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They Wanted New Customers But Turned Them Away

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Salon MarketingThis is an honest to goodness story that happened to me today.

I regularly receive a popular direct response mailing and as you know it is an envelope full of special offers from your local merchants. You can get special discounts for restaurants, an oil change for your car, salon services and more.

So when I received my direct response pack in December I looked through the coupons and took out the offers that interested me.

In there was an offer from a local hair salon that I had never gone to, offering a new customer an introductory special of $9.99 for a shampoo and blow-out for any length hair. Those of you that go to the hair salon know that this is a very good deal.

I held onto the coupon until I had an event that I wanted my hair to look especially nice. I phoned the salon around 12:30pm to inquire if I needed an appointment, even though I could have just walked in, and the receptionist said I could if I wanted to. So I made an appointment for that very day at 2:30pm.

Then I noticed that the expiration date on the coupon was 1/15/15 and I made the appointment on 1/16/15. So I called back and asked if they would still accept the coupon. The answer came back “sorry we won’t take the coupon, it’s expired.”

I hung up the phone and laughed out loud. Not because I was upset that I couldn’t get my hair done at that salon, but the fact that the salon owner turned down a new client.

The salon contracted with the direct response mail advertising company because they have a need for new customers. They paid a hefty fee for the printing and mailing service, with a call to act by a certain date. The date is set so they can realize a return on their investment, and then perhaps repeat their business with this company.

I guess the direct mail salesperson thought he didn’t have to mention to the salon owner not be so rigid about an expiration date when a new client calls for service. After all, I would not even know about this salon if I didn’t get the mailing.

So the salon lost out on introducing their services to a new customer. Had I been in the salon chair, they had the opportunity to get to know me a bit, ask about what kind of hair products I use and discuss recommendations they would make. And I am a very generous tipper, so the technician missed out on that also.

So in economic terms here’s what happened…

  • Hair wash and blowout: $9.99
  • Tip for technician: $7.00 (based on original price of service)
  • Tip for hair wash technician: $3.00
  • Upsell hair care products (shampoo, conditioner and mousse): $45.00

So in one day they missed out on new revenue from one customer of $65 (plus tax). Then there are continued services over the next few months – hair color, cut, keratin treatments totaling about $600 over 3 months.

And don’t forget the “happy customer referral” when I would tell my friends what a great deal and service I got at this new salon. Now multiply that by 10 new customers and you get the idea of exponential income growth. It turns out that the initial introduction was PRICELESS.

So, the moral of this story is “don’t throw away a new client lead.” If a prospect is interested in your service, engage them. Make them feel like they are the best thing since the gold rush. If you don’t, you will have the same consequence as this salon – throwing away money on advertising that doesn’t work because you do not allow it to work.

P.S. Of course, this salon did not renew their contract with the DM company.

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