Solo Artist

5 Fast, Free Ways to Fill Your Book

Victoria Wurdinger | June 21, 2016 | 1:51 PM
Marion Shaw currently teaches a three-day program for a major cosmetology school and works with individual salons, helping them to grow their business to become more profitable. (photo credit: Marion Shaw)
Photo By Marion Shaw

Most stylists know that pre-booking and having smart referral programs build the books over time. But if you’re normally a busy renter and inexplicably find it’s way too quiet, specific tactics fill appointments fast.

Marion Shaw, who trained in England and then moved to Canada, has been a salon owner, manufacturer’s trainer, color technician, educator and salon business consultant. She has also authored two books, including her latest “The Superstar Hairstylist” (©2015, available at Here, she shares her fab five for filling appointments in a pinch. Check out more of her business ideas at her business blog:

  1. If you are usually quite busy, keep a cancellation list. Call or text those people on the list and let them know that you have an appointment that just opened up.  Often, this can fill-up a slow day.  Think of those clients who love to call at the last minute. Let them know you were thinking of them, realized it’s time for their next service with you, and that you have an opening today!
  2. Post on your Facebook page or Instagram account and tell your followers that you just got a couple of last-minute cancellations. Provide the specific dates and times.  Then add a strong call to action such as: “Call now – these openings won’t last.”
  3. Create an appropriate and attractive service promotion, post it on your Facebook page and pay to boost it to your local target market.  Once again, create a sense of urgency.  For example, put a limit on the number of special promotions that will be sold.
  4. Network. Don’t wait for things to happen. Go out and make them happen. Have a great business card and carry it wherever you go, including the coffee shop, the grocery store and the health club.  Be prepared to pay someone a compliment. Say you have some great ideas for the person’s hair and be prepared to expand on that.  Add an invitation to come in for a free consultation.
  5. Look back in your book for clients who have missed a couple of appointments, or who are extending their visits too long.  Call them and let them know you missed them.  Offer them an add-on service if they book “today.”  If they decline, gracefully try to determine why they stopped coming in.  Client retention is the number one statistic you need to track.  Finding new clients is great, but keeping the clients you already have is essential to maintaining a flourishing business.
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