Expert Advice

Old School Marketing

Anne Moratto | November 30, 2014 | 4:02 PM

If you build it, they will come.  Everyone is familiar with that saying.  If you build it old school, they will come and stay.  That is my new twist on the old saying.

I am in the midst of building it “old school”.  Just this month I have begun working, back behind a chair, cutting hair part time in a barbershop in and around my class, show and event schedule.  It has been a while since I did this.  It has been over a decade since an Ivan Zoot AKA ClipperGuy haircut was available for purchase by the general public.

I am having a lot of fun.  I am enjoying myself a whole bunch.  I am reminding myself of things I knew and used on a daily basis when I was cutting 40+ heads every day.  I am also learning a few new things.

The biggest new thing I am learning is that the old stuff still works quite well.  In many cases the old school stuff is better and more effective than the newfangled ideas.  The most glaring case of this is in basic marketing of a haircutter behind a chair.

Following is a list of some of the old school marketing concepts I am using to fill my chair and grow my client base.

  1. Greet with enthusiasm – A warm smile and a powerful handshake get the client visit off on the right foot.  Direct eye contact communicates confidence.  Acknowledging people as they cross the threshold shows attentiveness. These things are easy.  These things are FREE.
  2. Consult well – Ask the right, simple questions.  Listen to the answers. Repeat and paraphrase the haircut plan.  Most client dissatisfaction can be traced back to failures n consultation.  Better consultation = happier clients.  (stay tuned for an upcoming posting on guy consultations)
  3. Make Take-home recommendations – Clients who purchase and use professional, salon recommended take-home hair care product are traditionally happier with their hair and more loyal to their haircutters.  Contrary to popular belief recommending take-home is NOT about earning retail commissions.  It is  about securing long-term client loyalty.
  4. Rebook – The single most important hair salon skill is rebooking.  Rebooking will make you more money and build your business better and faster than haircutting skill ever will.  Get them on the book for the next haircut BEFORE they leave the shop from this haircut.
  5. Ask for referrals – Send me your friends.  Ask clients to do it.  Beg clients to do it.  It is FREE.  It works.  It still works.  It works better than any other form of advertising.  The cost per new client acquisition (an important figure advertising people love to measure) is ZERO.  Maybe it is $.05 if you handed out an extra business card.  Ask every client, every haircut.  Ask even if you have asked before.  Ask even if you asked last time.  Ask the guy who just sent his referral in.  Ask him again.  There will be clients that you cut for decades who NEVER send a single referral.  There will be other clients who send a new referral every week.  You cannot tell which client is which.  You must ask.

The five powerful points above are all easily included in the chapter of the haircutter’s manual labeled “old school”.  None of them cost a penny to execute.  All of them pay HUGE returns.

There is an old principle of the haircutting business that states that if you have one client on your first day in a shop, and you are doing things right, 365 days later you will be fully booked.  Fully booked is defined as 80% chair occupancy.  I had one client on day one.  I am trying to “do things right”.  I will continue to report on my progress.  If all the old school ideas are still real, relevant and applicable I should be 80% occupied on Wednesday, November 12th, 2015.  Stay tuned.

Happy Clippering!

Ivan Zoot

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