So Where’s The Money?

There’s a common misconception that if you’re really good at what you do, you’ll build an empire of some sort.

Then idealism meets reality. That’s why 50% of stylists in the U.S. earn an hourly wage between $8.79 and $15.12.

Distressing, isn’t it?

Yes, it’s quite true that when you meet your clients’ needs, they come back and they tell others about you. It’s also true that you’ll also get referrals.

But that’s where it all falls apart. Salon and spa owners spend a great deal of time IN their shop creating and adding value for their clients.

But when those clients walk out the door, the relationship suddenly changes. There is either no contact or they are bombarded with offers.

This is on sale! That’s on sale! One Day Only!

All the time and care to create a strong relationship in house is suddenly gone. And that’s why 50% of U.S. stylists earn between $8.79 and $15.12 per hour.

It’s a disconnect that’s astounding!

If you’re not earning the kind of money your talent says you should, look at what you’re giving back. Then ask yourself this:

“If I were to trade places with my client, would I be happy with my experience here?”

What you give out comes back to you. So keep in touch with your clients with valuable information they look forward to as well as offers.

To learn more about done-for-you salon and spa marketing, click here.


Direct Mail Marketing & Your Brain

Okay, you know I was happier than a cowboy on Saturday night! I just read an article in Deliver Magazine about the Millward Brown research agency. What makes them so special, you ask?

Get this. They are a dedicated neuroscience marketing practice. Not only is that geek squared, but in my book, it makes them totally cool, which says something about me. But the point is this. They literally take the guesswork out of anticipating human behavior by tracking brain responses. Woof!

Just in case you’re not completely familiar with neuroscience, it’s the biology of the brain. Scientists use technologies like magnetic resonance imaging and eye tracking to learn how the brain reacts to messaging.

Now for the cool news. Millward Brown, Bangor University and the United Kingdom’s Royal Mail jointly conducted a neuroscience study that revealed a startling implication. Results showed that direct mail makes a deeper and longer-lasting impression than digital advertising. This means that direct mail could play a bigger role in brand building than its been given credit for.

That, and the fact that I’m not blowing smoke when I tell you that print newsletters work! At least now you know why it works. I encourage you to read the full article here.

There’s no question that digital is here to stay. I’m not arguing that point. My concern is, and always has been, confusing what’s easy, cheap and mostly free to advertise, with what works, no foolin’.

Devoutly Geeky,

The No But Zone

Boy, I was deep in it.

From the other end of the telephone line, I heard a weary sigh. It was my best friend, Debra, and her patience was wearing thin.

“Just for today, Susan, stay out of the But Zone.”

“The But Zone?” I said in a whiney voice.

“Yes. Today, the word ‘but’ is not going to be a part of your vocabulary.”

I agreed and then found how difficult it was to do. The But Zone was an oh-so-convenient place to hide my fears. And it’s a great place to stay stuck. Suddenly, I had this tiny little box that I couldn’t get out of.

And the irony was, I created it. By eliminating the But Zone, I had to eliminate reasons why my ideas wouldn’t work. I had to put more energy into believing they could work.


What do you believe about your business? How often do you willingly enter the But Zone. If your business, your marketing, heck, your life, is suddenly feeling small and trapped, then welcome to the But Zone.

I realize this may not be the most practical, hands on, take-it-and-run-with-it marketing advice I could give, but it’s one of the most crucial. Your business really lives in your head.

It will grow as much as your head will allow. But when you start spending more time in the But Zone than you do in the Challenge Me Zone, business suffers. You suffer.

Staying in the But Zone, will guarantee you one thing: you’ll simply graduate to the Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda class. In fact, you’ll graduate with honors. But who wants that? Most people do it.

Remember, when you’re clenching your teeth, tired, and just want out, that’s really a place of choice. Just don’t make it the But Zone.

Choose the road less traveled.

Tally Ho!


The Cool Cat’s Marketing Mojo

Meet Hank, faithful steward of our bird feeder. Or, as we affectionately call it, WBRD. Hank subscribes to the Cool Cat Marketing Method. Hank believes, if you are cool, they will come.

And that means he doesn’t put much effort into building relationships with his clients. In fact, because he’s so cool, Hank believes his customers will always want to do business with him.

“They would never think of going anywhere else,” Hank says. “I have the best bird feeder in town.”

Well, Hank can think he has just the right mixture of seeds to attract premium birds. He can think he’s got a better view than any other place in the valley. Heck, he can even think his customer service is better than any other bird feeding station.

But Hank forgot about one very important aspect of his business. What are his customers saying?

Yes, it’s important to have good quality products and services. But Hank completely overlooked the two most important qualities a business should have to create a cashflow machine:

Offer tremendous value for the money clients spend. Make your clients feel appreciated.

But Hank doesn’t do that. In fact, he’s only in touch with his customers when he wants something from them. That’s why they see him more as an unwelcome pest, not a guest.


A few of Hank’s customers are already talking about the bird feeder down the road from him. The word in the air is that the birdseed is just as good as Hank’s; it’s certainly a friendlier place, and the view’s not bad either.

By the time Hank figures this out, his customers will be firmly attached to the bird feeder down the road from him. All because Hank forgot that how he treats his customers is far more important than his bird feeder and his fancy attitude.

And that’s pretty much why people start judging a business based on price. What else have they got?


Who Are You?

Quiz time.

When you think of Coca-Cola, who do you think of? Now, when you think of Apple computers, who do you think of?

Big diff.

With Coke, you have images of Michael Jackson’s famous flame-throwing hair and, of course, taste tests with Pepsi.

With Apple, there’s the iconic Steve Jobs with his obsession for customer service, his brilliance with technology and his quirky personality. Jobs went out of his way to create a “cool” company with a brand that delivers in spades.

Coke? Hmmm…well…uh…let me get back to you on that.

And that’s the point. People like doing business with people. If I have trouble with my Mac, I know I’m going to be taken care of. I have confidence in the company. With Coke? I’m assured of weight gain and health problems. Period.

You might notice that it took Apple some time to come into their own. Suddenly, I’m hearing people talk about buying a Mac. Or people who I never thought would take the plunge (my sister, Sarah) buy one and love it.

It does take time to build a credible business especially when the world is used to one brand over another, Windows over Mac. But that didn’t stop Jobs. And it shouldn’t stop you.

The salon or spa down the street may sell what you sell, more or less: But what are they doing with it? Chances are, nothing. Use that to YOUR advantage.

Put a face on your business, preferably yours. Don’t just sell services, sell personality. Deliver on your services and make your business the place “where everybody knows your name.” Tell the world you love your business so much you’re willing to stand front and center.

It gives people confidence. Oddly enough, it’s a lot like a kick butt guarantee. It keeps you accountable and your customers happy. It broadcasts that their calls won’t be going to Timbuktu if they have a problem. It worked for Steve. It will work for you.

Strut Your Stuff,

When Should You Fire A Client?

Is the customer always right? Of course not. But most of the time it behooves us to pretend that she is because it means more business in the long run.

But what do you do when the client is downright bitchy and mean? Here’s what happened to me. This woman, a doctor, was referred to us by the adjoining hair salon. Lots of money and lots of entitled attitude, but hey, we could handle that.

That is until she started booking 3-5 appointments with us on Saturdays and not showing up.

Until she brought her coffee and her dog into the facial room. She complained that she couldn’t drink her coffee during the facial. The dog farted mightily and was escorted back to the car.

Until she started accusing us of doing poor work. I called her on the phone. Of course she didn’t answer. So I left a message that she was no longer welcome at our spa. Have a nice life, etc., etc.

I couldn’t believe how good I felt.

Here’s the point. We live in an age of political correctness. And that’s too bad because it means we’re giving up a generous amount of our power to please the Great Unknown Public.

Instead of cowering in fear with, what will she say about my salon or spa? Instead, think about her friends. Who are they? Would you want them in your salon or spa? Chances are you don’t.

Then pick up the phone and wish her a happy life…somewhere else, preferably with your competitor.

Unpolitically Correct,

How Was The Service?

It went like this. She wanted information on some skin care creme and the spa employee wanted to make a sale. Who do you think won?
Answer: nobody.

One was intent on selling the jar of creme. The other was simply trying to get some information about the product. Big diff.

Yes, it’s disappointing when those pesky customers don’t follow the script! But there’s a lesson in it, too. Start where your customer is comfortable.

Look at it this way. Suppose a friend asked you, “How was the hotel room you stayed in?” Your brain would probably do a quick search. How was the hotel room? It asks. Compared to what? The Hilton? The cheesy motel down the road?

We’re always comparing our experiences. That’s why the information seeker is so important. She wants more than a good jar of anti-aging creme. She’s testing the waters of professional friendship.

Are you worthy of her business? Should she spend her valuable time and money with you?  If a friend asks her, ” How was XYZ salon?” Her brain will be searching for that answer, too. Was the salesperson pushy? Friendly? Helpful?

Her answer determines how much your business grows.