Is your phone manner costing you business?

By Jay Chapman

I’m dialing your salon number right now. What can I expect? Are you 100 per cent confident
that whoever answers my call will WOW me to the point where I book an appointment there and then, asks Jay Chapman.

If not, you’re missing an opportunity and hand passing your competitors a free shot. Instead of thinking about callers as telephone tyre kickers, try seeing every call as an opportunity to convert a potential client into a rusted on A-grade client. The magic is in how you and your team answer the call.
Every call. As a salon coach, I have the privilege to work with many salon owners.

I ask every one of them these questions:
What are you doing to WOW your potential client with that crucial first phone call?
What is your conversion rate from enquiry to appointment?

You may already have enough organic interest in your business to get a flood of enquiries. But are you
disappointing potential new clients with lacklustre phone technique? When someone calls your salon to ask the price of, let’s say, a massage, they’re actually seeking much more. Sure, they want to know what you charge for the service but they also want to know what they get for that price – how much bang they get for their bucks.

By only telling them your price, you leave the caller no option but to compare you with your competitors on the basis of price point alone. It’s a simple benchmark, but not one you want to win. Winning on price alone is a race to the bottom.

Instead, I’d like you to write down some selling points – the key factors that set your service apart. In marketing terms, it’s your “value proposition”. The benefit here is simple: you’re demonstrating deeper value, giving the caller more than simply price to consider and compare. From your list, draft out a short script you and your team can learn and deploy for each service enquiry.

For example, your script might go something like this: A 60-minute massage is $79. We are trained in both sports and relaxation massage. We have heated beds, softly-lit rooms, and you get to choose the essential oil we use to massage with. You can upgrade to hot stone or cupping if you like, too.

I know what you’re thinking. This all sounds great, but how do I get my team to do this? And isn’t it going to take too long on the phone? Time yourself replying as per the script. How long did it take? Just a few seconds? Not nearly as long as if the caller has to ask for extra detail or even call back to check what you include.

And isn’t it worth that few moments to greatly improve the odds of the caller booking in and becoming an ongoing client? Here’s another exercise. I’d like you to listen to how your team members answer the phone to first-time callers. Put yourself in the clients’ shoes. Are you and your team members really showcasing what you offer, the fabulous experience and value you provide to clients? If not, you need to make changes because YOU are missing out on business.

Let’s do it: dive deep and brainstorm with your team to identify key points for each category of service you offer. When you do get enquiries on, for example, waxing, spray tanning or facials, you’ll be well-equipped with responses that evoke emotion and give the caller a taste of what you offer plus an insight into your salon brand, rather than a cookie-cutter dollar value.

Keep it simple. Narrow down your key points to no more than four. Write them on post-it notes and keep them by the phone for at least a month until you and your team nail the habit. Unsure whether your new script and technique are effective? Implement my suggestions above in your salon, and then ask a couple of close friends to act as mystery callers to your salon. Get them to document their experiences. You’ll soon be able to iron out the crinkles and get the process flowing smoothly.

Now, let’s talk salon answering machines. Recently, a salon owner told me they don’t have one because “we always forget to check the messages and clients crack it”. Well, of course they do! Others allow the message to play out loud and proud in the salon so everyone (including clients) gets blasted with the private message the caller has left, as well as the hang-up – beep, beep, beep! In my
book, it’s totally unprofessional.

If you don’t have a policy regarding your message follow-up, make one. In my message bank, I promise I’ll return every call by the end of the day. Is this possible for your salon? And could you assign a team member per day to check and follow-up messages? I’m amazed how often I hear a therapist huff away from the phone saying, “Oh, just another tyre-kicker!” They don’t have to be. You may have just let an A-grade client slip through the cracks – and into the welcoming chair of a competitor.

Therapists are renowned for being able to talk; I always say: underwater with a mouth full of marbles! Why not use this skill of conversation to educate your clients why you do what you do and why you’re worth the investment they make in your salon. It’s simple and you’ll be educating your clients, creating instant rapport and standing out from the crowd. The phone call is often the first point of contact for potential clients. Your time is limited to create a lasting impression. You’ve got the skills. You’ve got the script. Make it count.

Jay is a specialist ZING salon coach. For more salon wisdom, email, visit the
website, find video tips on YouTube or read ZING leader Lisa Conway’s brand new book: Your Salon Team – the salon owner’s guide to finding, motivating and keeping great staff.



Leave a Reply

Back to top