Mastering your Clientele
John Palmieri: What kind of clap was that?
Chris Sulimay: I don’t know, I don’t know. Hey everybody, welcome to the Shop Talk Podcast, brought to you by 124Go. I’m your co-host Chris Sulimay and I’m here with my good buddy-
John Palmieri: John Palmieri.
Chris Sulimay: And we have something kind of special we’re going to do a little bit different than some of our other podcasts. It’s just the two of [00:00:30] us today sitting here, podcasting. And we’ve had some experiences obviously over the past few weeks and I guess our lifetime as well, in working with hairdressers and being hairdressers ourselves. And yesterday we were in a conversation with – a few different conversations, but one in particular where we were working with a stylist who’s a super talented stylist and who reached that point in their career where they decided, “you know what, it’s time [00:01:00] for me to step my game up a little bit.”
Continue Reading And two, the second part is, well, you [00:06:00] know John, some of those clients, I don’t want to do their friends. Right? So, don’t pass out referral cards to them! Think about what you’re doing, who you’re giving those cards to, and what the effect is going to be. And I think you did something great yesterday when we were talking to one of our stylists that we were coaching. You said, “what’s your brand? What is it you’re trying to put out into the world?” You know, because now I start to [00:06:30] know who I want to pass referral cards to. So strategy number one was how you’re doing with referral cards. And Patty’s answer is, “I pass them out!” “Who you pass them out to?”” I’ll give them to everybody! “ [00:14:00] Okay, we’ll stop doing that, because not everybody needs them. You know, one of my favorite stories, and I shared this with you before we started the podcast was, you know, I’m from Worcester, Massachusetts if you don’t know, it’s the center of the universe. And in Worcester, Massachusetts we have this great art museum. Guess what is called the Worcester Art Museum. And- Now in the world that we live in, with the social media [00:17:30] piece and now really understanding your branding piece and consumers being able to find you in different ways, to me, never before is what you just said been more true. Pick the top 10 people or 20 people inside of your clientele, and Brian talked about this on the first podcast when he talked about Karen growing her clientele. And I said, “you need 150 to [00:18:00] 200 clients to be busy” and he said, “I kind of look at it differently.” He said, “I looked at it, if you could get 20 people that are really excited about the work that you do and have them become cheerleaders of you, you really only need 20 people to bring 10 of their friends.” And so, in this conversation I think one of the reasons why we’re having this is we want to talk about the fact that Instagram and Facebook and social media aside, something happens when you have a guest captive audience [00:18:30] for two hours and you have the opportunity to really hone in on those people that are in your chair, that in the middle of that appointment or maybe from the moment they walk through the door, you go “I love working with Julie. She’s my dream. If I could have a hundred of her, I’d be happy.” And then we missed the opportunity or the window of time to have a dead serious conversation with Julie, [00:19:00] like a dead serious conversation about “Julie, I got to tell you something. I love doing your hair” and I know I sound a little cheesy by the way right now and I sound a little salesy when we’re doing the podcast, but really like “I love doing your hair and if I could have a hundred of you or 20 of you, my life would be great! I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about our loyalty program, I probably haven’t. Shame on me. Do you mind if I take a minute and share with you about that? [00:19:30] I know we’ve talked about people having a thing, some people will spend their last dime on a really good meal on a fancy restaurant. Some people will spend their last dime in a really expensive [incomprehensible], they’ll forget to pay the rent as long as they can buy that Louis bag. Some people will spend their last dime on a cruise up the Alaskan coast. Me, I’ll spend my last time on a 1975 motor goosey the 11 sport because that’s what I like to spend my money on. Some people will spend their last dime on good [00:26:00] hair. Those are the people you want.
John Palmieri: Pick it up a notch.
Chris Sulimay: Yeah. And those are, I mean, John, those are always such fun conversations to have because you know the person has the potential. But sometimes it’s the desire-
John Palmieri: The want.
Chris Sulimay: The want. And so, I always like to say it like there’s two things. There’s the “what to do” and then there’s the “do I want to do it?” And yesterday kind of we were able to align the two of those in a little bit of a conversation. [00:01:30] And it got us to thinking a little bit about this whole, being a hairdresser, successful behind the chair and this whole clientele development and developing my business. And I know it got your wheels spinning a little bit and you wanted to lay a track down so we could maybe share some of what we learned yesterday out to some hairdressers. So talk a little bit about that.
John Palmieri: Right. Well I think some of the coaching we did yesterday, one particular conversation stuck in my mind, which was one of the staff members, they were doing well, [00:02:00] were happy with what they were doing, but they needed to make a little bit more money. Raising prices wasn’t necessarily something they wanted to do right now and I think we both agreed it wasn’t time.
Chris Sulimay: Maybe not ready, yeah.
John Palmieri: But you know, “I need more clients, I need more people on my book, I need to get busier and I’ve been doing this for a while” I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but it was almost like, “did I forget how to do that? Why don’t I have more clients on my book, why aren’t I busier?” [00:02:30] And of course we had a great conversation yesterday, but it kind of led us to the thought that, sometimes it isn’t always about Instagram, right? Sometimes it isn’t always about Facebook. Sometimes it’s all about the person in your chair at that moment in time and what are you doing with that guest, to not only keep them coming back, because that’s a retention number, but also what are you doing to get more new clients in your chair and you know what the answer is about six inches of [00:02:59][Incomprehensible].
Chris Sulimay: Yeah, it’s the truth. [00:03:00] And I wasn’t thinking this actually before we got this conversation started, but it is, it really leads to something that I’m super, I don’t know if you want to use the word passionate about, but thinking a lot about nowadays and if you hang out with me, you’ll hear me say it all the time that, that I feel like as a hairdresser, the more you look at it, it gets easier and easier and easier when you really look at what we do, and I break it down – these are my words- into two different categories.[00:03:30] You know, What am I doing with my people, the people that are sitting in my chair. How do I get them? How do I meet them? How do I make them multiply? How do I get them to come back? And then what am I doing with my performance, I call it. I call it “People” and “Performance,” and the performance part is what are the things that I’m communicating about while they’re sitting in my chair? And when I put those two together, when I can master the people game and then I can master my conversations with people while they’re sitting in my chair. [00:04:00] Man, it’s just, it’s proven to be magical and all of everybody listening, either sits next to, or is the person that I’m describing, that person when a client sits down they get to know everything that’s on the appetizer menu, the entree menu, the dessert menu, the after drink menu, they get the whole… I heard [00:04:30]
[incomprehensible] one time called “the whole gestalt.” They get the whole and when you set two people next to each other that that understand these two things in different ability levels, you’ll see one out-earn and outdo and outgrow the other leaps and bounds all day long, every day.
John Palmieri: Yeah. I think, one of the challenges that happens is, and I know you’ve heard this as well, is one of the push backs we’ll get when [00:05:00] we’re coaching people is “Well, I’m not a good salesperson; I’m a hairdresser, I’m an artist, I’m not a salesperson.” Will argue that point, another time. But I think the bigger issue is it isn’t about selling something, it’s about having an authentic conversation with your guest. For instance, one of the conversations we were having yesterday with one of our team was, “Well, I’m passing out referral cards. I pass them all the time”, but it’s not working. So, my first question is how [00:05:30] are you passing out this referral cards, right? Because if it’s the, “Oh, Hey Chris, here’s some referral cards, give these to your friends.” You don’t care and I know you don’t care because I can tell by the way you handed them to me, how in the world you expect me to care? So one is, are you doing it purposefully and with intention and a manner that makes your client, your guest understand that, yeah, this is actually really important.
Chris Sulimay: I’m looking down at the time of this podcast and we’re six minutes and 30 seconds in and I feel like we’re on a first date and we’re already driving to the chapel in Vegas, you know, and we’re about to tie the knot. I want to slow you up a little bit and try to do the same thing to myself. Let’s describe a little bit… So when you look at numbers, and for those of you who are listening who
[00:07:00] don’t get to work with us on a day to day basis, you’re just going to have to take my word for it, that John is a statistical monster. John can look at numbers [laughter].
John Palmieri: I know there’s a compliment in there somewhere.
Chris Sulimay: We might find one, we might find one. But what I mean by that is I can watch you and I’m talking from a high level business perspective. So, if you’re a salon owner listening and you [00:07:30]
run multiple multi-million dollar locations, John could take a look at your PNL and tell you where you’re bleeding, down to the stylists level or the micro level, where he can take a look at -and you know, I mean, I’ve got that skill as well, but not to the level that you do- some of the key indicators that we look at. We talked about these recently on the ZeeZor’s podcast, [00:08:00] but some of those key indicators and we can tell you know where your strengths and weaknesses are. Now if you’re an owner or manager, you know, a really savvy business stylist, you know that you can do this as well. That numbers tell a story. So, you know, without digging deeply into who these individuals are that we work with, share a little bit about the story that we were in the room talking to yesterday and what, what made us know that we even wanted to focus in on clientele [00:08:30] development.
John Palmieri: Well, I’ll think about one of the staff members who we were coaching yesterday. You know, her challenge was, you know, I was talking to her a couple of days before and she was like, “you know, I’m just feeling a little defeated, feeling like I’m just not engaged.” You know, we dug down on it for her and it’s not for everybody, but for her it was like, it was money and for her it was less about actual dollars than feeling like she was being rewarded [00:09:00] for the hard work she was putting in. She wasn’t keeping count, like I made this amount. She was like, “I work this hard, I should be getting paid more for the amount of work I put into this. And I’m not feeling that there is a parity here. And as such, I become a little, I get a little disheartened.”
Chris Sulimay: Right. And it’s interesting because when you say work, I’m translating time.
John Palmieri: Yeah, exactly.
Chris Sulimay: And once we were able to take a look at the reality [00:09:30] of the numbers is I might be at the salon for a longer period of time, but the amount of actual- and this is where I go “people performance” – productivity and the amount of actual people that I’m working with for the amount of time that I’m there I could have more people, I can be more productive. And I am one of those people who, you know, I’m a human being. Dollars become [00:10:00] a scorecard for me, partially because, you know, I have a certain lifestyle that I envisioned myself to. And so because of that, you know, I can relate to that. And, and it’s interesting because that sometimes can be such a good motivator for somebody that does have the skill and now they’re going, “okay, I should be getting a little more return on my investment.” I like to have those conversations because now I can start to take a look at, and we went right to client count yesterday, [00:10:30] nd you know, I worked from what I remember from the conversation, this person was hanging out at-
John Palmieri: Their target was around 95 clients per month.
Chris Sulimay: Yeah. That was their target-
John Palmieri: That was their target for the level she was at. She was between 65 and 70.
Chris Sulimay: She was between 65 and 70. And then when we took a look at like the, you know, things we look at, service to client ratio,
John Palmieri: Sure it was good.
Chris Sulimay: How many services you’re doing on the person.
John Palmieri: Yeah, that was a good number.
Chris Sulimay: Yeah. But when we looked at things like-
John Palmieri: Her retail was great,
Chris Sulimay: Her retail was great, [00:11:00] but when we looked at things like retention and all of a sudden it became visible. And this is what I want you to hear really clearly, certainly if you’re a veteran stylist, and then if you’re a new person growing, you know, take this lesson early. If you’ve been behind the chair for a while and you’re not hitting whatever your personal people goal is, we know not everybody works on the type of system that we do, you know, that type of thing but [00:11:30]
if you’ve got a certain amount of numbers hours open, that’s just a thing that you’re going to do hair and you don’t have butts in those seats for the time that you’re available to take clients, you have a retention problem. Whether they be ghosting you after the third visit or whether they’re not coming back on the first one. Long term, you’re not retaining the new [00:12:00] clients that sit in your chair. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the strategies around that.
John Palmieri: Yeah. Well, you know, I want to dig a little bit deeper before we even go there if I can. One of the things I think that’s really important, because we’re talking about numbers and we’re talking about, you know, you mentioned how I like to dig into them. This is going to sound kind of counterintuitive, but hear what I’m saying. It’s not the number. And I think too many people are like, “oh, that’s all you guys care about is the numbers and as long as we’re hitting our numbers, you like us and [00:12:30] if we don’t, just so you can put more money in your pocket, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” come up with all that comes with it. The answer is no. The numbers, as you alluded to earlier, tell a story. So, when you’re supposed to be hitting 95 clients a month and you’re hovering around 65, 70 okay, that doesn’t tell me enough. What really told us something while she had 70 clients in November, 70 clients in December, 70 [00:13:00] clients in January. So, for three months in a row, 70 clients, 70 clients, 70 clients, that says stuck. That says, I’m not growing. To tell you the truth, the fact that you’re not at 95 doesn’t really bother me. You’ll get there. The fact that you stayed 70 three months in a row, two of those months being the two-est busiest months of the year tells me your story, you’re stuck, we need to get you unstuck. And we also looked at her retention numbers, which were okay, but they weren’t
[00:13:30] anything that was going to grow her. And we also looked at number of new clients coming in the door, new requests, not necessarily new people because there’s the ones that request you and ones that just happen to be walking by and think you look cute and want a haircut. But those numbers weren’t there either, so as you said, strategies, you know, what do we do next?
Chris Sulimay: That’s a great name.
John Palmieri: It’s a great name. Every year they used to have this big gala, and my friends and I would all go because we’d get dressed up we’d bring a date. We go to this [00:14:30] big gala and they had the four piece, you know, chamber orchestra and they had people walking around with trays of wine and hors d’oeuvres. And it was the one time a year I get the pull off swanky and get away with it. And I met this woman, we were just chatting and she was like,”so what do you do?” And I was like, oh, “I’m a hairdresser.””Oh, you are? How much do you charge for a haircut?” Cause the question number one is either a, how much do you charge, and question number two is, what would you do to my hair. So, question number one was “how much do you charge?” And of course, this was a while back. I said,
[00:15:00] “oh, it’s 36 bucks” and she’s like “$36?!”. And I said, “yeah.” She says, “well it seems like a lot.” I said, “well, how much do you pay for your haircut? She said, “12 bucks.” I said, “well, you know, as long as you’re happy with your hair, you know that’s okay.” She was like, well, “no, I hate my haircut.” I said, “you hate your haircut?” She’s said, “yes.” I said, “well, why don’t you just go back to the salon and have them fix it?” She’s like, “no, I always hate my hair.” “Wait, wait, wait a minute. You always hate your hair?” She goes, “yeah.” I said,” well, how long have you been going there?” She’s like, “eight years. “[00:15:30]
And in my head, I’m sitting here going, you’ve been going out to the same hairdresser for eight years and you hate your haircut for eight years. I’m sorry, 12 bucks just to me, sounds dumb, but here’s the lesson. The lesson was she doesn’t have a hair thing. She don’t care. Or maybe it’s not that she don’t care it’s just not important to her. Why in the world would I give her a business card? The answer is I did not. I’m not going to give her a referral card. I’m not going [00:16:00]to ask her to come to the salon because I’m wasting my time. And we do that all the time with people in our chair. We get clients who just aren’t bringing on into you. They aren’t into what you do. They haven’t bought into your brand. You know, you don’t want more of them. Don’t give them a referral card.
Chris Sulimay: It’s one of the things that we are not talking about purpose fully on this particular podcast is using social media to grow your business. Not because… We know that it’s an enormous [00:16:30]
piece. We just know that we have other better people that will bring on to have those conversations with you. But it’s an interesting, the picture you just painted is so interesting and I’ve been in the business now for close to 30 years. Never before have I understood personal branding the way I do now. Years ago there were seminars that they had and it was, [00:17:00] you know, what’s your dream client? You would write down dah, dah, dah and you would, you know, what did they look like? What kind of services do they get? I don’t know why it didn’t resonate, it resonated, but it didn’t, it was really easy. It was like, you know, yeah, I want the girl that does highlights and drives a Porsche, right? Or whatever. But it never felt tangible and real.
cause I would love to meet 10 of your friends, two of your friends.” And you did this exercise yesterday, when you have a very serious conversation about that and almost more importantly in my eyes, when you bring focus to the fact that this is one of the very most important conversations you could have during your whole entire appointment. So, I’ve got you for an hour and a half, we [00:20:00]
could talk about all kinds of shit, but if we talked for one minute, one minute of the 45 minutes about referrals or about making sure we get you set up for your next appointment or about the fact that you’re a balayage specialist or about the fact that you just started doing micro-bead and weave extensions. If you took one minute of that time, over [00:20:30] time, that translates into, well it’s hard right, it compounds and it becomes something that you can’t, you really can’t understand until you start [Crosstalk]
John Palmieri: I stole this from Michael Hamlin, one of our stylists, and I love this approach. His approach is he’s got somebody in his chair and he did a monster pixie. I mean it’s just looking good. And Michael hands referral cards and says, “look, I love doing pixies, this is like one of [00:21:00]
my favorite haircuts. If you’ve got friends, family, anybody that you think would love a pixie, give them my card. I’d love to do their hair.” Because here’s the reality, she’s going to walk out the door with that pixie and her friends are going to say, “I’ve always wanted to cut my hair like that. That looks so good. I’ve always wanted to pixie blah, blah, blah, blah.” And guess what? My hairdresser loves doing pixies. Balayage, I love doing balayage. I love doing blondes. I love doing, I don’t care, whatever it is. Because the thing is you [00:21:30] like doing more than one thing. I’m not saying do it only for pixies. Michael just happens to conform the conversation to what he just did. And if he hates doing bobs, hates them, guess what he’s not going to do to the bob client?
Chris Sulimay: He’s not going to talk about the bob.
John Palmieri: No, he’s not.
Chris Sulimay: And he is, Michael’s a master at his craft and, it’s a great example. The other thing that I’m sitting here thinking about just because I was the one who advocated to not talk about social.
[00:22:00] John Palmieri: Are you going to do that?
Chris Sulimay: No, not at all. But I started thinking about the reality of how many times I’m in a place where I hear two people that I don’t know, I overhear a conversation, they’re talking about their hair. So, I was in Philly last week and I was in my favorite coffee shop The Milkcrate Cafe on Girard Avenue.
John Palmieri: Shout out.
Chris Sulimay: Yeah, Gerard and Columbia, if you’re ever in fish town, go to [00:22:30] Milkcrate it’s awesome. But, I was at Milkcrate and I was doing some computer work sitting there in the morning, just minding my business and one of the baristas there, she does have really awesome hair and she’s been growing it out and she’s mixed ethnicities, so she was wearing it more like a fro on this day, I typically see her with softer curls. And so, girl walks in and immediately they’re having a conversation. “Girl, you’re curls are on point” and then the barista [00:23:00] who’s this really, great… I’ve known her for a while going in there, but the barista starts to educate the person on what curly hair needs in order to look great. And-
John Palmieri: She’s somebody’s top 20 client.
Chris Sulimay: -I could hear the words coming out of her mouth of her hairdresser. It was magical. And I thought in my head, “that girl has a great hairdresser.” Now I know she’s doing all the other [00:23:30]
media noise stuff that we do, but her hairdresser had a one on one conversation with her and I can tell you something. She’s not going to another hairdresser and she just sold her hairdresser to the girl who was buying a cup of coffee from her.
John Palmieri: That’s incredible.
Chris Sulimay: Yeah. And that’s the type of thing I think we’re talking about here. What are some other things, John?
John Palmieri: I want to want to talk more about the point you just made about, hearing people talk about hair, right? [00:24:00] And I think what we started off in this career because I know I did this. If I saw somebody who needed help, I gave them my card, they need me. Their hair color looks a little meh, the haircut’s a little jacked up. They need me. I mean this with love, no, they don’t. If they needed you, they would have already been there. The reason they’re hair, it looks like it does this because they don’t mind or they don’t care. The people I want to give a business card to are the people in the coffee shop talking [00:24:30] about hair, you know, one of my favorite client stories is being in a Bed, Bath & Beyond, and seeing this woman with long blonde hair mid back, highlights must’ve been just done because they were perfect. Hair cut look like a million bucks, it was one o’clock in the afternoon, which means she’s a stay at home mom. So, she doesn’t have to be anywhere. And guess what? I’m a hairdresser, we’re people that get to walk up to complete strangers and talk about their hair, and guess what? It’s not creepy. It’s okay. So, I [00:25:00] gave her my business card, she came to the salon, and there is more to that story afterwards. But why do we focus so much on trying to fix people who obviously don’t care about their hair? Remember my previous story about the art museum, some people don’t have a hair thing. And here’s this woman whose hair looks like a million bucks, and yet we’re afraid to give our card to that woman because we’re thinking, “well, she already goes to a great hairdresser.” Maybe. But she likes hair. She loves [00:25:30] hair!
Chris Sulimay: That’s right. So, I want to turn the conversation a little bit now because I think we’ve covered our passion around the fact that we think you should be very serious about whatever your referral loyalty program is. And we also think there’s some language that you need to practice and learn and get hyper focused and serious about. The next part and piece that I want to turn to is this understanding of retention and really [00:26:30] what that means. And you said something yesterday and I can’t tell if I agree or disagree but I want to bring up the point. This person’s new client retention was around 30%. Now I know that’s a national average and you said, “not terrible but not,” I couldn’t tell if you’re just trying to make the person feel okay about that or not. I [00:27:00] guess what I want to say is what 30% new client retention means to me is if you were to recruit or to be given or to, you know, find on your own, 10 brand new clients.
John Palmieri: Seven left.
Chris Sulimay: Seven left, seven left. Why is that important?
John Palmieri: Well, first I want to address your statement. And that was, you said 30% wasn’t bad. If you’re asking [00:27:30] me personally as a hairdresser, I think 30% you aren’t even trying.
Chris Sulimay: That’s okay. That was where my head went.
John Palmieri: Having said that, it’s also the national average. So, here’s what I’ll say to you. If you’re at 30% new client retention rate, you’re average, you’re average, you’re a C student. And there are people in the world who’re perfectly happy being a C student. Well, me personally, I got to get an A [00:28:00]
and what’s an A? 50% minimum is an A student. And if you’re really trying to boost your career, move forward, knock down some walls, you need to be at 50% new client retention rate.
Chris Sulimay: Totally agreed! And thank you for clarifying that because I was curious about what the thinking was behind that and I know you had a reason for it. And so I want to talk a little bit about that because that veteran stylists just as fast as new… Look, if you came out of school two [00:28:30]
weeks ago, you’re at the salon now or six months ago, they’re putting new clients in your chair, I still know and can remember the feeling of being nauseous almost every time I had a new person. It was like, “hey, I got a walk in for you.” I’m in the back room. “What does she look like? Does she have long hair? Is it thick? Does she want it up? Did she want it high?” Like, you know, I’m back there in panic mode before [00:29:00] they can drag me out of the back room to go sweat through this haircut, right?
John Palmieri: First men’s hair color ever did I cut the guy a corner of the neck, with the shears. First one!
Chris Sulimay: Exactly!
John Palmieri: Nice way to start John.
Chris Sulimay: So,we get it. We know that you’re juggling, trying to be good as a hairdresser, trying to learn some scripts, trying to learn how to talk about shampoo without sounding-
John Palmieri: -Like a knucklehead
Chris Sulimay: Right! And, and so we get that. What we’re saying is as fast as possible, [00:29:30]
you want to get to a point where your understanding is the more people that stay and the more the right people that stay for that. But the more people that I can learn how to turn into a second visit, the faster that I’m going to erase the people problem of my business. And so, if the people problem goes away, then I can, for the rest of my career work [00:30:00] on the productivity or the performance problem. And so, client retention for a new person is obvious. The ones who I get fearful for are the vets who are so busy and my good buddy Michael Coyce used to say this, I don’t want use his quote without crediting him cause it’s a good one. He used to say, “Pete, you’re so busy being busy, you don’t have time to make money.” [00:30:30] And for the vets, that’s what I see a lot of. They’re so busy just keeping up with life and a busy day and when they get downtime, they’re just happy to have the downtime, that they forget sometime that the whole goal in this new client is [00:30:47] A, to wow them, to make sure your experience is just completely on point, which is a whole another podcast. I mean, we’re 30 minutes into this thing now we’re on two topics, but B, that I need them to [00:31:00] come back sooner rather than later and I need to give them a plan. Nowadays- and maybe we’ll do a whole another podcast on sessions, but super important that they understand what your next three visits ahead-
John Palmieri: What do they have to look forward to next time they see you.
Chris Sulimay: Absolutely! And if you can just set that as an intention, I feel like retention becomes.
John Palmieri: Right. Well, we track retention in two different ways, right? And what I mean by that is this new client retention. And yes, the national average is [00:31:30] 30% which as you so rightly pointed out, I love to flip. That means 70% don’t come back first visit. Now it’s your second visit, do you come for third? That’s called based client retention. Third visit, fourth visit fifth visit, all your visits on the future.
Chris Sulimay: And what’s the most important time to get them back? I’ve heard this recently.
John Palmieri: What do you mean by what time-
Chris Sulimay: I hear it’s the second visit, right?
John Palmieri: Well, yeah, mathematically cause [00:32:00] I’m that guy, the first four visits are the most critical, so you’ll lose, 70% on the first visit. You’ll lose about another 30% on a second, about another 20% or so on the next two, third and fourth, your client becomes what we refer to as loyal, or I used a loyal client after their fourth visit. So, it’s your first four visits that are the most crucial. They come in for the fifth [00:32:30] visit, you’re engaged, you went from dating to you’re a couple now. So, all your effort and I’m going to rephrase that, a lot of your energy and effort needs to be on client visit one, two, three and four. Once you get to five, I’m not saying coast. What I’m saying is you’ve developed a different relationship and a different strategy for keeping that client. What’s an example? So, let’s go back to the woman I met at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Perfect hair. Guess what? She comes [00:33:00] to the salon because I gave her my business card and then she comes in, I do her hair. First thing we do is we do a full consultation. “Well, what would you do with my hair?” She just had like this long, elegant neck. I can still picture in my head and she would look great with an A line Bob right under her jaw. She just had small face, would have been perfect for it. I pitched it, she said “no. My husband likes it long. I like to put it in a ponytail. Can we just do my highlights?” “Sure.” Talked her into some layers to give her some movement, great. Loved [00:33:30] it. Thought it was the best thing that ever happened. Walked out the door, not before scheduling an appointment for eight weeks. Eight weeks she comes back in, “hey, what’d you think about the bob?” “Oh, I talked to my husband he said, no, I had to wear in a ponytail, blah, blah, blah just do my highlights, trim it.” Great. Eight weeks later,” hey, how you doing?” “Good. Hey, you know…” “no, trim it.” Eight weeks later, same thing we did last time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Eight weeks later.
Chris Sulimay: You got comfortable.
John Palmieri: I got comfortable. Well, I gave up is what I did right? Eight weeks later, “Oh, yeah same thing we did last time?” I [00:34:00] know her, I know what she wants. We’re like this. Eight weeks later, I didn’t know she didn’t come back in, because I got busy. I mean, I’d like to think I remembered her, but I didn’t. And then one day I’m walking down the street grocery store, I forgot where I was. But I remember walking into wherever I walked and there she was with a bob under her jaw, that which I didn’t cut it. Somebody [00:34:30] else did. Here’s the thing. I did what the guy or girl did before I got her, I stopped caring. I stopped giving her something to look forward to, I stopped asking and I became as boring as the guy that I got her from or Gal. Right? So that’s when I talk about that shift after the fourth visit, I didn’t say stop trying. What I said is there’s a different methodology now with what you do with that long term client. I [00:35:00] learned this a long time ago from a mentor who taught me this and it was like every once in a while just turn the chair around so they’re facing you and not the mirror. And I’d say something like, “Chris you know what? I have been doing your hair for a while. Let’s do this. Let’s pretend today’s your first visit. Let’s start over. “
Chris Sulimay: Dude, how have you been holding this out all this time we’ve known each other? [laughter]
John Palmieri: But what a great way for the client to say “I’d love that.” Okay, great. Let’s start over. Like I [00:35:30] just met you. And it starts the relationship all over again. This is a really bad analogy, and my wife will hurt me for this later. If you’re taking people for granted, they don’t think you love them anymore.
Chris Sulimay: That’s a fact!
John Palmieri: It’s a fact. So, whether it’s a personal relationship, which you always have to work on or their personal relationship you have with a person in your chair. I’m sorry, you don’t know them as well as you think you do. You’re not as close as you think you [00:36:00] are. I’m not saying there aren’t some, this is probably the 20 but the other hundred clients in your schedule, you’re not. And what are you going to do about that? How are you going to keep that client coming back? How are you going to make them feel special? Make them feel valued, make them tell their friends how awesome you are. Because you know what, that girl with the bob told the people? “Yeah, I went there for a while. He was really nice but it got boring.” Yeah.
Chris Sulimay: Let’s do something a little different today.
John Palmieri: All right. What’s that?
Chris Sulimay: I mean since we’re already doing something [00:36:30] little different today. Let’s give the podcasters an assignment-
John Palmieri: Ah! Homework assignment.
Chris Sulimay: Yeah.
John Palmieri: Great.
Chris Sulimay: So, you’re always asking for something at the end of every podcast right?
John Palmieri: Yes, I am. And I’m going to ask today too!
Chris Sulimay: What is that thing you actually ask?
John Palmieri: I’m going to ask for, when you go and like this review or whatever you do let the world know that you’re happy to hear it. You’re going to write us a wicked nice review and wicked in French means five, in case you didn’t know. So weeked. [00:37:00] Five stars, I want five, five.
Chris Sulimay: Well, with that wicked nice review, we would love to hear some of the things that you do for client retention.
John Palmieri: That’s a great idea.
Chris Sulimay: What do you think of that?
John Palmieri: I love it.
Chris Sulimay: So, if you could, and if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re enjoying it, you can contact us on Instagram @124.Go and [00:37:30] if you message us something that you do to make your clients feel special and your guests come back and retain guests, we will happily share that. As well as give you some shoutouts on our next podcast.
John Palmieri: That sounds great!
Chris Sulimay: For doing that-
John Palmieri: Love it!
Chris Sulimay: Because you know, we know that, look, John and I can spout off ideas all day long, but we know that you’re doing some awesome stuff and I mean there’s 130 hairdressers inside of this company, each of them uniquely… From the person who’s still day one [00:38:00] to the person that’s been downstairs for 28 years, uniquely does things in order to grow their own personal brand and to get people to come back and kind of show them that they care. So, I feel like, that would just be a really cool way for us to engage with you all because we talk in these microphones. We don’t always get to hear what your experience is on the other end. And John we’re about at the 38 minute mark. So, I feel like we’ve covered a couple of really great topics. What are your [00:38:30] closing thoughts as we start to wrap this thing up?
John Palmieri: I’m just going to put a big umbrella over the whole thing if I could, you know, if you’re trying to grow your business, the best place for you to do that, believe it or not, isn’t on Instagram, isn’t on Facebook, not that those aren’t great tools because they are so please hear me correctly, but you have this golden opportunity. You’ve got this client for approximately two hours. Especially if they’re getting a color. You [00:39:00] got to build a relationship with them. They’re there for a reason. Here’s the other thing. If they’re new to you, it means they left somebody else, right? So, if they left somebody, they left for a reason. Bless you, you got them. So, what’s your strategy for the first four visits? The first one is the most important because that has the highest unfortunate rate of non-return.
Chris Sulimay: And it sets the pace for the rest of your relationship, right? So, it gives them a set of expectations of how you work.
[00:39:30] John Palmieri: Think about the hair you like to do, give referral cards to those clients. Have a truthful, honest, heart to heart with that client. “Hey look, I love doing this. Send me your friends, send me your family, send me the people that you think would love this because I want to do more of it. Thank you for being here.” And then track those numbers. And I know it’s like, “oh, numbers.” But here’s the thing. How else are you going to know if it’s working or not working? [00:40:00] How else are you going to know your own personal story? Even if you’re by yourself if you rented a suite or a booth, you know, how do you know “I’m busier,” are you really? Or is it you just do a lot of balayage this week so you seemed like you were busy. Numbers. Tell your story, get in tune with your story.
Chris Sulimay: Yes, absolutely. And so, if you like what you heard here today in the spirit of gratitude and the spirit of repeat. We know that you’re sitting either in your car or at home or maybe you listen to this before you go to sleep, you’re listening to us. We [00:40:30] want to say thank you for that. And you can again connect with us on Instagram @124.Go, we’d love for you to screenshot this podcast and share it in your stories and tag us. And if you do that, you know, we’ll do the same for you. You can also find us, we’re posting some interesting stuff on YouTube right now. It’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff, so you get to sort of see the inner workings of the meetings that we’re holding and some live sessions that we do with students and things like that. So, [00:41:00] that’s 124Go on YouTube and coming soon in April, our website will launch and we’ll be touring. We’re actually starting this weekend touring for 2019, where at?
John Palmieri: Tampa, Florida!
Chris Sulimay: Tampa, Florida.
John Palmieri: I’ve never been to Tampa.
Chris Sulimay: I’m an old school [Incomprehensible] stomping grounds there. So, we’ll be down there with the life of Riley [incomprehensible], doing hair cosmetics. Kelly [incomprehensible] and his group. And so we’re really excited about that. We really appreciate you listening.[00:41:30] And I hope you got something out of this podcast today. Thank you so much. And we’ll see you on the next episode. Bye everybody.
And two, the second part is, well, you [00:06:00] know John, some of those clients, I don’t want to do their friends. Right? So, don’t pass out referral cards to them! Think about what you’re doing, who you’re giving those cards to, and what the effect is going to be. And I think you did something great yesterday when we were talking to one of our stylists that we were coaching. You said, “what’s your brand? What is it you’re trying to put out into the world?” You know, because now I start to [00:06:30] know who I want to pass referral cards to.
So strategy number one was how you’re doing with referral cards. And Patty’s answer is, “I pass them out!” “Who you pass them out to?”” I’ll give them to everybody! “ [00:14:00] Okay, we’ll stop doing that, because not everybody needs them. You know, one of my favorite stories, and I shared this with you before we started the podcast was, you know, I’m from Worcester, Massachusetts if you don’t know, it’s the center of the universe. And in Worcester, Massachusetts we have this great art museum. Guess what is called the Worcester Art Museum. And-
Now in the world that we live in, with the social media [00:17:30] piece and now really understanding your branding piece and consumers being able to find you in different ways, to me, never before is what you just said been more true. Pick the top 10 people or 20 people inside of your clientele, and Brian talked about this on the first podcast when he talked about Karen growing her clientele. And I said, “you need 150 to [00:18:00] 200 clients to be busy” and he said, “I kind of look at it differently.” He said, “I looked at it, if you could get 20 people that are really excited about the work that you do and have them become cheerleaders of you, you really only need 20 people to bring 10 of their friends.” And so, in this conversation I think one of the reasons why we’re having this is we want to talk about the fact that Instagram and Facebook and social media aside, something happens when you have a guest captive audience [00:18:30] for two hours and you have the opportunity to really hone in on those people that are in your chair, that in the middle of that appointment or maybe from the moment they walk through the door, you go “I love working with Julie. She’s my dream. If I could have a hundred of her, I’d be happy.” And then we missed the opportunity or the window of time to have a dead serious conversation with Julie, [00:19:00] like a dead serious conversation about “Julie, I got to tell you something. I love doing your hair” and I know I sound a little cheesy by the way right now and I sound a little salesy when we’re doing the podcast, but really like “I love doing your hair and if I could have a hundred of you or 20 of you, my life would be great! I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about our loyalty program, I probably haven’t. Shame on me. Do you mind if I take a minute and share with you about that? [00:19:30]
I know we’ve talked about people having a thing, some people will spend their last dime on a really good meal on a fancy restaurant. Some people will spend their last dime in a really expensive [incomprehensible], they’ll forget to pay the rent as long as they can buy that Louis bag. Some people will spend their last dime on a cruise up the Alaskan coast. Me, I’ll spend my last time on a 1975 motor goosey the 11 sport because that’s what I like to spend my money on. Some people will spend their last dime on good [00:26:00] hair. Those are the people you want.