I am always hearing a lot about where to spend your marketing time and money in the salon. Well, the best marketing tool you have is already sitting in your chair – your guest.

Word-of-mouth is still the best way to get new clients, and making sure to keep your existing ones is the best way to spend your time, energy, and even money. The service experience must be the most important thing you act on every day.

The average haircut is probably around 45 minutes, so here is what I recommend you do with that time:

Connect.

Any new experience must start with a positive, emotional connection. When we enter any new business, we are doing a split-second assessment of whether it’s a place we’re going to be welcome, comfortable, safe, and happy when we leave.

Making sure to greet every client with a hello or even a smile, even if they are there to see someone else, is essential. Make sure to greet your own client as soon as possible and inform them when you are going to be ready for them.

Make sure to use their name as often as you can – it makes them feel good and makes it easier for you remember it later.

Consult.

The consultation is where you’re going to lay down the plan for the service. It’s the key to success.

First, speaking to them face-to-face, and not through the mirror, is important.

Ask open-ended questions about hair history, maintenance, and desired result.

USE PICTURES! Research shows that the most effective advertising contains pictures of people. PEOPLE magazine is the most successful magazine ever launched because it’s called PEOPLE and it contains pictures of people and stories of people inside. Save yourself a lot of time and heartache by using GOOGLE to find a picture that best represents the desired end result.

Create.

Everyone’s favorite part of his or her hair experience is the shampoo. Make sure it’s a good one. If you charge $50 for a haircut, make sure it’s a $50 shampoo experience.

Learn to read body language. Does she want to talk? Does she want to read her magazine? The worst thing you can do is have a conversation with everyone around you except her.

As you are finishing the hair, teach her how to do it at home. Explain how the products work. I will even hand the product to the client and teach them how to do at least one section of their hair on their own.

Commit.

This is where we really make sure they come back to us.

At the end of the service, thank them, hug them, shake their hand, whatever feels natural to you.

Recommend the products necessary to recreate the look at home. With the right products, they will love their hair even more and remember you the next time they need an appointment.

Lastly, book them for next time. Close the sale by setting up another appointment. I never ask, I simply say, “Let’s get you booked for your next appointment.” Easy-peasy.

If you’re looking for new clients, let them know you need their help in building your clientele. People want to be part of your success – gives them something to brag about. Make sure they talk about you when they’re gone. Make sure they love you and you won’t need to spend a dime on advertising.