If you’re familiar with my writing, you’ll know I get straight to the point. So let’s get to it. This piece is a precursor to an event that Spa Analytics will be hosting all over the country starting in 2017. The event is titled “The Details That Matter” for this specific reason.
When starting a business, we tend to want to focus on the material things like business cards, brochures, websites and decorations for our space. All this stuff is great! All this stuff is fun because it allows us to show our creativity. It is literally a physical item that we can say “this is what I’ve been dreaming of.” Unfortunately for some this is as far as it goes.
Business cards, brochures, menus, website, and room decorations are not enough to be in business. Nothing counts until we have made a sale.
When we provide personal services in the industry of massage, hair, esthetics, nails, etc. it’s very easy to want to rely on friends and family to make our first few sales. But that can only last so long. Eventually, we need to get strangers to pay us. Not every sale is going to come in the form of a referral. And unless we have unlimited time and resources available to build our businesses, growing at a snail’s pace via referrals just isn’t going to cut it. Expenses will continue to accumulate whether we have 100 clients or 1.
When working with clients, my objective is to find out what their goals are. Find out whether they’re looking to just be an independent sole proprietor or if they’re looking to grow to a 5,000 sq ft full service spa with 25 staff members to support. I find this information out because it’s important to then use that information to assess the level of investment needed to achieve the stated goals. While it’s true a one man/woman show doesn’t require nearly as much as a large scale spa, the details that matter are still the same.
The first detail is Client Acquisition. How are you acquiring new clients? When you get a lead, whether it’s through social media, your website, walk-in, email campaigns, or direct mail, how are you turning that lead into a paying customer? How are you tracking these leads? Who is your target and how will you reach them? When you reach them, what should they expect in terms of service? Whose responsibility is it to reach out to them? How often will you follow up with them until the sale is made? These are the details many independent owners are not prepared with.
When you are working alone without other people to absorb some of these components, it becomes critical to outline these details for yourself. It’s not different for the large spa owner. The expectations you have of your team should be clearly communicated so everyone knows what their responsibility is and how it should be performed. If we as owners have not figured out how to attract new clients or at the very least figured out what to do with them when the do begin calling, then we won’t have a business for very long.
The second detail is Client Spend. This is something lots of us overlook because it seems miniscule. I challenge all of you reading to do this. Review your past year, quarter or month of average sales. If you’ve got good software, this shouldn’t take you long. If not, please take the time to do this for the sake of your business.
Analyze the average amount of money each customer is spending at check out. This amount will be different for everyone. It will depend on your price point, the amount of different services you are able to perform, the type of advertising and marketing you’ve been doing and many other factors. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you’re an independent sole proprietor. You have a massage practice where you rent a massage room in a salon loft type of setting and you charge $60 per hour for a basic massage.
You review your records and see that your clients spend an average of $62 during each visit. This is not including gratuity. That means most of your clients are only receiving a basic 60-minute session. This is a problem. I’m sure you have other services on your menu that cost more than the basic one-hour massage. If you do not have the skills to offer other modalities where you can charge more, it is okay. Most upgrades come in the form of time. Instead of booking 60-minute sessions, start pushing those 90-minute sessions. Consider opportunities for passive income in the form of product sales like aromatherapy pillows, candles or even comfy apparel. The opportunities to increase the amount your clients are spending are endless. But the details do matter.
What methods will you or your team apply to increase the average spend? Is there a script you would like your team to follow? Is there an expectation that an up-sell attempt be made on every customer? What goals are you setting for increasing a customer’s average spend? How will you track it? These details matter when we move forward.
Let’s revisit the hypothetical independent therapist who last year experienced an average customer spend of $62. If they employ the method of pushing for more 90-minute sessions instead of 60, they could see their average customer spend go from $62 to $75 just by offering more time. Sure not every customer will get a 90-minute session, but you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to give it a try just because it was offered. It’s a win-win. You’re client is getting more out of their session without you needing to rush a service and you’re seeing a higher average spend.
The final piece of detail is Client Retention. Lots of us struggle here because we don’t want to come off too “salesy.” Maybe we assume if the client initiate the rebook process then they must not have liked the service.
Look. The truth is we are running a business. Our clients know that when they made the initial appointment. Whether they visit a sole proprietor or a full spa, they know money was exchanged for a service. That’s called a business transaction.
In order for a business to remain successful, we need this cycle to keep recurring. We can’t be wasting our time, energy and limited resources starting from scratch and only attracting new clients. The hardest part was achieved which was getting them in the door in the first place. Some clients need a bit of a nudge to rebook. Others are so massage drunk they can’t think clearly enough about their schedules to rebook on the spot. They need us to make the first move.
Not every client is going to be perfect and request to hold their spot on a weekly basis for the entire year. That’s why there’s email, phones, texts, postcards, social media and everything else out there to keep yourself current in the customers mind. And those are the details you need to work out!
How are you going to rebook your client? What will you say? What’s your script? If your client doesn’t rebook after the session, how soon will you make contact? How often will you touch base? Whose responsibility is it to make contact? How personal will the contact be? Will you only follow up with first time customers? Will you offer incentive for rebooking same day or at all? How will you track frequency? What are your rebooking goals?
There are so many details that actual matter when beginning and running a business that get neglected because it’s not as flashy as a website or can’t be held in your hands like a business card. While material details are important, the operational details matter more. What’s the point of having a business card with no one to give it to? Why build a website if there’s no traffic? We must break this cycle of only focusing on the fun parts of the business and start actually focusing on the not so fun details that matter.
Get your tickets to The Details That Matter Now and start answering some of those questions!
Kamillya Hunter is the owner and founder of Spa Analytics. She encourages independent owners to focus on The Details That Matter when running a business. She’s a mom of two, an army wife, author and a self diagnosed “Spa Junkie” who lives, eats, breathes and sleeps the personal service industry.