Is it time for a change of scenery? Moving your supplies and equipment to a new location is a whole lot easier than migrating the salon’s entire clientele. There are multiple reasons clients may not relocate with you. Once you fully understand those reasons, you can work to counter them.
Why Are Clients Reluctant to Follow Salons to New Locations?
1.) The new place is too far from the old place.
Clients pick salons based on a multitude of factors and one of those is accessibility. They are far more likely to pick a salon located within close proximity than they are to pick one three towns over.
Plenty of clients will follow their favorite professionals to the moon if necessary, but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.
2.) Your new location isn’t as impressive as the old location.
If are downsizing due to financial issues–first of all, good for you for admitting your limitations and trying to work within your means to keep your business alive! Secondly, some clients might not like the new place. It happens.
We all like to think that our clients come to us because we’re fantastic professionals and–for a lot of our clients–that is exactly why they do visit us time and time again. However, a small margin of customers are hung up on the superficial things. They need the coffee bar, the vaulted ceilings, and the prestige that comes with going somewhere “fancy.” Do not be surprised if those clients are not willing to follow you to a smaller, less luxurious location. Some clients prioritize those silly things.
3.) You have recently experienced (or constantly experience) significant turnover.
To a client, turnover is seen as instability and poor management. Most clients will remain as long as their chosen professionals are present at the business, but a location change might be the last nail in the coffin for them.
Clients like consistency.
Major changes–especially at a place with a high turnover rate–will shake their confidence and might cause them to jump ship once and for all.
4.) Your salon just isn’t worth moving for.
We all want to think that our salons are the absolute best, our professionals are the most talented, and our customer service is unparalleled. Sometimes, that just isn’t the case. Be honest with yourself about the quality and originality of your business in comparison to your competitors and ask yourself, “Is my business really special enough for clients to follow?”
Are clients attached to your business? Do they “Like” your Facebook page updates, leave reviews, participate in salon events, and refer people to your business?
Are you consistent in what you deliver? Are you offering unique services that can’t be found anywhere else? Are the clients happy?
If you’re in an upgrade situation, the answers to all of those questions is likely yes (or else you wouldn’t be upgrading, right?).
If you’re unsure about where the loyalty of your clients lies, you may be looking at some overturn.
Now that we know what keeps clients from following, we can devise strategies to counter those reasons.
How to Keep Clients Through a Move to a New Location
1.) Stay close.
Your new location should be within 1-3 miles of your old one–definitely no more than 5 miles. Any further than that and you risk losing a portion of your clientele. To keep clients who consider proximity of primary importance, it is crucial that you remain as close to the old location as possible.
2.) Present your downgrade as an upgrade.
Give those snobby snobface clients a reason to stick with you. If you’re in a situation where you need to downsize, make up for the loss of the frills by providing enticing incentives to remain loyal.
Focus on the positives when presenting the move.
Try to keep as many amenities as possible, but on a smaller scale. Divert some of the money you’re saving by downsizing into less expensive alternatives to the amenities you offered previously.
When you’re trying to save money and keep your business afloat during a rough time, pleasing those “fancy” clients might be more difficult than it’s worth, so instead of burning money, trying providing them with the frivolous things they need to be satisfied with your business, spend it on advertising designed to attract a clientele who doesn’t need those things to appreciate what your business has to offer.
3.) Figure out what is causing the turnover and fix it immediately.
If you are constantly hiring people to replace others, it’s time to ask yourself some hard questions.
- Are your hiring and onboarding procedures broken? Are you hiring the right people for the job or the first person willing to fulfill the position? Are you asking the right questions? Are you checking references? Are you providing your professionals with the support they require as they transition to employees of your salon?
- Are you managing effectively? Are you consistent with your discipline? Are you communicating clearly and giving employees the opportunity to communicate with you freely? Are you leading your team or leaving them to manage themselves? Are you giving specific instructions and directions, or expecting them to read your mind?
If you are suffering chronic employee turnover, you are either hiring the wrong people or you are a poor manager. Pick one.
- What are their reasons for leaving? Conduct exit interviews whenever someone quits. Find out exactly what the problem was. Encourage them to be honest. If there is an issue with your management style, don’t bitch and moan about it or take it personally–fix it.
Your salon is only as good as your staff, and your staff are only as good as your leadership.
4.) Find a “thing” that makes your salon different.
Every salon should have something they offer that no other salon offers. That could be an amazing hair extension system, a team of nail techs that specializes in high-fashion nail art, or a receptionist that juggles flaming swords or something. Additionally, you need to ensure that you have consistently fantastic customer service (which is surprisingly rare in any customer service business).
Involve your clients in your salon. Remember who they are, encourage them to be involved on social media, and keep them interested in where your business is going.
Now we can address the specifics of business relocation in terms of notifying and advertising your move.
How to Announce a Salon Relocation and Notify Clients
1.) Post notices everywhere.
Get on social media and spread the word two weeks before the move.
We’re happy to announce that effective [DATE] we will opening the doors to our new location at [ADDRESS]. While we’ve enjoyed our time spent here in our current location, it’s time for a change of scenery!
Our new location will feature many exciting new amenities, like [LIST AMENITIES].
We’re very excited to see you at our new place! Thank you so much for supporting our business!”
2.) Order your business cards and promotional materials in advance.
Believe it or not, some people forget to do this. The last thing you want is to be handing out cards and brochures with the wrong address on them! When clients are rebooked at the desk, if their next appointment occurs after the move, they need to be handed a card that reflects the new address and a copy of the relocation notice–preferably with directions to the new location included.
3.) Update your address on Yelp, Google Places, and Facebook.
Most of these sites update immediately upon being edited, but to be sure, check with each site. Google Places, for example, may take longer to update since they require new locations to be validated with either a copy of a utility bill or a postcard they send out.
4.) Plan for two grand opening parties: one for your preferred clients and one for the public.
For the first party, hand out invitations and put together gift bags. You might even consider having it catered (or catering it yourself if you’re on a budget). You can set up stations where clients can get low-overhead mini services (think hand massages, polish changes, chair massages, etc). This intimate party is a great way to get your elite regulars familiar with and excited about the new space while thanking them for their loyalty and support.
The second party will take place the day you open the doors to the new location. Put an ad in the newspaper, advertise a $100 gift card giveaway (few people will win, but you’ll collect contact information for every person that enters, plus you’ll get new people in the doors who may choose to become regular customers).
Consider hosting a cut-a-thon or other charity event to generate publicity. The second party is a more informal open house, where new clients can get to know you and your crew in a relaxed atmosphere.
5.) Have press kits prepared and sent out at least 30 days in advance to all local news outlets.
The formula for creating a press packet is simple:
- cover letter
- company overview
- relevant marketing materials (brochure, business cards, web address, social links, etc.)
- press release (brief overview of what you’d like to see in any articles or news stories)
The press kit should answer these questions:
- Who are you?
- What is your business?
- What does your business offer?
- What news are you sharing about your business?
- What do you want clients to know about your business or event?
- When do you want the story to be released?
- How can you be contacted to answer any press inquiries?
The best way to keep from losing clients is to prepare for your move as far in advance as possible. Get the word out, generate the hype early, and do what you can to make it seem like a super positive thing.
What about you? Have you relocated your salon? What did you do to keep your clients excited and loyal to the business? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!