Friday, November 14, 2008

Make the Most of this Holiday Season

The activity of the election is fading. The daily drone of economic doom and gloom seems to surround us. But I have some great news --there will actually be a holiday season this year! It is time to get a plan together to make the most of your holiday season!

Add Value
Many of you are experience the stretching effect. Many clients are saving money by stretching out appointments. This length between appointments is decreasing your overall sales. When customers are spending, they want more value for the dollar. Prove your worth. Present timely services in a clean and professional atmosphere. Enhance services with extras that increase the perceived value. Add in a free scalp, hand or neck massage. Offer specials on retail products with purchase of a service. Provide discounts for clients that pre-book. Offer special VIP sales. Use trail size samples as a thank you gift. Make clients know you value them and their business!

Back to Basics
The details can add up. Reeducate staff on correct amounts of shampoo, color, foils, skin products they should be using for treatments. These items might seem tiny but have a large impact on your expenses. Optimize your laundry by doing full loads of towels and robes. Monitor your inventory closely. It is easy to place the same monthly product order with your distributors, but it can cost you. You could be putting those dollars into wiser investments. Evaluate what products you are actually moving, factor in your promotion products, and keep on hand what you truly need.

Problem Solve Sales
Pushy sales tactics push customers out the door. Sales should flow effortlessly into the service. The client is coming to you with a need (more volume, dry ends, acne or fine lines). Your services and products are there to solve this problem. A great way to sell retail products is an easy soft sell approach. Say “…to guarantee these results I recommend continued use of product X. These results will last much longer by using professional products. It’s really a small investment to ensure the services you are paying for hold up.” Be true to your word and back up your products with a guarantee policy. Continue your value added efforts by offering grouped product sets in a variety of price points. If the customer feels they are getting more bang for their buck, you will ring up the sales.

Turn Downtime Upside Down
If you do experience slower than average days, use the time wisely. Rally the team for a shop spruce up. Clean, organize and even tackle that unwieldy inventory mess in that back corner of the stock room. Embark on some remodeling projects. Invest staff time on continuing education service techniques or sales tactics. Start brainstorming plans for 2009. Map out promotions, strategize market areas you want to grow, or plot new services or products you want to offer.

Business Partners
Evaluate the success (or lack there of) with some of your business partners. Are you getting the most out of your bank relationship? Revisit your credit card fees and see if you can do better. Straight talk with your product distributors. Investigate win-win strategies such as terms, installment payments or discounts for pre-payment on staggered deliveries. It won’t hurt to ask and see what deal you can make.

Meet the Girl Next Door
Network with your neighboring businesses. Develop a referral program offering discounts for clients referred from the restaurant or boutique next door. Take the owners to coffee and brainstorm ways you can both gain business traffic. Offer sidewalk sales or discount coupons at each other establishments. Host cooperative VIP events sharing expenses and ideas. Together everyone achieves more.

Take this holiday season as a challenge. Retrench, reinvest and re-energize. Remind yourself why you jumped into this business in the first place. Renew your passion and the business will follow!

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