3 Mistakes Spa Owners Make With Referrals

Referrals are the best source for new business for your salon or spa.  People trust recommendations they get from friends or family over advertising hands down. Even better, referrals feed on themselves: your happy clients refer their friends building your base of happy clients who refer their friends.

Even though a word-of-mouth campaign is the least expensive, most profitable sales tool you have, most spa owners aren’t taking advantage of this lucrative source for leads. Don’t make these common mistakes. Right this minute, they are literally costing you thousands in new business.

Letting feelings of shyness stand in your way

Many spa and salon professionals feel uncomfortable asking for referrals. I had a client who was afraid she would look desperate if she “hounded clients for referrals.”

If you feel sheepish, take a breath and remind yourself that your clients love what you do. Don’t be shy!

You provide a great value to the people you serve and many more people could benefit from your services. Be proud of the services you provide. Take the plunge and ask for the referral.

It’s OK to feel shy or uncomfortable about this. But don’t let that stop you from asking!

Keep in mind that most people won’t think to tell their friends about you unless you remind them. You have to ask regularly. For example, a few times each year, my dentist sends me a note and a gift card for a seriously discounted introductory service and asks that I pass it along to a friend. I’ve been going to the same Dentist since I was 5 years old and trust him implicitly. But I rarely think to refer business to him outside of getting the cards he sends. Can you relate?

People aren’t surprised when you ask them for a referral. Think about all the service providers who’ve asked you: your realtor, banker, handyman. You didn’t feel put out or annoyed, you were probably glad to help.  Your customers will feel the same. Make the assumption that people want to refer you. They’ll let you know if they’re uncomfortable making a referral.

Not saying thank you

Another major mistake is forgetting to say thank you to the client who made the referral. This is a big no-no.

Mind your manners! If someone sends you business, you must thank them for it. If you don’t, you look cheap and seriously ungrateful, which is really bad for your business brand.

Ideally you want to say thank you with a gift, such as free services, discounts or products but at minimum send a thank you card. Remember, you didn’t have to advertise to get this business. Referrals are free. A nice gift and a handwritten note goes a long way towards making  for the referrer feel special and expressing your gratitude.Your existing clients are sending their friends in because they loved your services. Show your appreciation and you’ll encourage them to keep sending their friends to you.

Making vague requests

Teach your staff to ask the right questions. Rather than saying “I’d love it if you referred your friends to me,” train your service providers to ask for referrals using what they know about clients. A better way to ask is, “Is there anyone else in your office who would like to get her nails done on her lunch break?” The key is to get the client thinking about who she knows.

Make these mistakes at your own peril! Advertising costs hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Referrals cost next to nothing. Make every effort you can to create a successful word-of-mouth marketing campaign, including overcoming your own shyness. You’ll be glad you did.