Hello everyone, I am Chrissy Alger – Senior Coach and new recruit for The Zing Project, Salon Coaching…
I thought I would introduce myself, given the provocative title of this article- before I explain myself…
I am a Salon Owner, Salon Marketer and Salon Coach having successfully ran my own Salon business from start-up- NOT as a technician and purely as someone addicted to business… I am actually a Psychologist, who decided to do something different and venture into the salon industry space under the guise of wanting to do more to promote health, wellbeing and self-confidence (all the things we get when we spend time in a Hair or Beauty Salon).
Start Up Businesses, are hard work. Especially when you cannot do the work yourself. So, over the years I have had to learn all of the business strategy known to man to keep my business afloat and to stop myself from going bankrupt!
Not only was I able to scale and grow my Salon Based business exponentially, but I have been able to help other Salon Owners do exactly the same. My methods can be controversial (hence the heading) and are often not liked or slammed in the industry as a “bad idea” or “devaluing service”.
But I am here to help you think differently about sales and marketing and to change ‘regular’ thought patterns amongst the industry… Call me a ‘pattern disrupter’ if you like.
But my main message is “what got you here, won’t get you there”, so if you want to continue to grow your business and yourself for that matter, you need to be open to new ideas.
So here goes…
Slammed as the single quickest way to attract a “bargain hunter” or not an “ideal client”, discounting services in order to attract new clientele has often been frowned upon by the Salon industry elite. “NEVER DISCOUNT” was something I heard time and time again when I first started my business.
But the problem was, my business was drowning. I had no clients coming through the door, I had no services really being provided that could actually be considered as “devaluing” as quite frankly, there was no-one to even service!! So, I had to think differently
I had to develop a way to attract clients through the door, and my marketing research told me my ‘offers’ had to be absolutely irresistible in order to entice people to come through my front door.
So, I learned all about “Low Barrier to Entry Marketing” and from there, everything changed.
“Low Barrier to Entry” Marketing – What is it?
Low Barrier to Entry Marketing is simply a way attracting new clients by limiting any possible barrier to the client getting to know your business.
Whether the client barrier to accessing your service was price point, not understanding how the service would benefit them, believing the service would not benefit them, client indifference or the service access simply was put in the “too hard” or not enough “time” basket, there are a number of reasons why clientele may not access services from you.
The Low Barrier To Entry style of marketing aims to reduce all of these typical client objections to make your marketing offering virtually impossible to refuse.
Reducing Price Point AKA ‘The Discount’
The Low Barrier To Entry Marketing Model (LBTE) would prescribe that providing a service for a fraction of the amount you would typically offer this service, is a certain way to attract high volumes of new clientele. It would not be unusual to offer a blow dry for $7 or a colour service for $99 under a promotional offer such as this.
The price point is SO unbelievable, that clients are compelled to attend your Salon, it’s a “nobrainer” type of offer.
But this is where most business owners get it wrong. The low value price point aims to simply have you “break even” on the service e.g. cover the costs. Your aim, is to make it profitable via upgrading the service and selling retail.
Also, the holy grail of LBTE marketing, is that you secure this client as a life time client.
But often, due to poor sales consultations, underperforming staff and lack of preparation and understanding of the strategy, none of these objectives are reached and the strategy is often deemed “not to work” or as a failure.
The reality is, LBTE marketing with price point CAN be a highly successful way of bringing large volumes of clientele through your door, and quickly, in order to grow and scale your business.
Now, there will always be the D Grade client that attend as a result of this type of promotion. But the aim is to consult and service as many clients as possible in “seeking” the right clientele for your business. With a robust consultation, skilled staff and sales strategy, you will find this your ideal clientele by engaging in this style of marketing.
Education- Does Your Ideal Client Know They Need You?
Another LBTE marketing strategy can take the format of resources and education, as you do not always have to compete in the market with price point. Often one of the biggest challenges we face with our prospective clientele, is that…
- Our prospective clients do not know we exist
- They may not know why they need our service or
- They may not understand why our service is better than others
Whether you create downloadable resources in the format of a “Tips and Tricks” article or a document that educates, helping your market solve a problem by offering a resolution is a sure-fire way of securing a prospective client’s business.
Often presented in the format of a “Sales Funnel” this resource or form of education is deemed to be a first “touch point”, that is the first point of contact that a prospective client will have in getting to know and understand your value proposition as a business.
From here, you can effectively “funnel” the client into other more meaningful forms of contact with your business, such as via email, SMS, consultation until finally, they are ready to make a purchase.
What you are doing here, is “warming” the client to make a purchase, as rarely does someone simply just make a purchase from you without knowing or understanding the value that you can offer them.
The negative connotations attached to discounting services as you would in a LBTE style promotion or in giving away “free” stuff, is often derived from not understanding the objectives and the strategy of the LBTE style of marketing. Salon Owners who are not familiar with this strategy are often quick to dismiss or deem this strategy to be too risky or not worthwhile.
I had also found that for those that have been brave enough to take the plunge into LBTE style marketing, have had significant vulnerabilities in their business exposed as a result. For example, if your team cannot provide a strong consultation, often they cannot upgrade or retail to the client.
Commonly, LBTE marketing is “blamed” for issues such as these. Statements such as “the marketing only bought bargain hunters” or people that were unwilling to purchase or rebook. The reality is I have tested it, over and over again and the strategy does attract high value clients, if they are treated and serviced in the right way.
For this issue in particular, businesses including my own that have strong consultations and team suitably trained in sales, we were able to win these clients over. Other businesses who did not have such foundations, could not. But the issue was never the marketing, it simply unveiled a pre-existing issue. That the business had team members who were not consulting effectively and were not trained in sales.
Regardless of the client (new or existing), it was likely that their existing clients were probably leaving money on the table as a result of this problem as well. The reality is the LBTE marketing strategy is “hard work” but hugely rewarding. It will unveil every vulnerability in your business, but the savvy business owner will seek to close these gaps and build a business that is stronger than ever as a result.
For more salon strategy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, listen to ‘The Salon Hustler” podcast on all your major podcast platforms and follow me on Instagram; @chrissyalger_zing and Facebook: @chrissyzing