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“The winter months are my worst months for business, turnover decreases and the staff even sometimes seem demotivated”

“I am especially stressed for this winter due to the economic situation in the world, will I survive and how do I keep my staff motivated and turnover up?”

“Treatment bookings are down, product houses prices are increasing and I’m really not sure how I am going to keep my business open never mind show any growth.

Are you feeling like any of the above salon/spa owners? If yes, keep reading and make a determined effort to make a change in your business?

First of all you need to begin by accepting the fact that there should be NO decrease in turnover in your spa/salon in the winter months.  As soon as you accept and acknowledge that fact you will be more open to ideas and proven methods that work in keeping your turnover constant, sometimes even increased and ensuring your staff are motivated.

I have prepared a very basic checklist that I would like you to review and carefully analyze if you are following the systems.  If not, why not start by applying three or four of the items listed below and see what happens to your business.

WINTER BUSINESS BOOSTERS

Tick next to the appropriate symbol.  Happy face if you are doing this already.  Sad face if you are not.

Prepare winter specials. NOW!!!    

There is no doubt that the consumer has reduced their treatment spend so becareful not to try promote the treatments you are trying to move but rather promote the treatments they NEED and cannot really do without.  For example, we all need a manicure, pedicure, facial treatment and body exfoliation during the winter months but the reality is that pedicures take a back seat as no one can see your feet and body exfoliation can be done at home.  So ask your product supplier if they could offer you something free with each mani and pedi booked or give you discount for professional product bought for this promotion then don’t book just a manicure at special price, offer a manicure and pedicure together for a special price or with a free gift or added value service.  Facial treatments are a MUST during winter so put together a specific winter facial and if you have peels in your range now is the time to do a course of peels on your clients skin.  Again partner with your product house to offer some special buy in deal for professional product and perhaps a gift with purchase on aftercare products. Perhaps also add a back/neck and shoulder massage free with every specialized facial booked.  There are so many ideas just get creative, involve your staff and ensure your product suppliers come to the party!

Sell Winter Contracts.

This is not rocket science just follow this simple process and see what the results are. Don’t expect miracles and every single client to buy in but remember practice makes perfect, start now and see in a few years time how this simple winter contracts idea can change your business.  Start by once again consulting with your staff and identify your top 10 clients for a small salon, top 30 clients for a medium size salon and top 50 clients for a larger salon/spa.  Look back at their history and see what treatments they have done over the last 3 months so work on February, March and April treatments.  Add up the total spend on treatments and then call them in for an appointment or offer them their specialized tailor made winter contract that is exclusive to them at their next treatment.  Work on the same treatments they have done, offer them a 10 – 20% discount (depending on their spend, smaller spend 10%, medium spenders 15% and large spenders 20%) on the same treatments which will be valid for the next three months and throw in one treatment they are not doing that you would like to introduce them to.  They can either pay by credit card on 3 months budget or they can pay upfront, I suggest offer the terms you feel comfortable with the client.  Now this can either work like a bomb or blow up like a bomb in your face so be careful how you do this.  Ensure that each client is given a personalized letter and package offer with their name on it either from their therapist if they have an excellent relationship with their therapist or from the spa owner or manager.  Ensure to let the client know that this has been done only for the top 10 clients of the business and the reason you are doing it is to thank them for their loyalty and business.  I would also once again get my product supplier involved to give them a small gift once they have signed the contract.  What will happen after this is simple, the consumer will have spare money to purchase more homecare or book additional treatments as her next three months spend on treatments has been covered and paid for.  Ensure to make the client sign the contract and understand that after three months these treatments expire so they HAVE TO BOOK them within the specified time otherwise there is no point.

Offer staff higher commission for achieving winter specials and contracts target.

Let’s face it money makes everyone tick and any opportunity given to earn any extra money will not be turned down by anyone and if it is, get rid of them!  If you want your winter months to make more revenue or even the same as the summer months motivate your staff to work harder to get clients in.  So whether it be by giving them a fixed amount per contract sold or giving them a target for winter special bookings and they get incentivised on meeting this target, find some way where your staff can EARN more money not just fall in their laps.

Do you have an optimised website? 

If yes, is it updated and able to sell online vouchers and products?  If not well then this winter can be your website setting up winter!  Face it, technology is moving forward and best you keep up or you will wither away.  You don’t need a very complicated website but you do need one and ensure the basics are covered in your website.  WHO are you? WHERE can you be found?  WHAT do you do?  HOW much does it cost? WHEN are you open for trading? HOW can you be contacted? WHAT does your place look like?  Take small steps but once your website is up and running then start working on a monthly newsletter which is sent out by email and also links readers onto your website.

Upgrade your treatment menu. 

Are you upgrading and changing your treatment menu every year?  This is a must to ensure you are evolving with the industry and offering the treatments and services consumers read about in the glossy magazines.  Your clients will go to another salon in search of a treatment or service should you not offer it and this really opens the door for them to become loyal customers of your competition.  Try new layouts with your treatment menu, try upgrade your wording, add new treatments and remove what is stale and not selling.  Again, get your staff involved and don’t take their input for granted as they are the ones who spend time with the clients.

Promote your machine treatments. 

Winter is the ideal time for machine treatments especially IPL, microderm abrasion, non surgical face lift or tightening as consumers don’t tend to spend too much time in the sun.  So take advantage and put these machine treatments on promotion.  If you don’t have any machine treatments then you seriously need to look at your business and decide which machine you can invest in this winter season!  The trend is there, whether you will a business that takes advantage and cashes in on the trend or whether you will be the business who has the attitude “machines are too expensive” will decide whether you make good profits or just plod along.  We can prove to you how much additional money your business can make with the simple investment in one piece of equipment!

Now more than ever OFFER ADDED VALUE to keep clients. I am sure you are already feeling that your clients are cutting back a little.  They are still coming for treatments but maybe not as often and not spending on retail as much.  Whilst this economic downturn is only temporary we still have to survive and clients will now be looking around for better pricing and added value.  I don’t really like discounting but rather prefer to always add a free treatment as this exposes your client to other treatments.  Make sure though that you are giving free treatments that appeal to your clients.  So don’t go give a treatment is very seldom booked for free as this will not motivate your client at all.

Last but not least CHANGE YOUR MINDSET! 

Please use this winter to make a tangible change in your business and commit yourself to making more money and having happier more motivated staff.

If your plan doesn’t work, change the plan but NEVER the goal!