7 Local Marketing Lessons From My Hair Salon

I learn so much from the small businesses I visit.

I’ve written thoughts on small business before while having a pedicure and recently looked around while sitting in the chair at the local barber shop. Suddenly I had many helpful thoughts about local marketing lessons that could be learned from this small business. I finally found seven.

Local Marketing Lessons

Signaling strategy

I discovered the Traville Barber Shop in 2007 through their signs. The Strip Mall at Traville Gateway in Rockville, MD was new and as I was walking past my usual route I saw the sign and decided to give this little business a try. It was mostly the closest and I always go there.

I must add that I was the first to review this case. Now there are 24 reviews and many of them say they didn’t want to see it again, selfishly, because “Rockville’s best kept secret” is now out.

To take with: If you have a brick and mortar business, you should make sure you have signs with directional arrows in the surrounding areas. Especially on weekends.

“Open” for Business Sign

When the store is open, there is always an “open” sign flashing to attract attention. Sometimes I make the impromptu decision to go in because it’s conveniently open. They also have clear opening hours and a well-marked sign when they close for holidays or other occasions.

To take with: Think of a bright flashing sign that indicates your business is currently “open for business” during business hours. Also indicate your opening hours. If you ever need to close for holidays or special occasions, make sure you have a sign to indicate this.

The Ritz Carlton way

I’m not saying they copied the Ritz Carlton books, but when you walk in almost everyone looks up and greets incoming customers. Owner Dimitri Axaopoulus always makes sure to talk to every customer when they’re in the store.

Welcoming every customer is important.

To take with: When a new customer comes into your business, a friendly greeting goes a long way to putting them at ease. You need to emphasize the importance of everyone on your team. Remember that smiles are free and priceless.

Ask the right questions

I’m not that picky about my haircut and too many questions torment me because I’m afraid of the result of my instructions. I like to say a simple “short” or “medium short” and they seem to know the rest. They periodically ask me for my opinion to see if they are following instructions and I have watched them respond to other customers who want their hair cut in a particular way.

To take with: There are several stages in the delivery process of your product where the opinion of your customer is important. Create a path in this delivery process to get your customer’s opinion. Train your team to ask the right number of questions at the right time.

Define customer expectations

When I went to the hairdresser this weekend it was very busy and the chairs in the waiting room were almost full but . But the wait was not long. There were enough staff and I was seated within 3-4 minutes. As new customers arrived they were greeted and told that the wait time was no more than 10 minutes and that was probably correct.

To take with: As you succeed, don’t drop your serve. Grow the business and set the right expectations for your customers to keep them coming back. I was preparing to be the keynote speaker at Georgetown University’s graduation ceremony that day and couldn’t have waited long. I’m glad they had additional team members to handle the volume.

Provide extras

You opt for a haircut and then are enchanted with touches like – a hot shaving cream and a shoulder and head massage. Suggesting a haircut around the ears and eyebrows is all that makes me happy. It is also the way for this store to offer its customers something extra as part of the package. It delights customers, as you can see from Yelp reviews.

To take with: There is always a way to offer something more to delight a customer. Remember that the likelihood that your next new customer will come from your existing customers is very high.

Take care of non-customers

Even though my son doesn’t get his hair cut here, he wants to come with me most of the time. He gets hot popcorn, maybe even a lollipop, and the chance to play with the cars in the waiting room. It goes a long way with children. I’ve seen a lot of them come into the business.

To take with: Give customers something to take care of while they wait. There are plenty of ideas for this – maybe a car wash while you get your hair cut? This is probably going too far, but who knows? My friend, Anjali Verma at Kidville Bethesda, has a space where children can get their hair cut and many parents use it.

What did you learn from your local hairstylist?

Hairdresser Photo via Shutterstock

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