Is your salon chair filled with great clients? You know, the clients who you love working on. The ones who are respectful of your time and are grateful for your amazing services. They don’t complain about your prices and they tip well. And some of them refer other dream clients to you.
Or do you have more clients that fall under the “difficult” client category? The clients who are high maintenance, never seem satisfied, don’t respect your time, and who are consistently trying to get discounts? They are the ones you don’t even want them to refer their friends for fear they will have the same demanding traits.
Of course, we all have a few of those cringe-worthy clients but if you have more of them that fall into the problematic category than great clients, it’s definitely time to reassess the situation.
It Can Happen To Any Of Us
Cara barely arrived at the salon in time to prepare her station for her first client…again. She wasn’t going in early like she normally did because she had this underlying sense of dread. She couldn’t quite pinpoint the reason but it was definitely impacting her usual excitement to be in the salon.
Her schedule was consistently full and while she had some really great clients, she noticed she had recently accumulated more of the difficult ones. And it was sucking the energy out of her.
She tried to rationalize that she was just being too sensitive and told herself to be grateful that she had a decent business but her joy, and her sense of satisfaction in her work, had definitely dropped.
Later that day, Cara met her friend Rika for happy hour. Rika could tell something was bothering Cara so she asked if she wanted to share what was going on.
At first, Cara held back because she didn’t want to seem ungrateful or sound like she was complaining but as the conversation went on, Cara finally blurted out, “It seems like all my new clients are awful, and I don’t know what to do about it!”
Rika was surprised by Cara’s announcement. She always thought of Cara as someone who was confident and in charge. In fact, she envied Cara’s ability to grow her business with such ease.
But the truth was very different than Rika’s perception. Cara was confident and in charge at one point in her career but somewhere along the way, doubts crept in and began chipping away at her self-esteem. And she found herself attracting clients that weren’t right for her, creating a vicious circle.
Assessing Your Client List
Let’s be real. This is YOUR business. You’re the boss. And if you don’t like a client, you have permission to fire them! The negativity they are causing is affecting you and it will chip away at your self-esteem just like Cara’s situation.
By releasing them, you are freeing up emotional and physical space to attract your Dream Clients. The clients that energize you and remind you why you got into this business in the first place.
When you’re surrounded by Dream Clients, you’ll attract even more Dream Clients - it’s what is called the Law of Attraction. The theory is that “like attracts like,” meaning our energy and thoughts, whether they are positive or negative, will attract the same energy into our lives.
So how do you find more Dream Clients?
First, you’ll need to work on increasing your confidence. As your confidence grows, you’ll gain more courage to set stronger boundaries with the problem clients. Some of them will comply and the relationship may improve. But if they continue to wear you down, you’ll have to let them go. Your confidence will give you the courage to boldly refuse to book them.
Now you can focus on the good stuff – finding those Dream Clients.
How To Attract Your Dream Clients
Let me share 5 steps to attracting your Dream Clients and filling your chair with people you enjoy working with.
1. Identify your Dream Client.
Take some time with this. Really dig deep and write out all the characteristics and values of your absolute favorite client. Get as specific as you can.
Visualize an entire day with the dreamiest clients in your chair. How does that look? How does it feel?
Did you feel a sense of relief and your shoulders dropped as you let go of all the built up tension?
When you define exactly who you want to serve, you’re entire branding and marketing strategy will become clear. You’ll know who you’re looking for so now you can focus on attracting them.
It can be helpful to name your Dream Client and think of that one person when you’re doing the next steps below.
2. Build your brand to attract your Dream Client.
If you’ve already created your brand but you’re not attracting your ideal clients, take some time to reassess. Look at it with fresh eyes and see if your brand – your vibe, your colors, your logo, your marketing, your appearance – is it in alignment with the Dream Clients you want to attract?
If it’s not, update your brand. It’s okay to rebrand. Successful businesses do it all the time. That’s what keeps them relevant.
While you’re creating your brand or rebrand, keep your Dream Client first and foremost in your mind. Would the vibe you’re considering attract them?
You wouldn’t create a wild and bold vibe if your Dream Client had a softer, more classic style. Or the other way around.
3. Optimize your online presence.
How do your social media posts look? Do they align with your Dream Client? If not, spend some time setting up a social media strategy that speaks to the clients you want in your chair.
Your time is best spent focusing on one or two social media platforms. It’s better to have one or two great social media accounts with lots of engagement that attracts your Dream Clients rather than trying to manage a bunch of time-sucking platforms that are lackluster and generic.
Pro Tip: When you’re making your posts and videos, create them as if they are exclusively for your Dream Client. Your posts will resonate with the exact clients you are looking for because they’ll feel like you are talking directly to them.
Do you have a website? If not, create one. There are several simple and low-cost or no-cost website platforms available. Make sure it has all your updated contact information and it speaks to your Dream Clients.
Are you using the power of Google? You can set up a free Google My Business account to drive traffic to your website when someone is searching for a hairstylist in your area. Be sure to set it up with your Dream Clients in mind. You can use the same strategy for Yelp and other free online directories.
There are so many free and low cost online tools available. Don’t overlook these opportunities!
4. Find your Dream Clients.
Okay, you’ve established your Dream Client, and your brand and online presence are locked in. Now what?
Go find those Dream Clients and fill your chair.
You’re already determined who your Dream Client is so you should know where he or she hangs out. Go there.
When you see someone who looks like your dream client, introduce yourself and let them know you are building your business and you’d like to give them a free haircut if they would allow you to take Before & After photos for your social media.
Yes, a free haircut. Yes, that means no money BUT your chair isn’t full now and this might be the start of a long lasting client relationship.
Think of it as an investment. Even if they never come back, you get the Before & After photos that provides more social proof that you’re a great stylist.
Not to mention that convincing a stranger to allow you to cut their hair is definitely a confidence-builder so you should feel really proud.
5. Keep them coming back.
If you provide your Dream Clients with a great client experience, you greatly increase the odds that they will come back. I’ve detailed the steps for providing a great client experience here.
You may wonder how you’re supposed to provide a great client experience if you’re having a bad day? Perhaps you’re tired because the baby was up several time through the night. Or you just found out your car needs some costly repairs. Maybe you had a fight with your mom. You’re human and there are a zillion reasons you could be having a rough day.
But to your client, this is their time with you that they reserved. They are paying you for your services and your attention. And in spite of having a bad day or being tired, as a professional you need to still provide them with a great client experience. They are not your therapist so you shouldn’t be complaining to them about your problems.
As hard as it is, it’s important to leave your emotions outside of your work space and focus on giving each client the best client experience you can. You’ll never regret keeping a friendly but professional relationship with your clients.
Pro Tip: Find healthy and safe ways to routinely manage your stress so it doesn’t rule your thoughts and wreck your business or your well-being. Here are a few suggestions to try:
Write in a journal
Talk to a trusted friend
Talk to a therapist
Brainstorming Session For The Win
Was Rika able to help Cara get to the bottom of her client dilemma?
Yes! It was perfect timing. Rika had just finished a course on branding for her own business where she learned the steps how to find ideal clients. She shared some helpful suggestions with Cara.
They ended up having a great brainstorming session and it helped both of them pin down their ideal clients. Cara realized her branding and social media definitely needed a makeover.
Cara felt so empowered now that she had a plan of action, and she would soon be filling her chair with Dream Clients. Admittedly, she was nervous about telling the problem clients that she couldn’t work with them anymore but her excitement to find her Dream Clients outweighed the fear, and she couldn’t wait to get started.
It sounds like both Cara and Rika added a boost to their confidence. And that’s the first step on the journey to success.
P.S. If you need help or support in any area of your hairstyling career, I would love to assist you. I’ve been in this industry as a hairstylist and educator for over 30 years, and I’ve had to rebuild my clientele 4 times over my career! If you don’t have a friend like Rika who can help you, I’m available to help you brainstorm how to update your brand and fill your chair with Dream Clients. Contact me.
On Point Hair Academy and my Own Your Chair program were created for stylists like you who need just a little help (or a lot of help) in different areas of their hairstyling business.
I invite you to book your FREE 30-minute Coaching Call to see what it’s like to work with me. We can discuss your challenges in your hairstyling business, and I'll help you formulate a plan of action.
Take the first step in your journey to hairstyling success and book now. I look forward to meeting you!
Click here for more information about my Own Your Chair program.
Remember, your work is not about you. Your work is about how you make your clients feel.