There are numerous ways to promote your beauty or hair salon business and get clients to book appointments. You’ve got your stunning new website, great products in the salon window, and you’re a dab hand at social media. You can send out promotional emails, offer discounts and a whole host of other approaches.

The initial contact point for many salon owners, however, is still the phone. When someone calls to find out what kind of services you offer and how much they cost, your telephone voice and manner is critical. It can mean the difference between someone booking there and then or promising to call back later and forgetting about you.

Give your potential client time.

Building a rapport with someone you don’t know can sometimes be easy, but most times, it’s quite tricky. Your salon may be busy with a lot going on, but you need to ensure that you give your potential new client the time they want and deserve. Appear too short or saying your busy can put a potential customer off and stop them from engaging.

The art of verbal mirroring

Sales reps will often talk about mirroring to build a rapport with someone quickly. This is where you mimic what the other person is doing – they smile, you smile, they lean on the counter, you lean also.

This is an instinctive behaviour with people we’ve known for a long time, but it also works in putting a stranger at ease and connecting. The good news is that you can also try out mirroring on the phone, this time verbally. This is where you use similar language and words rather than gestures when talking with a potential new customer.

You need to have one key skill to do this, and that’s being a good listener. As you listen, with a bit of practice, you should be able to pick out the relevant keywords and phrases the person likes and then use these in your responses.

For example, if someone says they are looking for a hairdresser who is ‘great with colour’, you can use that phrase rather than stating your stylist is a colour expert.

Why is this important?

We tend to connect with people who are similar to us and talk the same way we do. If you want to see how verbal mirroring works for your businesses, make a concerted effort to employ it over the next few weeks, and you may be amazed at the change in responses.

Ensuring that not just you as the owner has these essential phone skills, but the rest of the team, including your receptionist, is essential. It’s also a skill that many will find helpful in other areas of life.

How an online booking system helps

Another way to convert more clients and get them to book, of course, is to make things a lot easier for them. Many callers want some basic information, such as whether you’ve got appointments available. Others might not want to book when they call but do it later.

Moving and encouraging your clients to book online solves many of these issues and will save you time, money and potentially lost sales in the end. There will, however, always be customers who like to call, so having your staff in tip-top form on the phone is training well worth investing in.