Today's marketing tip is about marketing's second cousin building your clientele. I am very fortunate to have a large, loyal clientele but believe me when I tell you there was no luck involved. Just plain hard work, long hours and sweat equity. I worked today, and before you all go they need to respect our time off, which I totally agree, once in a while you have to break the rules. I have the clientele I have because sometimes I break the rules. The client I did today is the daughter of one of my clients that was only in town for the day from school and needed her hair done. Granted if I had plans that conflicted I would have said so, I didn't, so I worked. She appreciated it and I know her mother did. Feels a whole lot like loyalty to me.
When I was an owner my staff would rarely let me answer the phone because I would book myself into oblivion. They would say, you know they will come in whenever. To which I would respond, I didn't build up the clientele I have by getting them in whenever. I travel, a lot during show season and appointments need to be rearranged. How could I expect my clients to be flexible if I won't be? Many newbie's struggle to build a clientele. I witnessed this firsthand. They want to be busy but won't do what it takes to get busy. It's no different today as I watch the newbie's coming out of school. Come in early? Stay late? What's that? Granted there are exceptions and I have seen those too. I built the clientele I have because I worked hours that were convenient for my clients. Do you think it is my choice to work two nights a week and Saturdays? Heck no, but when are most people available for appointments? Evenings and weekends. You must make yourself available when they are. My clients know I would do just about anything they ask. They have come to trust that in me. Do some take advantage? Every once in a while but they are few and far between. The one thing I never budge on is price, I've learned that the hard way. Most of my clients have been with me over 15 years.
I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my client Geri's wedding
We have been through the best of time and the worst of times. I break the rules about getting personal with clients also. We share so much time together, I see them more often than some of their own family members see them. I always make sure I have something positive to say to them when they spend this valuable time me. I remember listening to Geno Stampora's tapes and he reminds us you are your conversation. When clients leave us make sure it's with a positive story and not a negative one. Make sure they had a warm and fuzzy experience, not a bitch session. Heck they can stay home , or go to work for that. I'm an encourager, I compliment my clients, reassure them they are a good mom, wife, or whatever they are struggling with. The flipside of this coin is I get so much back from my clients by breaking a few rules. When I lost my dad, and my sister, and my marriage fell apart there they were, week after week, making sure I was ok. Sending cards. Skipping the extras so I wouldn't miss the start of a concert. Go be a mom, they would say. I'm quite sure I couldn't have made it through some days without them. I guess what I'm saying is that your people skills are just as important as your technical skills. They go hand in hand. If you are not as busy as you want ask yourself if you go the extra mile, or are cutting the corners.
In Jim Collins book Good to great he reveals the enemy of great, is good. If you are good enough and satisfied with your career being good enough that truly is a stumbling block to greatness. Greatness requires perseverance, and dedication, and practice and compassion and a commitment to doing the right thing, always. I check myself on these skills often and I'm not always on target. But I am on the radar, and when I find myself steering off course I give myself a swift kick in the right direction. To have an amazing, loyal clientele it's worth the effort.