Over the last few months of my travels, I noticed an increase in salons focusing heavily on their competition. Obviously, I suggest you be aware of what other salons in your area are doing as far as packages, promotions, product selections etc., but you should also put increased focus on what sets you apart from other salons and what makes your business unique, instead of only looking to do what “the other guys” are doing.
The salon down the road might have cheaper pricing or offer their lotions at deeper discounts. However, are you as a salon owner going to allow competitors to dictate your business? I’ve learned in my years in this industry that if you sell based solely on price, you will lose every time. Instead of being the cheapest salon in town, let’s talk about how being different and unique is an advantage, and about using positive ways to sell your services and products based on their benefits, instead of their price.
If you are the salon in your area that has awesome marketing and offers great specials and you feel that your competition just steals your ideas every step of the way, congratulations! You’re obviously doing something right; something others envy and think is a great idea. Remember: if your competitors are copying, shopping or bad-mouthing you, they are trying to keep up with you. Take it as a compliment and keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s true – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Now, if your salon is on the flip side – and you have a local competitor that always seems to be running better specials or has a busier salon – start brainstorming. What can you do better? What can you do differently?
First, start by promoting what you offer that your competition doesn’t. You don’t have to have the cheapest prices, but do you have better equipment? Do you have trained and certified staff? Do you offer better hours of operation? Do you offer free tans with product purchases? Advertise what sets you APART, what makes your salon better and different than the salon down the street. Why should someone tan at your salon instead your competitor’s? Focus on what makes you better, rather than what makes you the same.
One idea I have that can help set your salon apart, especially during this crucial busy season, is to run some fun promotions. A favorite of mine is “Happy Hour”. Pick a slow time in your salon, maybe its 8-10pm or right when you open in the morning, and rename that Happy Hour! Offer your clients half off all upgrades for the month if they come in during that time. This will generate more foot traffic during your slower times. Or, try a “Friends with Benefits” program. Advertise to your current members that if they bring a new person with them to tan who has never been to your salon before, that member and their friend will both receive a session upgrade. These are just a couple of ways to advertise and promote your salon in a fun, unique way.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling tanning sessions, cars or handbags, it’s important to remember to focus on you and your business, what makes you unique to the industry and what makes you different from your competitors. Try not to get hung up on what everyone else is doing and put more of your focus and energy into what sets you apart and what the benefits of being a member of your establishment are.
As Director of Brand Development for Devoted Creations’ family of brands, Lisa brings 17 years of industry experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to all aspects of the business, including social media, product development, training, customer relations, public speaking and marketing strategies. Lisa worked at the salon level managing a large chain of salons, which infuses her sales training and brand concepts with real world experience. Lisa has been chosen IST Magazine’s “Person of the Year” four times.
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