One of the most difficult aspects of working in the salon and spa industries is finding clients. And at the beginning, it makes sense that a beauty pro will take every client that walks through the door. After all, they’re trying to establish themselves and they need an income. However, when they’re taking every client, sometimes they get disheartened because they just don’t mesh well with some clients.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean the client had a bad experience. It just means there was no connection. And if you’re going to be working with someone so closely for an hour or more, there should be a certain level of comfort between you and your client. I’ve spoken with several fresh-out-of-school beauty pros who start to wonder if this is what their career is always going to be like.
And I have some good news: No, it doesn’t have to.
Do what you must do in the beginning. Establish yourself and work on honing your craft. Not many people graduate from school and magically enter the working world knowing what they’re going to love. As you figure out what you love about your job, and as you decide if you want to specialize in a service, over time you’ll attract the right type of clients for you. You will mesh with each other; you’ll get along and be comfortable with one another. And before you know it, they will be referring other people like them to you.
How long this takes to happen will vary, but if you remain focused it will. Now, I wouldn’t be completely truthful if I said this is all you had to do to gain your ideal clientele. There are a few other things you need to do to make this work. And unsurprisingly, a lot of it includes a certain amount of cooperativeness, communication, and understanding on your part.
When I think about cooperation and communication with clients, I always think of one of my best clients who was with me for almost a decade. From the first time we communicated, I could tell she was thoughtful and conscientious about her time and appointments—exactly how I like to be. After getting to know her I realized I would like to have more clients like her.
One day she didn’t show up for her appointment. It wasn’t like her to not call and let me know if she was running late, and I was honestly very worried. I tried to call her, and she didn’t pick up so I left a polite message reminding her about her appointment. My policy was to charge a no-show fee to the credit card on file, but I waived the fee and hoped she was ok.
About a week later she called and explained that she had an unexpected family emergency the day she no-showed, but everything was fine. She wanted to pay the no-show fee but I told her it was unnecessary because I knew that was something she wouldn’t have normally done. I was just sincerely glad she was ok.
By telling you this story I’m not saying you should throw all your policies out the door. What I’m saying is that sometimes it’s ok to make exceptions for the sake of cooperation—you just have to decide what you’re comfortable doing. In this case, I knew waiving the fee was the right thing to do. She appreciated the gesture and sent me many new clients over the years (and yes, they were all like her--fantastic).
If you’re in the early stages of your career, start thinking about who your ideal client is and set yourself up to attract them. And don’t forget that good communication, thoughtfulness, and cooperation are key to both attracting and keeping them.