Pre-booking is the #1 thing you can do to achieve a loyal, happy clientele and to guarantee consistent income.
Pre-booking clients is not only a great way to guarantee monthly income for yourself, but it also ensures that your clients maintain a healthy, fashionable hairstyle. Following the guidelines below will help grow your business and guarantee repeat clients with good hair habits. And as an awesome side benefit for you, happy clients with great hair are a source of powerful and free marketing for your mobile styling business!
Choosing the best time to mention pre-booking
It’s common for stylists to wait until the end of the service to mention pre-booking to the client—but this really isn't the best strategy. At that point in the appointment, you’re already thinking about your next client and your customer is thinking about paying and getting onto the next part of their day.
Instead of forcing it in at the very end, try to naturally bring up pre-booking during the service. A great way to introduce the topic is to give the client different ideas as to what could be done to their hair during their next visit. Whether it’s a different cutting method or a new color or treatment, it's always good to get them thinking and talking about their next visit with you.
Remember that holidays and vacations are the easiest times to pre-book clients as they know how busy they’ll be, and you can also remind them that your availability will be limited due to high demand.
Explaining the benefits of pre-booking
Especially when clients are new, they’re often quite hesitant to commit to a date for their next appointment. It's crucial that we educate them on the importance of pre-booking and what they’ll gain from doing so. Here are just a few reasons why pre-booking is helpful to both clients and stylists:
- Pre-booking helps clients maintain their style as opposed to calling in at the last minute when they realize they can't stand their hair a second longer.
- Pre-booking checks one more thing off the client’s busy to-do list, as they won’t have to remember to call or book online later.
- Pre-booking allows the client to reserve the most convenient appointment slot now, rather than call in a few weeks only to find the stylist’s schedule is totally full.
- Pre-booking supports the stylist by respecting their busy schedule and guaranteeing an appointment time.
To make the benefits of pre-booking even better for the client, I also offer small incentives to pre-book, like $5 or $10 off their next service. Sometimes I even offer a free deep conditioning treatment if they’re getting a service that requires a shampoo.
Clients should have incentives to come back to you, and they should be rewarded for taking the extra step to pre-book. When your clients feel appreciated, they’ll stay loyal!
Closing the deal
Even after you’ve explained the benefits of pre-booking and have mentioned any incentives you wish to offer, you may still find the client hesitating to pre-book. In that case, I recommend choosing the return date for the client.
For example, let your client know that it's in their best interest to have their hair reshaped in 6 weeks to maintain a flawless style, and then tell them that you’re going to go ahead and book them for an appointment in 5 weeks. Be sure to take the time to educate them on the best way to maintain their hairstyle until their next appointment, remembering that the more knowledgeable you seem, the more the client will trust you and the closer you’ll become.
Although this method might seem pushy, the client will typically trust your recommendation if they’ve had a good experience with you—and it will usually result in a booking. If the client is opposed to the date you’ve chosen or really doesn’t want to rebook, they will make it apparent.
Reminding clients about pre-booked appointments
Last but not least, it’s important to call the client to remind them of their upcoming appointment. After all, all that effort you put into pre-booking appointments will only pay off if your clients remember them!
Fortunately for you, Cribcut software will automatically send your clients a reminder email and will also alert them before their appointments, taking one extra step off of your plate.
Following up with clients who chose not to pre-book
Even if your clients decide not to pre-book—which does happen sometimes despite your best efforts—you can still be proactive in maintaining the relationship. Here’s my biggest tip for this situation: At the end of every month, go through your calendar and call the clients who chose not to pre-book.
Be friendly, ask how their current style is holding up, and check whether they’re interested in booking another appointment to maintain it. Many clients will decide that they do want to make an appointment, either because the style has visibly grown out or because they now have a better idea about their upcoming schedule. It never hurts to reach out.
The bottom line is this: pre-booking appointments is one of the very best ways to earn more money as a mobile stylist. So start building the habit today! It may take some time to figure out your preferred approach, but with a little practice, you’ll find that pre-booking appointments comes naturally—keeping your schedule full and your clients looking great!
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