Standing behind the chair for 27 years, I am proud that I have successfully been able to build a very long lasting clientele. I have been blessed to retain a lot of clients that have been with me since the beginning of my career. Some of my clients have remained with me since I completed beauty school.
Now, you may say this is luck, but I believe there were several factors that contributed to being able to maintain such a long standing book of clients. First, I must clarify, I didn’t keep my long term clients on pure talent alone. I retained them because I have always believed in becoming a master of the relationship first. There were many times, I had to put my client’s needs before my own. This “going the extra mile” mentality has been the key to my success.
There were many times that I had back to back appointments all day long. A lot of us have had this experience. These were the days that I could not wait to go home and see my kids. By evening, I was ready to put my feet up, I was exhausted.
However, then I would get a call from one of my clients desperately needing an appointment. Sometimes these were emergency situations; like a client having an important social function or business meeting where they had to look their best. I could have taken the position that they should have planned better and referred them to someone else. I certainly had a big enough cliental to turn them away.
At these moments, I had to dig deep. I realized that if I had an important function I wouldn’t want to go to someone new. I would want to go to someone I trusted. Likewise, I realized that I was the one being honored with their trust and that had value to me.
I remember taking a last minute appointment for one specific client. It was late in the evening, I was tired, but I went the extra mile for her and guess what? She religiously booked out every month for that year as well as for the next 26 years to follow!
Being flexible is so important when building a business. Equally important are simple things like sending your clients a birthday card or just taking additional time with them. People appreciate it when they feel special and you’re not rushing them out the door. Be sincere in your actions. Take a second to chat when you are finished or give them a hug if they need it, like I do. Little gestures can go a long way in making people feel important rather than like a number you are processing through your business.
Remembering the big events in your client’s life is also a way to communicate that they are special. Take time to ask them about significant events that you are aware of before you even get started. Make your appointment with them personal. This goes a long way.
There are so many things you can do to go the extra mile for your clients, you just have to be willing to do it. Like everyone, I am human and sometimes I can become a bit selfish. It’s easy for any of us to slip into when we are tired. However, I have disciplined myself to be focused on the client. This means I am constantly thinking about how I can make their experience better. The best things about this is the end result; I turn my good business into a great business!