Building a clientele can be daunting at first, but it is something that will eventually come. Sometimes when I teach classes at schools students ask me, how do you build a good clientele? Two key things that you should keep in mind when going about gaining a clientele is consistency and patience. It takes two years to gain a good clientele and it takes 5 years to have a GREAT clientele. So be patient with yourself and remember that all good things come in time. It won’t happen over night but it will eventually come about as you keep working at it.
In my own career I have had to build a clientele twice. Once when I first started my career after cosmetology school and the second time when I left Cleveland which is my hometown to relocate to Los Angeles California. Anytime you relocate you can expect to start over. Even if you relocate to another area within your city you can sometimes expect to lose up to 50% of your original clients. When starting to build a clientele there are a few factors to consider. First you want to consider your location. Where you plan to be and build should be where you plan to stay for a while. Certain areas or demographics will automatically draw to you a certain type of clientele.
Most clients choose a stylist based on convenience. One reason for selecting their new hairstylist is how close or far the stylist is from where they live. Pricing is another factor as to why people choose a particular hairstylist in their area. Salon environment is another important reason why a client would choose to return to receive any services from their stylist. Most people are looking for a warm, friendly, relaxing environment where they get excellent customer service. The next thing you have to consider when building a good clientele is what kind of clients do you want to attract as your book of business.
Are you looking for high-end clients? If so, you have to consider your knowledge, experience, technical skills and products you are going to provide to attract this type of clientele. High-end clients have a lot of expectations when it comes to the quality of service and attention that they will receive when they come to your salon. That includes accommodating them with a peaceful environment, relaxing shampoos, scalp massages, nice robes, clean tools, quality products, professionalism, great refreshments and to be treated with the utmost respect.
If your not certain you want to start out marketing to high-end clientele, then focus on the people withing the community of your local salon. The location of where you would like to start your clientele is very important and will dictate your demographic so choose wisely where you start, because where you start could end up being where you will be for a while.
Secondly you want to sharpen your skills. Always continue to practice. Keep educating yourself and improving the type of services that you offer. Consistently buy new mannequin heads so that you can practice new haircuts. Take advance cutting or coloring classes. Start spending time with other experienced stylists that you admire and who have been in the game for a minute so that they can show you things that you don’t know. All of this will help you in maintaining client retention. When taking in new clients, be sure to give your best service and then follow up with them a few days afterwards to make sure that everything is working out with their hair. If it isn’t, then suggest something that they can try at home and that will improve their experience upon their next visit.
This is a great way to build a positive relationship with your new clients so that it will give them the incentive to come back for additional services. Also when working with a new client you should make sure that you re-book them for their next appointment before they leave. It will let them know that it is a regular thing to do and that you also enjoy them coming back to you as well.
At the end of the day one thing is certain; consistency, discipline, and patience is the best way to create and grow your book of business and retain your clientele.
The real question isn’t when will you have a clientele, it is will you be ready for them when they come.