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10 tips to help you manage your salon’s competition

10 tips to help you manage your salon’s competition

Competition is healthy. It forces innovation and keeps you on your toes so you don’t get complacent. However, it can also be frustrating and stressful, knowing you are losing out on precious revenue to surrounding businesses. 

ProCollective tapped  Liz McKeon, a bestselling author, speaker, salon coach, and founder of the International Salon Business School, for her unique insight on managing the competition in the salon industry. Below, she shares 10 tips and strategies for staying ahead.

Liz McKeon, International Salon Business School

Solicit client opinions to clarify your strengths

Clients come to your salon repeatedly for a reason, so knowing that reason is important to your continued success.  Ask clients to complete surveys, questionnaires or put a focus group together to get a real sense of what everyone likes so much about your salon.  Then, review your reports to establish your top selling services and products.

Knowing what makes your salon special shows you what you need to focus on selling and what you could even drop or forget about selling.  For example, if your clients love a particular skincare item, you can start a marketing campaign to push it even further.

Never underestimate the importance of developing rapport and trust with your clients. Do everything you can to make sure clients trust you, your team and your business, and establish positive professional relationships with your clients.

Run a competitor analysis to find your edge

Ask yourself the tough question: “Why would a client choose that salon instead of mine?” Compare the services and brands that your competition offers.  Is there something that they have that you don’t? Investigate and see if you can find something similar. Look at their advertising to see what their customers are identifying with and observe which social media platforms they advertise on frequently. Look at their online reviews and make sure you score higher. You don’t have control over what makes your competition attractive to others, you just need to have the edge.

Develop your ‘Unique Selling Point’

If you have something your competition can’t replicate, then lean into it.  Figure out what your salon does that the competition simply can’t replicate and consider spending some revenue in promoting this to attract more of your ideal clients.

Fill any gaps in your services

While attending to day-to-day operations, always remain mindful of the big picture.  Compare your offerings to the competition to see what you are missing. If you are offering the same services and products, figure out what you can add to gain competitive advantage.  Ask yourself, if you were a client in your business, what would impress you?

Acknowledge repeat business

Encourage your team to build rapport with new clients and recognise returning clients.  Never underestimate the power of goodwill – the more goodwill you can build with your clients, the more repeat business you will get.  Set up loyalty programmes for repeat business, specific to your salon and your all-important clients, who are the lifeblood of your business.

Cultivate a caring and professional culture

Train your team to be caring, kind and respectful to clients.  Teach them to comfortably sell all your services and products, then you can reward them for doing well.  Look after your employees, as you don’t want them going to the competition. 

Expand your social media presence

Your marketing activities help new clients to find you.  Set up business accounts and encourage clients to like your pages and post reviews.  The more engagement you can cultivate online, the better and always remember to reply to people who comment on your posts.

Give your image a makeover

If you let your image or salon look tired or out of date, what message does that communicate to your clients?  Before it is needed, invest in a makeover, overhaul your company image and branding and make sure your salon is a welcoming environment for clients.

If you also have an online section to your business, the look of your website is everything, as the internet is a very competitive battleground.  Consider giving your website an overhaul as a well organised and efficient website is key to attracting new salon and online customers and maintaining a prominent online presence.

Keep marketing, keep going!

All business strategy is marketing strategy – your ability to attract clients determines your success in business.  Your goal is to position your business in your market as the ‘only’ choice for what you sell.  A great marketing plan attracts a steady stream of clients, it emphasises your ‘unique selling point’ and positions your salon as the first and the best choice in the client’s mind.  Your goal must be to position your business as the ‘only’ choice for your products and services.

Marketing is simply helping people to buy your services and products.  The philosophy behind marketing is to satisfy the needs of every client as best you can while making a profit.  The whole idea is that if you make your clients happy, they will buy from you, not just once, but again and again.

Get used to the idea that marketing never stops.  There are endless choices for marketing activities, such as word of mouth, texting, local press, digital marketing, direct mail, brochures, point of sale material, local radio, outside signage, sponsorship and public relations. Get creative with your marketing and immediately you have a competitive advantage.

Revisit your foundations!

What is the desired ambience of your salon?  Do you reinforce this through effective use of, for example:  music, lighting décor?  Remember to appeal to all the client’s senses.  Think about what the fragrance of your brand is and introduce these aromas to reflect the ambience.  What your clients listen to can influence the amount of time spent in your salon and retail area.  It will also have a direct impact on the amount the client will spend.  Always be able to take pride in the appearance of your business.

Standing out from the crowd is important because clients are savvy and have a lot of choice.  It is necessary that you send out a very clear message that your salon is here, and you are great at what you do.  Learn to positively differentiate your business from your competitors – providing outstanding customer service is the key.

Finally, do everything you can to ensure your clients leave feeling happy, looking forward to returning and happy to recommend your salon.