Hosting an Open House
Hosting an open house at your salon requires a day of low-pressure sales and no tanning that yields high-dollar results. Seriously!
Boosting business during the off-peak months means can mean hosting a free-tan weekend. While effective, these events aren’t the only way to increase sales from July to November. Danny and Tammy Hine have perfected a low-key approach to driving high sales numbers at Coco Buns Tanning in Havre de Grace, MD. They call it an “open house,” and what makes it unique are the two things it doesn’t have: high-pressure sales tactics … and tanning. Last year, they say this laid-back approach netted more than $3,000 worth of membership and product sales in just a few hours!
Danny and Tammy got the idea to host an open house from an acquaintance who owns a nail salon. They liked it because its relaxed atmosphere fits the way they operate their salon. “When people trust you, they’ll buy from you,” Danny explained. “That’s always been our philosophy.” The event takes on the vibe of a social gathering – a casual party, really – where their staff’s main duty is simply to mingle and socialize with everyone who walks through the door. This, Danny says, transforms the salon into a buying experience where prospective clients want to make the purchase on their own instead of being prodded to do so. “It’s all about building relationships,” he added.
In the weeks prior to the event, Danny and Tammy advertise their open house through social media and low-cost/no-cost methods. The event is hosted from noon-4pm on a Saturday, and the couple provides plenty of incentives for guests to make purchases. “All new customers get a tour of the salon, and we offer specials such as 50 percent off all lotion and tanning,” Tammy explained. “We also focus heavily on new client referrals by offering incentives to anyone who refers their friends and family.” To add to the excitement, Tammy and Danny offer food and door prizes such as lotion packettes and drawings for free tanning in all levels.
The couple says they’re confident that the open house event played a big part in their overall success. “We’re up 25 percent over the past several years,” Danny explained. “If salon owners can resist the urge to turn their events into a high-pressure sales environment and take the time to get to know the people in their communities, this will work!” ■
Here’s the step-by-step on how to host your own open house:
• Pick a Saturday during your off-peak months and advertise the event on Facebook, with e-blasts and other low-cost/no-cost marketing mediums.
• Let the community know there will be no tanning sessions during the three-to-four-hour event.
• Serve refreshments, have prize giveaways and encourage your staff to mingle and chat with everyone.
• Give every prospective client a tour and prepare some sales and specials for that day..
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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