I have to admit building a business is not as easy as some barbers would like it to be. Especially when it comes to attracting clients into your chair. Thinking of creative ways to deliver your message to potential clients is one thing, but actually taking action and doing the necessary steps is another ball game. I’ve given advice to barbers all across the country about how to get MASSIVE clientele and for the most part the creative ideas flow like the Nile River. However when it comes to actually putting our thoughts into action it becomes more of a challenge and this is where barbers begin to soul search. What I mean is that taking action requires determination, persistence, and being definite about what it is you want to do. Barbers have to be able to consciously take all other options off of the table and make a definite decision that you are going to succeed at becoming a successful barber. Don’t just say it with your lips but actually BELIEVE IT! If you really believe something then it will cause you to move and go into action. However, if you say you believe that you’re going to be a successful barber but you sit in the shop all week expecting a walk-in to come through then you are fooling yourself. Belief in something creates action and if you really want to become a successful barber then you have to DO what successful barbers Do. I recommend that if you are sitting in the shop for one or more hours and have not received a haircut then you should go outside the shop and begin promoting yourself. This could be passing out flyers or business cards or even promoting over the Internet. You should NEVER expect to cut more people this week if you didn’t do any quality advertising last week. So word of advice to those barbers who want to gain MASSIVE clientele, believe-then Do-and see results. Tip: Successful barbers subscribe to SuccessfulBarber.com
Lets talk about social networking. Big companies like Facebook and Twitter have done an awesome job in bringing other people you know together online in a social graph. But have you ever wanted to skip through all those people and get to the community that you’re specifically interested in? Well, get ready because the social network community for barbers is now live at Successful Barber. Being able to visit a community strictly about what you’re interested in and networking with the people in it has powerful results for the users. I usually hear barbers say “we need to come together” and with Successful Barber we can do just that. I created the Successful Barber network to bring barbers together to one place where they can enhance their skill, learn from other barbers, improve their business, share their barber experience with other barbers, attract new business, and much more. The Successful Barber network has a great tool called the “Share-it Button” that lets you quickly share relevant content to the community while you’re browsing on the web. Whenever you see something relevant that you want to share just click the “Share-it Button” in your bookmarks and the content of the page will be shared to your community wall and news feed. Successful Barber lets you create a member account with a profile page and status wall. You can follow other barbers and subscribe to their feed. You can post, comment, like, and share content in the community to your other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In. All in all Successful Barber is a great community to be apart of if you’re currently a barber, thinking about being a barber, or if you just like whats going on in the barber industry. Sign up, create a profile, and begin sharing at Successful Barber.
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Have you been frustrated while trying to build your barber business? Don’t worry we all have been there before and broke past those walls that once stood in our way. This article may give you that inspiration and insight that you need to see your way to the next level in the barber business. I posted a status on the Facebook Fan Page and asked you guys what frustrated you the most about building your barber business, so I wanted to give you some advice on what I’ve used in the past to deal with some of those same problems. Before I dive into my suggestions let me first say that if you want to change your results then you have to change your thinking. The way you think about your business is by far the foundation of how you operate and in return get business. Here are some tips…
Do you have unfaithful customers?
Unfaithful customers are one of the biggest concerns for new and experienced barbers around the country. If a customer decides not to return to you for service don’t panic. Sit back and observe your service and ask yourself what causes a customer to become unfaithful. Most often customers don’t return because a barber is inconsistent, not available, or not in a good environment. When you service your customer treat them like royalty and spoil them. Seriously! And do it every time they come back exactly how you did it the time before that. The customer will get so use to this service it will be hard for them to leave you for another barber, especially the picky customers. Open your schedule to your customers and let them know what hours and days you will be working. Allow them to set appointments with you in advance and be on time for their appointment. Being available and consistent can really go a long way for even a decent barber. If at all possible try to keep your environment friendly to making money. How you do this will be different for every barber in different shops because we all have unique clientele. However take notice of the type of customers you bring in and if most of them don’t cuss then try to limit cussing in the shop (just an example).
Don’t know how many heads you’re going to cut this week?
Try to train your customers to set an appointment with you. I actually have most of my clientele on standing appointments which means I cut the same people every week at the same time. This is a very predictable means of income as a barber. In the beginning of my career I used an appointment book to pencil in my customer, but now I’ve been able to train everyone to set appointments online using my Genbook service. However you choose to set your appointments, doing this is the only way to get any predictability of your weekly income. Also documenting your income is a good way to know if you are growing, holding steady, or making less than what you use to make.
Does your customer not want to pay your prices?
I recently posted a question on Facebook and asked barbers what they typically charged for a haircut in their area. The prices ranged from $10 – $30 which is a pretty big gap. If you’re looking to up your prices for your customers the best way to do this is to stay firm and express the value that you provide to them that they won’t get from most other barbers. Small things such as a hot towel and razor edge up or even being on time for your appointments so your customers don’t have a long wait has a lot of value. I charge $15 for children and $20 for adults with no complaints from any of my customers. In fact I usually receive a good tip between $3-10 almost every time. Remember that every customer will not want to pay your higher price and they may try to haggle you back down or threaten you by going to another barber. You must stay firm with your decision and if your value is really worth the price then another customer will fill their spot.
Are you working long hours and don’t have any time on the weekend to enjoy yourself?
Welcome to the club… this is a good thing at first. At this point you need to begin to train your customers to set appointments and learn to manage your time to fit your needs. You would be surprised to see that if you cut your nights at the shop shorter, your customers will find time to come to you during the day or other open spots you have. Don’t let your customers control your schedule after you have established a decent amount of repeat clients. Managing your clientele is an important system of your business to learn that will eventually solve your problem with long hours in the shop.
I hope these tips inspire you to look at the way you do business in a different way. Try them out and see how it works for you then come back and let me know what you think.
Phone call after phone call after phone call… When you establish a steady customer base your phone will be ringing off the hook even during late night hours. I don’t blame my clients for calling me late at night for appointments because we develop semi-personal relationships with them and they feel comfortable with us. But sometimes I want to tell my clients to have a heart, however it’s all a part of the game. That is until I discovered Genbook, an online appointment scheduling system.
The Genbook appointment scheduling system is amazing and it’s the most convenient way to manage your customers and keep them happy. I highly recommend that every barber evolve to an online appointment system because it puts the customers in control and takes more stress and work off of us. My clients love being able to go in and set up an appointment whenever they need to whether its at 2pm or 2am. The Genbook system is very user friendly and has a lot of tools that you can use to track your business. The analytics give you the ability to see what services make you the most money, how much you average per appointment, and a few other important reports. I find this very helpful during tax season.
Another important feature this service does is capture the email address of everyone that sets an appointment. Once my clients set an appointment I add them to my email lists and that way I keep them up to date on every that’s going on with Mont da Barber.
I researched several other online appointment systems but nothing compared to Genbook which is priced pretty reasonably. What online appointment system do you use? Have you considered going online yet?
Time after time I tell new barbers that “Consistency” is key to this business and if you want to be successful then you have to understand why this is so important. If you can’t produce the same results for your clients each time they come to see you then it becomes more of a challenge to get them to come to you out of habit. What I mean is that as you develop clients and continue to service them over the years it becomes a habit for them to come to you. Customers come to expect the same exceptional service that you provide every time and get comfortable coming to you which is highly driven by consistency. They key to success in this business is to be able to connect with the customer on a deeper level to where they come to you based on how good you make them feel and always providing this feeling each time they come. Just last week when I was in the shop a customer said that he had been trying out different barbers and he just couldn’t find anyone that was consistent. He stated how one day he may get a good haircut and the next haircut wouldn’t be such a great experience along with the barbers not being at the shop on a consistent basis. Not only did this make the customer visit our shop for service but the word is beginning to spread about those inconsistent barbers which is definitely not good for business. I explain to barbers often that you don’t have to be the best barber in the world to be successful because you can not cut everybody. However, if you can be consistent by giving a decent haircut and always being at work during your set hours then customers will see the value in you. We have to remember that our customers have busy lives and schedules to stick to, so we have to possess a level of convenience, accountability, and consistency. Therefore, let us practice consistency and give our customers that same service every time they come to us. Have you ever heard customers say they just want a consistent barber?
If you haven’t tried HootSuite then you are definitely missing out on money. For a small fee the HootSuite app allows you to post status updates to all of your social media networks from a single platform, so instead of logging in to 6 or more different accounts you can manage everything from HootSuite. In addition, this app gives you the ability to schedule posts so that they go out when you want them to. This is great on days when you’re working hard at the shop all day but you still want to engage people on your social network channels. Whenever our shop has a new special, a new barber, new information, or just something funny to post we always schedule it in Hootsuite to post automatically every 3-4 hours so that different people will see it throughout the day. People make comments, like us, or even call in to the shop to set up an appointment and that is where the value is in this app. When you can keep people engaged in your business it develops trust which leads to customers. So if you haven’t tried out Hootsuite just click on a link and come back to let me know how it works for you.
The power of social media! Did you know that Facebook is the second most visited website in the world according to Alexa.com? This means that almost everyone on the Internet has a Facebook account. With Facebook ads you have the power to place your business directly in front of the people that you want to service and if you haven’t already tried using Facebook ads to get new customers, its at least worth a go. I remember when I first stumbled upon this method it doubled my business in two months and the money that I spent to do this has returned itself ten times over. However, there are a few things I think you should know about if you’re going to use Facebook ads.
When you create a Facebook ad and a user clicks on it, it takes them to a landing page. This page can be wherever you want to take them to such as a Facebook photo gallery, outside website, or anywhere else on the Internet. I would highly recommend that you have your landing page be one with lots of pictures of your work. When a user clicks on the ad and goes directly to a photo album it gives you the opportunity to capture that persons interest to possibly get them to come and get a haircut.
Targeting customers is an important feature because it allows you to spend money only where your potential customers are on Facebook. You can target people based on age, sex, location, special interest, and more. For example, if your targeted customers likes Kanye West you can advertise to people who like him in your zip code between the ages of 15-25. This is so powerful to be able to target your customers so that you won’t waste money.
Setting a daily budget will be different for everyone. When I first began using Facebook ads I started with a $5 daily budget. Once the daily budget is used Facebook stops showing your ads until the next day. It is important to take note that when I began using Facebook ads it wasn’t as popular as it is now so you may need to increase your daily budget to make sure your ad gets the exposure it needs. This amount can be as little as $1 or as high as you want it to be. It is definitely worth the cost because one hair cut can cover the cost of many days of advertising and that’s not including that customer coming back for repeat business.
Promoting your services on Facebook in my book is the number one way of generating new business via Internet today, tomorrow it could change. So make sure you stay up to date with the latest online social sites in order to lead the pack in your market. What social sites have you used? How much success did you have with it?
This marketing piece above is an example of something I recently did in order to attract new walk-in customers to the shop and I wanted to point out a few things about it to get some ideas flowing about our marketing efforts. When it comes to marketing I’ve always read that its important to know your potential customers and how they think so that we may able to better communicate our businesses to them. One thing that I’ve learned over the years as a barber is that our customers want to be able to see our work before they try out our services and that is why I say that our marketing needs to be “visually appealing.” I don’t care if its on your business cards, on your flyers, on your website, or in your emails you need to have some type of photos with your work displayed in your advertisement or at least a link to your online photos. When you think about what type of haircuts to display in your advertisements think about the current trends or different designs that may be appealing to children and this will definitely draw attention to your sign. Remember to always include your contact information on your marketing pieces as well, so that you’ll avoid making a rookie mistake. A habit that I follow is to ask all my new customer how they heard about the shop so that I can get a good feel as to how effective my marketing pieces are working. Luckily our services are in high demand all across the country and advertising photos of your work is very effective for drawing customers into your shop and I encourage every barber to try this practice. What type of techniques do you use in your marketing to draw attention?
If you are not using the Internet to get new customers, what is wrong with you?! Today’s advances in technology and Internet have made it so easy to spread the news about your services. The reason why is because everybody is on the net. Once you learn how to place yourself in front of your targeted customers all you have to do is put relevant content before them. Whether you’re advertising discounts, pictures, videos, or any useful information the Internet makes this easy to do. Luckily, we are in an industry where most men need to get haircuts. At a basic level there are four main areas of the Internet we can use to get new customers.
Build a website.
I can’t count how many new customers I have gotten from my website. This is especially helpful for new people to Columbus because google search engine ranks me pretty well for barbers in Columbus, Ohio. A website is the first impression of your business to new customers and if its done right you will get a nice amount of traffic from new clients.
The majority of my customers come from social media networks that I use like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. These social networks are heavily picture based which is great because potential clients can see what type of work I do. A picture says a thousand words! It’s also cool to have descriptions of the pictures with a link back to your website so people can email subscribe on your site.
Here’s the value in all your marketing efforts. Someone once told me that they would rather collect everyone else’s business card vs. giving out one of his. The reason why is because once you collect a persons email address or other contact information you can then begin to advertise and connect with that person on a strategic level. I usually use my email lists to send out important information such as discounts, time off for vacation, new barbers working at the shop, etc.
This is somewhat helpful in a couple of ways. One way is that you can develop related content to barbering and hair services in order to bring people in your online network from the search engines. Something I use blogging for is to keep my clients up to date on the latest in hair care such as cures for bumps, tips on color, styles, and other things.
When you combine all of these online vehicles you have a pretty solid lead generation system in place. Getting customers to find out about you takes time and you have to learn patience. However, the Internet has made this process tremendously faster and easier to do. What type of things have you done online to get new clients? What social media channels work best for you?