Asking for referrals can be one of the most difficult and awkward things for a stylist to do. Part of the reason is scripting. But it’s through our existing and happy clientele that we have our most loyal and vocal “fans,” and no amount of advertising or social media investment beats a client leaving the salon looking incredible and feeling great. This is the client that will rave about you whenever someone in their circle complains about their hair.
There are lots of ways to ask for referrals, but I watch my most successful stylists for simpler, easier ideas.
I have a woman working for me and she makes a phenomenal living. She is a multi award-winning stylist named Alina Friesen. Part of the reason she is so successful is because she is always dialed in to her client’s experience. And because of this, she never misses an opportunity or a cue.
A client mentioned that her daughter was coming home from university for the summer. Every stylist I know, myself included would have done the small talk thing; “where is she going, does she like it, does she have a boyfriend…”
Instead, Alina immediately and excitedly asked, “Oh my God, do I get to do her hair?”
So simple and powerful. Mom ended up buying a gift certificate for not just that daughter but the other as well, and brought them both in and of course, bought new products and styling tools for them because that’s what Moms do.
Our education director Devon Plamondon is a great stylist, very successful, and he has a different approach. He very calmly says to his clients as they are leaving, “Send me your friends with bad hair.” Amazingly simple, not forced at all, and is a cute little farewell to his clients.
What I like about forcing yourself to ask for referrals, as well as all the other behaviour and scripting I discuss in Saturday Action series is that you can’t do any of it unless you are performing at your highest levels. Asking for referrals, retailing, giving styling lessons, pre-booking and every other action a successful stylist does is not possible if you are not totally and completely dedicated to doing your best work and making sure the client is thrilled.
By exceeding clients’ expectations, asking for what you need becomes very easy. But it’s impossible to do if you aren’t doing everything you can to do gorgeous hair and create for an awesome client experience.