Finally A “No-Brainer” Referral System that Works

What is the cheapest and most effective way to get new clients into your salon?

Getting client referrals from existing clients would be the obvious answer.  But, why don’t most salons get a steady stream of new clients every week from referrals?  If its the best way to get new clients…wouldn’t it stand to reason that a great effort would be made to get a referral program working in high gear? 

In reality, most salons have no referral program at all.  And based on my analysis of almost five hundred salons, less than 3% of salons have a defined referral program that is even monitored!  But if you ask the salon owner “How do you get most of your clients?” over 80% will say “by referral”.

Does this make any sense?

Actually, it does.  Most traditional referral programs “die an early death” because they are based on a system that requires work by the salon owner and guts by the staff.  This is a lethal combination in almost all cases. 

But think of it this way, if your salon could get just two more new clients each week by implementing a kick-ass client referral program, wouldn’t it be worth it?  How much is a good client worth to your salon every year in terms of sales?  $300?  $400?  (You can easily do the math by taking your average ticket and multiplying it by 8 visits per year). 

So, if your average client is worth $300 per year and you add two more of these new clients per week – that would be about $31,200 in additional revenue each year (104 x $300)!  And that doesn’t include the second year, or the third year, etc.  

Now, this all sounds exciting, but how can you get a referral program off the drawing board and into action without having it fall to the lethal combination that I spoke of earlier?  Here’s how…

Your HairMax salon software has a little known add-on feature available that offers a unique way of doing client referrals.  It was actually developed for a salon chain some years ago and until recently I have not let anyone know of its existence.  Sure, HairMax tracks client referrals and prints off reports to help you manage the program, but the current program requires some work by the salon owner (or manager) and still calls for the stylists to “promote” the program.

This new client referral program solves each of these problems and it has already proven to work like gangbusters.  How do I know?  Because the salon chain owner (who I learned it from) keeps ordering thousands of client referral cards.  Think about it, this guy is a really shrewd operator.  Would he be wasting his money on a program that didn’t work?  The answer is NO!

In short, this is how the program works…

You create a plastic client referral card for your salon about the size of a gift card.  Then you hand out 3 referral cards to your best 300-400 clients.  In your HairMax system, you simply record the cards that are being issued to the clients.  (There is a special section where you do this and it only takes about 5 seconds).  That’s it!

When any new client comes in, HairMax will prompt the receptionist for the referral card.  Once the receptionist scans the card (bar code on the back) or types in the number – the credit for the referral goes to the appropriate client.  There is no fumbling around to find the referring client, there is no missing information because it’s busy at the desk, etc. 

And with traditional referral systems, “rewarding” the client has always been a major challenge.  However, with this new system, you can actually setup what service you want to give (the referring client) for FREE once they refer X number of clients to your salon.  In other words, if you want to give away a free haircut for every 3 new clients that are referred, you can set it up very easily.  

HairMax salon software will automatically prompt the receptionist at point-of-sale once the new client count has been reached for a particular client.  And once the “free” service is applied, the count for that client goes back to zero.  And just like the gift card system in HairMax, you can re-use the client referral cards by simply deleting them out of your system.

There you have it.  A simple, effective client referral system that requires almost no maintenance and is extremely easy to implement.  And here is the best part.  If you design a little sign to have at each of your stylist stations – there is no selling required by the stylists.  The clients will actually ASK for the referral cards.            

Now, you can also take it one step further and tell the client that their “friends” will get 50% off their first service when they present the card.  So, the new client wins because they get 50% off, the referring client wins because they get a free service eventually, and your salon wins because it gets a great new client.

This is the best referral program I have ever seen work over a long period of time.  In 2009, salons will continue to face challenges when it comes to attracting clients without spending a lot of money on marketing and advertising.  If you are going to implement one new program for this year…this should be it!

P.S. To get started on this referral program, simply contact our office. We will then start the design of your referral cards, marketing signage, and provide you with the HairMax salon software add-on feature required to get the program implemented.

Remember, every new client can be worth hundreds to your salon’s sales this year.  If you’re going to invest in any new program – this one should be it! 

Best Regards,

Steve Sampson



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