Hairstylist and Owner of ‘The Square’ Hair Salon in Fredericksburg
An American Board Certified Colorist and Redken Certified Colorist, Salon Plaza has just awarded April Baxter as the Member of the Month for July. This October, she will have owned her Studio Salon with Salon Plaza for 5 years.
Here’s April’s story on how she chose Salon Plaza and became one of our most prosperous Member Salon Owners.
Second Baby Means Big Changes
For about 6 years I’d been doing hair at a salon that I really liked. And when my second child came along, what I really needed was more flexibility. That’s why I started looking for other options.
It wasn’t long before my friend Kate, a stylist at Salon Plaza, said –
“Come over here and just see it.”
I was scared. It was so different from the big salon where I’d been comfortable for a long time. Could I even make a go of it with my own salon? Would my clients be happy? Maybe they wouldn’t like it there. And I worried,
“If all my clients leave me, then what will I do?”
But then again, nobody gains anything without taking chances.
What Actually Happened
My relationships with my clients became much closer. More than a working relationship, we became friends. Now we’re happier all the way around. Originally, my goal was to stay at Salon Plaza until my daughter reached kindergarten, which is this year. So I asked my clients what they thought about me going back to a big salon, and they said,
“No, we like it here. There’s more privacy.”
They love the privacy, flexibility and the chance to get more done. For instance, a new mom can bring her baby and save money on a sitter. Or double-task and attend a meeting or get work done using her computer. They wouldn’t be able to do that in a busy, noisy, traditional salon.
In my private studio, they can come during the workweek rather than waste a Saturday getting their hair done. For me, it means I can reserve Saturdays for those who live far away. I work around their schedule, and they work around mine.
What Clients Love About April Baxter
I’m a miracle worker with hair – that’s what they tell me. Most of my clients have been with me for a long time and already have healthy hair. Once in a while, they might need me to fix someone else’s mistake.
A few weeks ago, a naturally dark-haired woman came in with a silver-blond look. Her friend had done her hair, and it was breaking off. Over the next two months I restore her hair, and now she’s a nice silky soft, silvery blond. She got the FUN look she wanted!
Creating Financial Security
I’m as busy as I want to be. My clients are the best. They are so sweet, I really take care of them and in turn they take care of me. On the rare occasion when someone needs to reschedule, it’s fine – sometimes a break is welcome. I’m very rarely sitting and waiting.
Knowing that a good haircut is really crucial, my clients refer me often. We all covet our friends. To have a client recommend to me someone they truly care about is flattering, and I’m grateful. I thank them with an excellent referral bonus:
For each referral, the new guest receives $10 off her first appointment and my client who gave the referral receives $10 off her next appointment.
The key to a referral is to understand that you are being given the chance to gain a new, repeat guest. When this happens, it makes the $10 + $10 referral program a profitable business-builder for any salon professional. IF your new client becomes a regular guest, that is.
Here’s my secret to building repeat business…
5 Steps to Building Loyal Relationships with Clients
I’m passionate about the comfort of my guests. With a new client especially, make sure you are being truly attentive. Remember the first time you walked in somewhere for a new service? It can be uncomfortable meeting someone one for the first time. Keep communication open.
If you’re running late, let them know with a text. Ask yourself, “How would I want to be treated?” and do likewise.
When they arrive, greet them warmly, make good eye contact and use their name. This shows you appreciate them coming in. Take time to show them where the bathroom is and how the light works. Offer them a clean robe so their shirt won’t get wet and show them where to change. This is all about getting the client prepared for their consultation and service.
2. Understand Their Basic Hair History
Starting with the consult, ask questions like…
- How much time do you take to get ready in the morning?
- What kind of lifestyle do you have?
- Are you a stay at home mom or do you get up at 5 to get to work on time in D.C.?
- Are we just touching up what you have or do you want a whole new look?
- What exactly about your hair are you not liking?
The point is, I want them to like their hair. Google makes it so you don’t need those stilted, outdated hair magazines. Instead, look at images on Google to get ideas.
Clients often want what the celebrity has. But celebrities can have 20 different hairstyles. So just grab your phone and look at a couple of things to get an idea of what your guest is looking for, even if she can’t visualize it yet.
3. Set Expectations Fully
Let them know upfront how much it’s going to cost, how long will it take, and the necessary maintenance – will she need to come in monthly or just a few times a year? Provide them with all of the info so they know what to expect. People are really busy and their money is stretched in a thousand ways.
I’m all about the Reality of the look. I price quote my clients in the beginning about costs that day and over the long run. That way there’s no sticker shock – we make and keep an agreement.
We’re all here to help each other. This mindset keeps relationships smoother. I teach them what to use and how to touch up their roots, or how to trim their kids’ bangs. When you treat others they way they want to be treated, this builds loyalty.
4. Teach as You Serve
Let them know what you are doing, such as this is your base color, this is your highlights. Check out my next post for more about the SCIENCE of hair – it will establish you as the expert in your client’s eyes.
Be sure to take an interest in their family life, and their challenges, hopes and dreams. Remember, it’s about THEM, not you.
5. Looking FABULOUS Between Appointments
While your guest is admiring her new look, show her how to style it and what she’ll need to keep it looking good. Selling products is a service to your client and saves them time. Some would rather purchase where they can get a discount, so I tell them where they can get it.
We end with booking the next appointment. This makes sure they can get in when the time is right. Otherwise, they may be waiting two weeks or more. Almost all of my clients books their next visit before they leave. I highly suggest you encourage the same.
To make an appointment with April Baxter, owner of The Square Hair Salon in Fredericksburg, VA, call – (540) 455-5646
If you are a Salon Professional in Virginia or Maryland, why not discover if this can be
Your “Suite” Spot of Ownership…
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