Be proud to say, "I am the professional!"

Dave Horton offers advice on ensuring clients see you as the best in the business.

Dave Horton ABT In this article, I'm going to talk about how your clients see you. As far as your customers go, you can split them into different categories: loyal clients, new clients and potential clients. Whichever you are dealing with, in every appointment, they need to know that you are a professional.

Are you thought of as being trustworthy to deliver the latest treatments safely and effectively? Will clients enjoy their appointment and want to rebook? Is yours considered the salon to visit in your area for a specific treatment?

Highlight to existing, new and potential clients that, as an ABT Member, not only are you qualified to a national level, or that any ABT accredited courses you have undertaken have been approved and endorsed by the largest beauty and insurance membership provider in Ireland. ABT Membership demonstrates that you have met the strict criteria required to be insured to practice as a professional, and enhances your credibility as a salon, or mobile stylist, therapist or nail technician.

As an ABT Member you are exclusively entitled to use the ABT logo on your treatment menus, website and marketing materials to show your professionalism. ABT branded window stickers as well as pin badges to wear on your uniform are also available.

Your Loyal Clients

When you have clients who visit you every month, or more frequently, for regular treatments or services, it's very easy to become complacent; they have come to you for years, their appointments with you are all pre-booked weeks in advance, and they treat their visits to you as a social experience. Fantastic, they think you're great, your work's done. No! 

As a professional, your knowledge and skill set is sure to grow. Make sure you let your regulars know about new qualifications you've gained, workshops you've attended and new skills you have under your belt. It may be for a treatment or service they haven't heard about, so have information they can take away with them, and use social media to highlight the new treatments you now offer. As loyal clients it's likely they'll be following you on at least one of your channels, so DM them to entice them to try your new service with a special offer.

If you've recently joined ABT, let your regular clients know as an endorsement of your qualifications. Be proud to shout about how good you are!  

Your New Clients

Your relationship with any new client who walks through your doors, or you walk through theirs if you work mobile, needs to be nurtured. Not only are they expecting results from their first treatment or service with you, but their whole experience – including how they judge you – will determine whether or not they rebook or return.

First impressions count, and what they see of you when you first greet them is important. Be confident, but not overbearing, so they know you are the professional and can have confidence in you. Understand that a treatment they are unfamiliar with may cause them some anxiety. Ensure you are customer-focused and have empathy towards them; they should feel that you care about them as an individual, not just someone paying for a service. 

Beauty therapist with Laser machine
First impressions count, and what they see of you when you first greet them is important. Be confident, but not overbearing, so they know you are the professional and can have confidence in you.
Completing a Client Consultation form with every client, which has appropriate professional branding, shows that you know to follow appropriate protocol, another form of professionalism. Discuss their expectations of the treatment or service, and manage these appropriately. 

You can further highlight your professionalism by telling you're fully qualified to perform the treatment or service and therefore they're in safe hands, for example, “I'm a qualified Dermalogica Expert and so will be using products from the Dermalogica range for your facial today.” 

Your Potential Clients

Ensuring any potential new clients see you as a professional really comes down to your marketing. Don't make the mistake of thinking that promoting your business is just advertising treatments. Of course, you want to tell potential new clients about the great services they can book with you, but that's also what every other salon or spa is doing. Consider why a client should book an appointment with you rather than your closest competitor. What sets you apart from those other businesses, and use these USPs, or Unique Selling Points, in your promotions. 

You need to show potential new clients that are you and the team you work with are highly trained and professional, which is where being an ABT Member is such a bonus; use this as a USP over competitor businesses.

In your marketing, whether that's on social media, e-newsletters or in the salon, explain why your treatments are outstanding, for example you use a superior brand of product and why, or you have XX years' experience, and that you are an ABT Member.

Think wider than traditional or social media marketing to showcase your professionalism. Get involved in any events within your community that give you an opportunity to meet potential new clients and highlight your expertise. For example, is a local school or church holding a charity fashion show where you could volunteer to work on the models' hair or make-up? Take treatment menus, flyers and/or a branded pull-up banner with you as forms of promotion. 

In addition, taking part in industry competitions is a great way of highlighting your level of skill. Professional competitions in nails, make-up, hair and barbering take place in Ireland and internationally, usually at trade exhibitions. Remember to share your participation widely on social media, and if you're successful, let the local press know. 

In conclusion, you need your loyal, new and potential clients to see you as a professional, the expert they go straight to, the person who will give them the best advice to meet their treatment needs, and someone they want to return to time and again. 

Dave Horton is Director of ABT, the industry's leading membership and insurance provider representing over 18,000  beauty and hair professionals.