smiling in the “after” shot).
7. Never apologize
With six inches of my hair lying on the salon floor, Faith began to dry and style my hair with a diffuser. Within minutes, I looked like I had a hardcore perm straight out of the eighties. Yikes! Faith’s cutting technique had unknowingly activated the super curl in my hair. But did she panic? Nope. Did she apologize? Absolutely not. She improvised by getting out the round brush and turning my new freakishly curly curls into beautiful waves.
When something goes awry in your dealings with a client, resist the tendency to immediately apologize or let your confidence waver. Remember, you’re the expert. It’s your job to take control of the situation and to a better outcome.
By the end of my appointment with Faith, I knew my 10-year saga had finally come to an end. And I’m officially Faith’s loyal customer for life — and I’ve already sent her two referrals — because of her excellent hair-cutting abilities and her savvy business skills.
If you’re looking to grow a thriving business and attract life-long super fans, I recommend following Faith’s lead.
Laurel Staples is a revered business coach and the founder of 10×10, a growing community of coaches, consultants, and other serviced-based business owners. Pick up your free copy of her ebook : Learn How to Upgrade Your Income, Consistently Land New Clients, and Gain More Freedom in Your Business.