Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stylists will pay SOMEONE to sharpen their shears. Will that someone be you?

Stylists will pay someone to sharpen their shears. Will that someone be you? I mean really, at some point every stylist you talk to (or groomer, or tailor, or upholsterer) will eventually need to have their shears sharpened. They all go dull, so you can count on this being true. The question is, will these customers think of you when the time comes?

Now, I know you can make money cold calling every day and finding the ones that need the work done right then. Sharpening is somewhat of a numbers game and to some degree your success is tied to the needs of the moment. But if you really want to grow. If you really want to make money. You have to make yourself valuable to your customers and make it easy for them to connect with you. So...what are you doing to make yourself valuable? Hopefully you're providing your customers with unforgettable, top notch service! But what are you doing to stay connected? Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider incorporating into your business if you aren't doing them already:

Have good sales/marketing materials
Now I'm not just talking about just a full color brochure, I'm talking about having a full gambit of tools. These would include:
  • A well designed business card with up-to-date contact info including cell phone, website or blog or facebook fan page.
  • A website or blog or facebook fan page. Probably saw this second bullet point coming :)
  • A well designed sales/marketing packet. The brochure mentioned above would go in this, but so would price lists, catalogs of shears you carry, fliers with information about route schedules, and extra business cards for friends.
Have a way to collect contact information
First and foremost, collect business cards! Almost all your customers will have one, and the majority of them will be happy to give you one if you ask.

Check and see if there's an email address on the card. If there is, ask if you can use the email address to contact them via email to share route schedules and/or any specials you may be running on products you sell. Make a note on the card if they give you the okay.

If there isn't an email on the card, ask if you may have one. With today's cellular technology, if they say yes, collecting contact information like this is easy. Just punch the info into your smart phone, then sync it with your computer when you get home. Don't have mobile cellular technology that allows you to do this? Why not? If you're a mobile sharpener any mobile tools that can help you be more efficient and stay in touch with your customers is a good investment. Consider upgrading.

Finally, ask your customer if they are on facebook. If they are, point out your facebook fan page on your card and ask them to become a fan. Tell them this is another way you keep customers informed of schedules and specials.

Stay in touch
Once you have contact info, be sure to contact them. Put together a simple postcard you can send to customers that don't want to be contacted by email or facebook. If you get the customers email, enter it into your database and send a quick email thanking them for their info. Then send a short email once a week with updates. Make sure the email you send has a signature line with your cell number, email address, and any links to online sites you're using. Also, be sure to pay attention to your facebook fan page if you choose to start one. When someone becomes a fan, be sure to say thank you and update this site regularly. If you do a blog or website, do the same. People only come back to sites on line if there's something to come back to.

This seems like a lot of work
It is a lot of work, but in the long run it will pay off big time. Maintaining a presence online or maintaining a database and staying on top of it to use them to effectively communicate with your customers takes a certain level of dedication, I admit that. But staying in front of your customers consistently is the only sure fire way that I know of to be the first Sharpener they think of when they need their shears sharpened, or a new set of shears to play with. Why not look into some of the tools to stay in touch with your customers in quick and easy ways like email and facebook.

If you have questions about these things, drop me an email at or call me at 864-909-3381. I'll be glad to walk you through the steps to do these things or point you toward good books or websites if you'd like to study this further.

Image: flavinsky

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