Level Up And Fill Your Books With Good Clients - Part 1: Attract
Welcome to Part 1 of the three part series: How to Level Up and Fill Your Books With Good Clients. During this Pandemic, we may find ourselves with time and (maybe) the desire to improve our business. This series focusses on ways to improve the quality of the clientele we attract. The series will be broken up as follows:
Part 1: How to Attract
Part 2: How to Confirm / Convert
Part 3: How to Keep Good Clients Being Good Clients
How To Attract
It’s obvious, filling your books with "Good" Clients is the ultimate goal. Ha Ha well DUH, Kady-Jo, I already knew that. Yes, it's a no brainer, we all want to make as much money as possible, as efficiently as possible. Maybe at this point in your career, you just want to have someone, anyone, book in for an appointment.
Why Bother Differentiating? "Any Client Booking is a Good Client Booking"
If you're a lash technician, you are well aware of the stressful parts that come with the job. There are so many variables that change constantly. Your client behaving in a predictable, consistent and cooperative way can help things run smoothly and decrease your stress levels. They say some stress is good because it propels us forward. However, I believe that we must do our best to avoid stress at work to make room for elevating our artistry. Our creative juices are free to flow and there is space to improve our skills when we are not in a fight or flight mode. In a lower stress environment, we have a chance to nurture the artistic side of lashmaking and we can enjoy the emotional benefits that come from creating art. This is why I believe it is absolutely worth our time to make an effort to fill our books with just Good Clients in the first place. Clients who are chipping away at your emotional and mental health are simply not worth your energy and time in the long run. They will contribute to burn out. Burning out is difficult to recover from and does not make financial sense! All the money you made from lashing those difficult clients will never match the amount of emotional and physical stress your body has to recover from when you burn out.
What Does a Good Client Look Like?
Now, what you define as a "Good" Client will vary from person to person but most would agree that it is a client who is:
• reschedules only when absolutely necessary
• cleans and takes care of their lashes at home
• arrives with clean lashes
• respects your boundaries
• respects your prices, pays on time and tips when you deserve it
• has reasonable expectations for the outcome
When you think of what a Good Client looks like, you may envision a doctor, lawyer or other respected and well paid individual but really, when you look at it, Good Clients are just clients who treat you the way you want to be treated. Don’t get hung up on advertising to specialized places or certain groups of people like pilates studios and surgeons.
The one and ONLY client I have ever had to chase down for payment of services and products was a very wealthy individual so… ya! It sometimes isn’t a matter of having an excess of money to pay for the service. Entitled, dishonest, spoiled brats are found all throughout each of the income tax brackets.
Your pricing will determine who will book with you. If you price yourself too low, the customers you will attract are already usually just barely able to afford the luxury service. They will be price sensitive and are likely to abandon you if they find a better deal or you enforce your policies. More on pricing below.
Four Methods to Attract A Good Client
1) Pricing Strategy
The very first thing that improved the quality of the clientele I was attracting was increasing my prices to match the average in my city. It felt like a huge risk - I would lose all of my clients if I increased my prices. I wouldn’t have pictures to use for advertising and I wouldn’t have people to practice on to improve my skills!
Well guess what. Pricing communicates more than one thing to consumers. A low price does not just communicate that it’s a deal, it can communicate that it is risky, that it’s too good to be true or that it’s of poor quality and too dangerous to try. My prices were on a never-ending sale at $40 for a new set and $40 for fills *cringe*. It wasn’t meant for me to break even, I simply needed the experience and I needed the pictures for my portfolio. The clients I was attracting were interested in one time sets and maybe got their lashes filled once or twice before disappearing. To add insult to injury, these clients even had the nerve to HAGGLE on that low low price. Needless to say, I was stressed out because I couldn’t seem to hold on to my clients.
If you need the practice and pictures to start out, consider doing “model sets”. You can do these sets for free, in exchange for their permission to use the pictures or you can charge a “product fee”. This simple change in language can position the service as something the customer was lucky to come across instead of a cheap deal.
You want a client who has the disposable income for a luxury like lash extensions. If they are haggling on price then this may not be the kind of client you need. A client who books you at a low price is usually just barely able to afford this ongoing service, they will be so price sensitive that you can count on them leaving you as soon as they find a better deal or you raise your prices. This kind of client will try to push their fills beyond an appropriate time frame for their lashes, they will try to get away with fill pricing when it should be a full set and overall will abuse your time. Before you know it, you’re working longer hours than ever, for clients who don’t take care of their lashes, don’t tip you and you're hardly covering your costs.
"What if I'm not good enough to raise my prices?"
When I wasn’t as confident in my lashing ability and I raised my prices to average for my area, I started booking clients who I felt were too good for me. So what I did was, I made up for it with the experience. Doing your best to behave professionally in your communications prior to booking, during the service and post service can mean a lot to clients. Keep in mind that a clean studio, a cozy blanket, punctuality and reliability have a dollar value to clients and yes, you may not be the best in the area yet, but you can charge average and higher than average prices if you focus on the intangibles of the service.
TLDR: Raise your prices to match or exceed the average in your city and you will be shocked at the great clientele you begin to attract.
2) Invest in a Booking System
I've said it before and I’ll say it again: Act like a business to be treated like a business. A booking system is not only practical and efficient, it adds credibility and a professional quality to your brand image. My favorite booking system software is Acuity Scheduling. There is a free plan but I upgraded to the plan that includes text message reminders. You can look at my own booking site at lashbaecalgary.as.me .
Investing in a booking system increases bookings in general but it can also help to weed out the bad clients! Providing ample information in your service descriptions, along with the disclaimer that lashes must be maintained every 2-3 weeks communicates that you have rules and policies in place. Just like when you’re attracting a romantic partner, when you have no boundaries or rules, people who like to take advantage of others are attracted like a moth to a flame. Congratulations, you’ve saved yourself hours of stressing out over a bad client. More than that though, you’ve effectively peaked the interest of the Informed Consumer. This kind of Consumer likes to research and evaluate all of their options thoroughly before purchasing. Providing extensive information about each service empowers consumers to make the choice for themselves and feel good about it. You want this kind of client because they take an interest in their lash health and what is going on their face.
Booking sites include an option to send a confirmation email to your client. This is the most valuable tool for starting off on the right foot with a new client. You can personalize this email to include lots of important information. This information can make an okay client a Good Client. This is your chance to start things off the best way possible. The following is information I include in my confirmation emails:
- to avoid wearing mascara or strip lashes for 48 hours before
- to wash lashes and face thoroughly before the appointment
- I include a link to a lash washing video. Feel free to copy and paste this video into your email confirmation templates. It has helped save time on our first appointment and has encouraged good habits and retention for many of my clients https://youtu.be/pKJIoHQVW_U
- to arrive with no makeup on the eyes or face
- to avoid washing hair the morning of and if possible, the day before the appointment
- to avoid any oily products near the eye area that day
- to avoid caffeine if it makes them jittery
- where to park
- the methods of payment available
- when the door will be open and how early they can arrive
- that they should come in and make themselves comfortable in the waiting room and that I will come get them once it’s time for their appointment
- the cancellation policy + fees
- the late policy
Some lash techs have difficulty talking about cancellation and late policies in person. Communicating difficult or awkward things by text or email can be easier for some. I like to include all of the information above in my confirmation email since it’s produced the best behaved clients and we can start their first appointment without having to wash their lashes. People need to know what you want. They can’t read our minds so help them out and let them know what they can do to help things run smoothly.
3) Invest in a Website For Clients
Now some of you will say, “but I already have a booking site”!? Welp, consumers want more. It’s worth the extra effort to make a website for your clients. You don’t need to invest in a web designer, you can create professional websites using platforms such as Go Daddy, Wix or Square Space. The benefit of creating a website is that you have room to communicate to and educate your potential client. You also have a great resource for current clients to refer to.
Like I said earlier, you want an Informed Consumer booking with you. An Informed Consumer is a Good Client. This kind of client will not say to you “I don't care what happens to my natural lashes, just put on as much and as long as possible”. They will trust your judgement and will be satisfied with what you are able to give them. These clients care enough to learn about what happens to their lashes. They won’t blame bad retention on you, they will try to figure out the mystery with you. These clients understand that there are many factors affecting how lashes look and wear on each person.
Additionally, providing educational information on your website can show potential clients that you are knowledgeable. It builds consumer confidence in your brand and service. You can also go into detail about helpful topics such as:
- types of services available and the difference between them
- what to expect at the service
- what lash extensions are
- the technical details of the service
- who is a good candidate for lash extensions
- who you are
- clients like to know who they will be meeting with
If you need help building your website, feel free to use content from my own https://www.beautybeforeallelse.com/
4) Require a Deposit To Book
This may seem like a difficult policy to implement but it works wonders. I remember what it is like to be excited at the hint of a possible new booking. I didn’t require a deposit for a long time. I saw an improvement in new clients when I began requiring a deposit. It doesn’t have to be a big deposit, even $10 can shift client behavior. A deposit protects your livelihood by discouraging no shows and rescheduling but it also weeds out the bad clients. Furthermore, Good clients respect deposits because deposits are a sign of a professional business.
Where to Advertise
The topic today is about attracting the right clients but a quick list of places to advertise are:
- post daily to your feed and your stories
- use the maximum number of hashtags (which is 30) and make them local
- interact, like, follow and comment on pictures of local businesses, potential clients
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- use Google Adwords to appear in the search results when potential clients search for your services in your city
- paid ads
- Community newsletters
I go more in depth into advertising in my courses. I will have an online course for advertising available in the future.
Word of mouth is a great way to advertise but I would suggest, be wary of investing money into encouraging it. From what I have experienced is that, in a saturated market, everyone knows a lash tech and everyone is recommending their mother, cousin, sister in-law and grandma as the best tech in town. When I started out, I offered half off your next fill for a referral. What I ended up with was a lot of cheap, one time clients and I was not breaking even.
My conclusion on word of mouth advertising is that it works best when it is not incentivized. A client who genuinely wants to recommend you to their friends is a Good Client and you want to meet and provide services to the friends of these people because they are likely to be Good Clients too. If you feel the need to thank your client, offer them a discount on their fill after the referral has happened. This way, your client is not motivated by potential savings and the new client is coming to you because your client genuinely believes you offer a great service.
I hope this was helpful! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Part 2 of Level Up and Fill Your Books With Good Clients: Confirm and Convert. If you have questions or need help with any aspect of your lash business, book a mentorship call with me at lashbaecalgary.as.me
Your Lash Bae,