The Top 3 Facebook Salon Fan Page Mistakes

The Top 3 Facebook Salon Fan Page Mistakes

The “Behind Schedule” Cure

The “Behind Schedule” Cure
Douglas Preston
salon spa equipment
You know the story: no matter what you do, somehow you, or your employees if you have them, find a way to get behind on appointment timing. And while there’s little you can do when a late client or coworker backs you up, this late problem seems to have a mind of its own–you just can’t keep up with the clock.

Time management is a big problem for spa professionals and those who employ them, the consequences of which are well known: angry clients, annoyed colleagues and supervisors, and lost income. Your business reputation will suffer; clients will defect to other spas and take their referral power with them. Everyone pays, and all for a problem that’s not too difficult to fix–if you want to. I know of a hair salon that offered a free service to clients if their stylist ran more than 15-minutes behind schedule, yet never came up with a plan for staying on time. The company had to drop the policy after being bled white from comped services. It takes more than a promise to be timely–you must have a method.

In my years as an employer and trainer of estheticians and body therapists, one thing was consistently evident: that beauty and post-graduate schools stress technique much more than expedience and efficiency. Most of the technicians we hired had previously practiced by feel: that is, according to the pace that was comfortable for them. And while that approach may seem logical, even correct, it ignores some very substantial realities about the business of personal services: that time and money do matter in the survival of a spa or salon. One must realize that a service must be performed in the time allowed for it; we can’t stretch the hour, so must learn to work and work well within its limits.

Whether you are a practicing therapist or manage them, you’ll find our treatment protocol model a valuable tool for your use. The graphic guide helps the esthetician or body therapist follow the sequential steps of a treatment while remaining mindful of the clock (see diagram below). I’ve provided a model for a basic facial that can be customized to fit any of your own treatments and time allowances; the same format can be used for body, nail, and other multi-step services. Using the diagram can help you learn the feel of staying on track; if you’re training new staff members, you can simply observe them as they perform the routine on a model as detailed in the protocol. Once training is complete, the treatment guide can be kept nearby on a counter and referred to as needed to fully master the steps and the timing. This is especially helpful for not only new staff members, but also when you introduce new services to your team.

When using this method for the first time or when training therapists, you’ll notice some of the more common causes for late-running appointments. Look for places where one commonly becomes “stuck” in a procedure, such as taking too long with cleansing and rinsing of the skin, or a facial massage that runs on and on. You may also discover that the treatment room itself–the location of products and tools, etc.– actually impedes the service “flow”. If a technician has long reaches to water and supplies they may find it difficult to maintain a smooth pace during an appointment. Consider making changes in rooms that hinder the tasks at hand.

It’s important for therapists to understand that a treatment can be adjusted to meet the needs of individual clients and their conditions. An exfoliation may be shortened or extended depending on need, massage may be abbreviated to accommodate a deeper focus on extractions, and so forth. The various segments of treatment in the training guide should be seen as flexible (wherever possible), to be altered as circumstances, including a tardy client, require. Therapists who adhere to a rigid interpretation of a treatment protocol are set up to fall behind, and often. This is especially true for new or relatively inexperienced professionals who will not feel comfortable making independent changes in procedures. Allow for lots of practice time, and if you have staff, supervise these sessions so you can see where timing issues crop up.

But perhaps the key to maintaining timely service output, beyond training, is in making a firm commitment to being on time. Bad habits can be difficult to break so better to start on the right foot. For those managing a team, lead the way and then show that you’re serious about your expectations. Be consistent or you’ll lose the cooperation.

Using this facial training guide you can easily teach yourself and others how to think through a treatment cycle with better precision and less stress. Your customers will appreciate the commitment to service excellence!

salon spa equipment

Download your own blank version of the image above to customize here.

Best of luck to you.

BEWARE: Salon Spa Email Scam

BEWARE: Salon Spa Email Scam!
Christopher Brazy
salon spa email scam
We received a call last month, it was our dream client! It in reality was almost our worst nightmare! Here’s how the scam works.

Someone calls saying they would like to book some appointments. They’re for quite a few out of town guests and want whatever you’ve got. Wonderful! Your biggest multi-service package for half a dozen people. And even better it’s during the weekday. Just when we needed it most, too. He pays in advance via a check which he overnights. Sounds great, right?

Just before the appointments he calls and says there’s some terrible emergency and he has to cancel (everyone was in a car accident on the way over). What horrible news! Obvisouly, he won’t be able to make it in. He wants to know if you could refund via MONEY ORDER fedex’d to him right away.

Notice the scam? He paid with a FAKE check that you won’t know about for a few weeks. He wants a MONEY ORDER for a refund.

So how do you avoid this?

Well, watch out for this or any other “too good to be true” story.
Next, get a call back number. He couldn’t provide one to us.

You should also ALWAYS be only holding appointments with a credit card. You don’t have to take the money, but it will help avoid no-show and scam clients. You can even take a small deposit from it for groups to make sure it’s valid.
And the obvious, you don’t return money you don’t have yet.
With these practices in place (make sure your front desk staff is following your policies and not cutting corners) you’ll be safe and can avoid these type of scams.

10 Website Tweaks for your Salon Spa

10 Website Must-Dos
Christopher Brazy

Would you like your website to be a cash-cow? We’ve all seen the top 10 website mistakes, but they don’t get into purpose. We put up sites as glorified business cards without considering the reason and potential of our sites.

1 – Your website should have a PURPOSE. What is it for? To define your difference (USP)? To sell GCs? To educate? To book appointments? To build your e- mail list? Decide what you want it to do and make sure it does it well.

2 – You contact info should be easily found on any page (i.e. your PHONE number).

3 – Your website can produce income by allowing for an instant GC purchase, take advantage of it.

4 – Your website should collect emails so you can market to online shoppers.

5 – Your website should promote your USP, what you do that no one else does.

6 – Testimonials should be showcased online (text, audio & video).

7 – Your guarantee should be showcased.

8 – You should personalize your site with pictures of yourself and your staff along with some history.

9 – Utilize a headline to prompt people to read more.

10 – Create an irresistible offer with a call to action.

So your website should be similar to your ads. Use headlines, differentiate yourself, use testimonials and pictures of yourself. Utilize it’s list building and GC sales capabilities. Let people know about your guarantee so they feel safe to purchase and put your phone number there so they know how to get ahold of you!

Now, set aside time on your calendar to take a good look at your site. Better yet, find someone good/cheap that can take your instruction and revamp it for you. Set a goal of THIS WEEK to spend 1 hour to get it started.

Should Your Salon Spa Offer A Guarantee?

Win BIG with guarantees
Christopher Brazy

What would you do if someone called in to complain? Would you give them their money back? Would you offer another service? If so, you have a guarantee. Are you benefiting from it by advertising it or are you just offering it without benefiting from it?

People are nervous about something new. They are unsure if they’ll be happy. They are worried if it’ll be worth it. If the service/item is more of a luxury they are especially concerned that they’ll be getting their moneys worth.

With all these worries, how do we ever make the sale? Well, sometimes we don’t. It could be often we don’t! We don’t know what has never called or come in. So how do we change this and make the sale? We take away the worry.

A guarantee takes away all worries. By removing the risk people will buy. But it has to be a REAL guarantee. Not “if we don’t fix the problem” but a 100% no questions asked money back guarantee. Personally, if someone isn’t happy with my service, I don’t want their money.

Offering this take a leap of faith …set yourself apart, take the leap.

Try something like these:
“If you’re not completely satisfied, neither are we, your day will be on us”
-or-
“100% no questions asked, good as gold guarantee.”

There’s worries on our end that all the penny pinchers and complainers will frequent us to take advantage of us. I’m not saying this won’t happen. I’m saying the EXTRA business we WILL get because of our guarantee will more than offset anyone who complains to get something for free.

You’ll most likely get a new client/week (if not per day) and will RARELY see a complaint asking for a refund. Regardless of any small worries we have (90% of what we worry about never happens), leave your worries behind and advertise your guarantee so everyone knows about it. Be proud of it! Show that you are so confident in the experience you provide you stand behind it. People will flock to you because of it.

Take action now by deciding what’s the best way to get the word out.

How to Eliminate Your Salon Spa’s Competition

Be Competition-Free with a USP
Christopher Brazy

Would you like to be competition-free? Do so by differentiating yourself. Actually, if you don’t differentiate, you will be seen as a commodity, the same as everyone else. When given a commodity the only way the client knows how to differentiate is by price. Your USP (unique selling proposition) will set you apart and remove you from the price wars.

Dyson vacuums did this really well. “The vacuum that doesn’t lose suction.” They took a problem and made it their specialty. Not only that, but this implies that all other vacuums DO lose suction. Money is tight, but people still CHOOSE to pay HUNDREDS more for a Dyson. They were educated on the difference.

If you don’t have a USP, which is more than a tag-line or slogan (i.e. relax). “Relax” says nothing about you. Develop your USP now. It should be at the forefront of all your advertising/marketing. Since a USP is unique, I can’t tell you what yours is. I can tell you how to make one though.

Go through the list and figure out where your strengths are. What’s your spa’s name? (notice FaceLogic doesn’t offer massages). Start by compiling a list of what you do that is different. What is your position in the marketplace? Do you have an affinity or relationship to any groups? Do you have a hidden benefit or added-value no one else does? Do you creatively solve any client problems/concerns? Can you get a celebrity endorsement? What’s your guarantee? What message do you want to send? Something owner- centered (based on credentials/celebrity)? Service/Procedure centered (great for niches, specific treatment)? or Client centered (result-oriented, emotional ties, WIFM)? Look over the list and see what sets you the furthest apart from the rest. Look at what is in highest demand. Look at what your competition is doing. Decide what will be your USP.

For example, at your spa you offer botox, laser hair removal, massages, same-ol’, same-ol’, blah, blah, blah (the same laundry list of services everyone else offers …see why listing this in your ads is deadly?). You also have gotten REALLY good at treating Acne, are a no- tipping spa and have staff that’s been with you for 10 years. There’s 3 other places that treat acne in town, plus you do a lot of massage business, so that’s out. Everyone else accepts tips, plus people love a bargain, so you choose to go with that and add on your guarantee info. You come up with: “Keep your money – No tips allowed, guaranteed”

Not the best, but the best I could come up with in 10 minutes. Now you try it. Then sleep on it and look it over the next day. Think about it all week. Ask your staff and a few clients what they prefer. Tweak it but don’t sit on it forever, give yourself a five day deadline (no one takes action without a deadline). A mediocre idea that is out working will bring in more that a perfect idea that never gets implemented.

Set yourself apart now. Get out of the price wars. Take action. Let us know what you come up with in five days.

How to Make MORE As A Salon Spa Owner

STOP being the lowest paid person in your spa.
Christopher Brazy

Do you know many spa owners are not making it? Most are barely seeing a profit, and of those who say they are do so by working for free. Realistically, if we’re not all losing money, we’re certainly not making what we could be. Does our staff sympathize with us? NO. Actually, if they know of your worries they’d be gone that same day.

How did this happen? I feel it’s because of salons. The first spas started in salons, and a stylist most often makes 50%. When they added on a massage room they offered the same pay. What they forgot to notice was that the therapist (compared to the stylist) does NOT have a following of a few hundred people that would bring new business to the spa.

Instead of an asset, therapists are liabilities. They often don’t reschedule their clients, are scared to death of retail sales, their room takes up 10x the space of a hair chair AND there are product costs, yet they get the same pay.

The more spa you have, the higher your expenses are. There are also expectations with a spa. You need to provide an experience. Staff must be more thoroughly trained. You need ROOMS. You need tea. You have laundry. With all the extras (including a WOW factor) needed for a spa, with salon style pay, you’re already in the negative doomed to bankruptcy.

It’s not you, it’s the model. Drop the salon model. Start a spa model. Equate the expenses involved in running a spa into a business plan. You’ll find a very high percentage of your sales income will be already eaten up BEFORE you even get to staff pay.

Let’s say you’ve got 60% in expenses before you pay for staff and yourself. Well, that leaves 40% for you and your staff to split. Obviously if you paid 50% you’d be losing money. If you paid 40% you’d be working for free. How much do you want to make? Investors of hard money (cash) expect a HIGH (30+%) return within 30 days. A cash advance from your credit card company expects over 60% back within half a year. What are you making for your investment? Are you even making payments, paying back your investment? (I bet not). You should be, and with interest. That’s before you even lift a finger working. How much would it take you to hire a manager to fill your shoes? What about health insurance or God forbid, retirement/profit?

Treat it like a business. Pay yourself like you should be. Then see what there is for staff. We’ve seen franchise places promise 50% and end up paying $8/hour, $5/hour (below min. wage), even $3/hour (yes, literally). They have requirements and loopholes and if you figured out their pay hourly (i.e. $300 for 100 hours) you’d see how low it is.

So don’t be scared to change staff pay. Be scared of going out of business. How can you care for your staff if you’re not around? How can you care for your family if you’re working 80 hours/week? How can you care for your clients when you’re filled to the brim with stress? Setup a pay plan that is fair to staff ($20+/hour AFTER tips seems MORE than fair to me!) and allow yourself to be fairly compensated for your time AND investment.

Salon Spa Equipment WARNING

Equipment WARNING
Christopher Brazy

Thinking of purchasing a new piece of equipment? Do you figure on it being the first in town to offer this hot new service that everyone is dying to get? This can be the WORST decision you could make if you don’t follow the guidelines below first.

Does equipment make you money?
It’s VERY easy to fall into a bad equipment situation. This can happen a few different ways. Either we get caught up in the hype of the “latest” gadget thinking it’ll bring us business, OR fall prey to a salesperson at a tradeshow OR we feel it’s necessary to complete our vision of our dream spa. RESIST the temptation to fall for any of these. A sure way to make LESS is by spending MORE which is what you want to avoid.

The Latest thing, but will it bring you money?
Getting a new piece of equipment is exciting. It offers hope. It allows for more and different types of sales. You want it and more importantly, your clients want it…at least, that’s what you believe.

We watch Oprah, and she spotlights some exciting new technology and it’s the new buzz word and possibly even the talk of the town. You’d like to be the first (and possibly only due to its hefty price tag) spa to offer it. You believe clients will RUSH to your door with money in hand. THAT would be great, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. I’m sorry, I wish it did, but I’ve never been one to sugar coat things or say things that you want to hear just to get your money. I am here to tell you how it is and this is how it is. Equipment doesn’t produce sales, YOU do.

A local doctor bought the brand new thermage unit and advertised “as seen on Oprah” and ended up giving away procedures for half off to try to move them. I also know of a spa owner that bought a microcurrent unit and then sold it unused 6 months later for half price. And these are just 2 of many examples of equipment that didn’t produce sales as hoped. Just look at all the used “unused” merchandise out there. People buy it thinking that it will produce sales, and it doesn’t. Sales come from people, not equipment.

Beware of the “income” sales chart
Salesmen are great people, the best. They’re always outgoing, friendly, the kind of person you’d like to hang out with …this helps them do their job. They do their best to get you caught up in the hype (this is especially effective at trade shows). Ironically the worst thing you could do at a trade show is browse the show floor looking at all the goodies to buy, but that’s another story.

I’ve even noticed that the sales message is online via “sales charts.” They do what most spa owners do. They multiply the cost of treatments by the number of hours in a day and show you that you can make $200/hour, 10x/day and that’s $730,000/year!!! Just by spending $10,000 on their microderm unit. What they forget to mention is the COSTS. Such as the person performing the service, the cost of the room since it won’t be able to do other services, credit card processing fees and MOST importantly …a dose of REALITY! Where would you get all those clients??? Just because you can treat X many people/day doesn’t mean you will.

The “Vision”
The deadliest of all traps, is our “vision” of our dream spa. Since it comes from us, from within, it’s hard to see as a potential danger.

Many feel the need to be a “one stop shop” offering EVERYTHING. So you need to offer massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, hair, wraps, waxing …and of course we shouldn’t turn away money so let’s also offer hydrotherapy, and vichy showers, a steam shower, mud baths, microderm, laser hair removal, photofacials, non- surgical facelifts, botox, etc., etc., etc.

Wraps are a good example. They require a wet room. A wet room is VERY expensive, tile, plumbing, green board and of course the actual multi-head shower or hydro-tub. The treatments are top dollar and just incredible. However, no one wants them. They’re requested maybe monthly. Factor in the cost of the caregiver, product, equipment and buildout of the room and it would take DECADES to break even. Whereas if you offered massages there you could turn it into a money maker for you. Don’t offer services until you’ve crunched the numbers on them to find out if they’re viable.

To sum up, the simple version is keep your costs down if you want to keep your profits up. The longer version is that it is NOT the equipment that people buy from. People don’t run up and hand over money because have this or that piece of equipment. “Your clients buy from you, what you recommend, because they like and trust you. So why not recommend something that doesn’t have a $10,000 price tag associated with it?” Now that you know the common scenarios where owners get caught, you can avoid them and save thousands in the process.

The WRONG Way to Advertise Your Salon Spa

Why traditional advertising doesn’t work
Christopher Brazy

The HIGH expense and LOW return of traditional advertising is what KILLS small businesses. Seeing your money go out for advertising but not seeing any results back in can not only be emotionally devastating but can cause crippling stress watching things spiral downhill and not know how to stop it. Fortunately, now you’ll know what to do about it.

Brand Advertising, the business killer
Most small business owners don’t start out as they should with enough money set aside to advertise (and everything else) for 2 to 5 years. So instead of a steady stream of advertising attracting new clients, they try things haphazard on limited budgets, or credit cards, and are inconsistent. THIS inconsistency is what the ad reps will tell you is the reason why your advertising isn’t working. RUBBISH (did I just say “rubbish”?).

Consistency is crucial in advertising, but if your ad doesn’t work once, what makes you think it’ll work after many times? Well, you could answer that it takes them a while to recognize your name and act on it. I’d also agree with that. Many advertisers will even tell you not to expect results before 6 months! (who can afford that?). We personally saw people walk past our spa over and over again, saying its name out loud, but not walking in until weeks later.

The real problem is the type of advertising you’re doing. Traditional, brand advertising, with your name up top and a list of services. Bad idea. It doesn’t work.

Branding takes decades
Huge companies like Coke and McDonalds do brand advertising. They advertise again and again and again on radio (all stations), television, print, billboards, etc. etc. etc. They have the money to waste on that type of advertising. As small business owners with limited budgets, we need results!

Instead of taking decades to establish “top of the mind awareness” to get people to call us, we need quick results. Many franchises will come in and FLOOD the airwaves with ads to establish themselves as a brand in a short period of time, but they typically have budgets of $10,000 per station per month and many of us can’t afford that. Who’s got $50k/month to put out there for half a year until we start getting the huge payoff?

The Same ol’ Same ol’
So what do we need? A UNIQUE advertising strategy that is efficient, affordable and that gets RESULTS.

STOP doing the same thing everyone else is doing.

STOP putting your name front and center.

STOP making a laundry list of services that looks IDENTICAL to everyone else’s.

START with an effective system in-house that will get clients to spend more, more often and refer you (why bring in more people when we’re not ready to handle them properly?).

START using headlines, these should be front and center. Like a newspaper, this is what will grab your prospects attention and convince them to read further.

START using testimonials, what others say about you is VERY powerful.

START giving them a reason to come to you. Your USP (unique selling proposition) should be a main part of your message. Always be thinking “what’s in it for them?”

START hooking people by using irresistible offers and unique approaches aside from traditional marketing. “Make them an offer they can’t refuse” to close the deal and get them to call.

START tracking everything you do (cost vs. return) to see if it’s worth doing again. Don’t do anything without tracking the effectiveness of it to see how it paid off.

START using deadlines to get people to take action NOW.

So to sum up, catch their interest with a headline, promote your USP, back it up with testimonials and then close it with an irresistible offer.

This type of direct response campaign will get results MUCH quicker than traditional brand advertising. Someone sees an ad, they act on it and you track it, refine it and run it again. It turns into a game of what can you change to get better results.

Plan out your year and be ready for things in advance. Forget about trying to brand your name. A steady stream of new paying clients that refer you to their friends is waiting for someone to step up to the plate and treat them right. Your name will be branded into their spa experience by you directly once you get them through your door.

How 1 Bad Apple can RUIN Your Salon Spa

The EFFECT of Bad Apples
Christopher Brazy

The EFFECT of Bad Apples We all heard that “one bad apple can ruin the bunch” but how does that really affect us? Are you on the watch for them? Here’s how they’ve affected us in our own spa.

Client Effect
We had a talented massage therapist, came from one of those elite national resort spas, who’d been around for about a year or so, let’s call her “Mindy.” Mindy was at a new point in her life, she was getting married! This was a big step for her (as it always is). She was stressed about the planning, stressed about the relationship, stressed about the decision. So in the treatment room, instead of listening to the client, she did all the yapping. Went on about her life, which led to complaining about it, then about her job, she began losing focus on the client and the end result? A horrible massage. People were leaving MORE stressed than before they arrived! And to our (eventual) horror, no one told us! Some good friends of ours just quit coming and then months later eventually let us know why they had been gone.

If you aren’t keeping your clients, after going through all the expense of getting them, and are allowing another spa to step up to the plate and take them off your hands, you’re in a situation that’s worse than financial. You’re reputation is at stake, and that’s vital.

Spa Effect
Just recently we had one of those huge health club spas open up. One of our caregivers (Cinderella) applied there and was excited to be making a change (the “grass is greener” syndrome). Unfortunately she let this exciting news spread to the other staff. Now what do we have? Mutiny (ha!). Even the seasoned, long-term staff have fallen prey to Cinderella’s dream. Now not only do we have staff that is down in the dumps about being here, but they ALL are contemplating leaving. Never mind that the “dream pay” club-spa has gone from $10/hour plus 50% down to $9/hour and 20%, it’s still the greener pasture that they’re all heading to. And those that will stay on, insteaf of focusing on other perks and benefits, now have a feeling of being underpaid.

Another time we had someone who started their own business and was whining daily about the cost of advertising, not being able to afford his rent, how slow it was (welcome to the owners shoes), whine, whine, whine. The staff HATED coming into work if he was going to be there. No one wanted to be around him since he was such a downer.

We’ve even known of a single stylist stealing an entire salons staff (and client list!).

ALWAYS be on the lookout for staff that is unhappy. Speak with them immediately and identify if this is just a bad week or a serious issue. If they’re affecting the other staff, remove them instantly. Don’t worry about what you’ll do without them, worry about what will happen with them.

Bottom Line Effect
When we were located in the mall and open 80 hours/week, we were always under pressure to have staff available to take clients. The problem was (as always) there wasn’t enough business to keep the staff happy to hang around for it. So we would end up hiring not necessarily the best match for us. This was a double whammy. They’d have a bad effect on clients, and have a bad effect on staff. These explosive time bombs are just waiting to tear down all you’ve built up. Lesson learned?

“Never hire just anyone to try to cover your books. It’s better to go without and turn away business than to bring in the wrong people who will single handedly destroy your business.”

The cost of losing a client is horrendous. While it takes hundreds and hundreds of dollars to get just one new client if we’re not keeping them and turning them into regulars, we’re on a sinking ship.

The cost of losing employees is equally devastating, if not more so. Recruiting and training is expensive. Caregivers typically turnover every 6 months anyway, which is too often in the clients eyes. Having them leave sooner (either their or our choice), and possibly take people with them or damaging the spa in other ways takes considerable time and resources to rebuild.

So to sum up, watch out! We put these actions and consequences into our contracts and have “insider” long-term staff to keep us informed (they hate to tell on each other) and up to date. We also train our managers to stay in daily contact with them to make sure they’re performing as they should. Secret shopping is another way to find out what’s going on behind closed doors to keep you informed. Find ways to stay in constant contact with your staff. Once a problem is identified, immediately either fix it or let them go. The effect of keeping them on, to your reputation, clients, staff and bottom line is huge if you don’t.