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The Cheapest and Best Advertising – Are You Using It!

If you ask any salon owner today “Where do most of your new clients come from?” without a doubt most will say “just word of mouth”.  But if you ask the all-important question “What are you doing (today) to improve this Word of Mouth advertising?” all of a sudden the room gets real quiet.

So today, I’ve decided to explain what Word of Mouth advertising REALLY is – and how it can make a significant difference in your salon sales.  Look, we all know that it works.  But once we know “why it works” – we can put some simple things into place to improve it every month.  And that is the key.  Improving it – a little bit every month.  But first, let me tell you a little story that highlights what I mean.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to get my car detailed.  It’s only about 3 years old, but if your like me, making car payments every month, it’s always much easier to make the payment when you’re driving a “newer looking” car.  So, I remembered this company that I used a while ago called HMA Car Care out of Salem Ma.

What I remembered about them was the “over the top” service they provided.  And I’m not talking about the fact that they actually cleaned every nook and cranny in the car.  Everybody does that!  Some do it slightly better than others do – but you expect that.  (Here is the real key)  I’m talking about things that nobody ever does!

For example, they call you the day before – to verify the appointment.  They pick up your car at work and deliver your car back at the end of the day.   They’re on time.  They put all the contents of your glove compartment in a separate little bag.  They put all the contents of your armrest compartment in another separate bag.

They have a thank you card sitting on your front seat when they deliver it.  They have a little bag of goodies sitting on the passenger side seat (candy, key chain, air freshener, etc).  They give you a quote for some bodywork that your car could use (can you say cross-selling?).  They call you during the appointment to suggest some things that can make a difference today (can you say up-selling?)  They follow-up the next day with a telephone call to see how your service was.

Now, if they only did one of those things, I would have never noticed it.  But taken collectively, it was worthy of me telling YOU about it.  That is word of mouth advertising!  When something blows you away, because it’s so different from what you expect, it actually creates its own buzz.  That’s what you should be striving for.

Did HMA have to pay for this advertising?  No, I gave it to them for FREE!  They didn’t even know it.  They just know that a certain percentage of their clients are “evangelists” (like me).  We tell the world about something that is great.  Well guess what?  A certain percentage of your clients are evangelists too.  What are they saying about you?

So, here are the only five ways to create word of mouth advertising:

1.      Product Excellence – now in the salon industry, your “product” is the service that you provide.  (I don’t mean retail).  Is your service stimulating spontaneous praise?  Or is it just slightly above average?

 2.     Customer Service Excellence – Are you like Nordstrom or are you like Sears?

 3.     Over-Delivery – Are you just giving new clients what they expect?  Or are you giving new clients something that they never expected?  Every time you exceed expectations you are sowing the seeds for word of mouth advertising.

 4.     Buzzworthiness – Are you doing something that’s worthy of buzz?  Are you doing a certain service that people are raving about?  Have you found a product that nobody knows about yet?  These can create “buzz”.

5.      Incentive Programs – In the above cases, Word of Mouth happens spontaneously.  You can also stimulate Word of Mouth directly by giving your clients an incentive for doing so.  This can take the form of additional discounts for referrals, free upgrades or even cash rewards. 

By the way, just something as simple as a blog (that provides your clients with great information) can separate you from the pack.  Think of just one thing that your salon can implement (per month) and in a very short period of time you will have the “HMA effect”.  So remember, it’s not just one thing necessarily, it might be a lot of little things that creates the buzz for your salon!

Best Regards, Steve Sampson

 HairMax Salon Software is a product designed to be the best investment your salon has ever made.  It is not only the easiest and most powerful salon software on the market.  It is from a company dedicated to becoming the ultimate VALUE source to the industry.

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