As we prepare to come back to our salon suites, we must keep in mind that creating a healthy environment for our clientele means more than just carrying the proper equipment, products, etc. to ensure a safe visit.
Communication will be key to making sure your clientele will be coming back to you in a healthy state and you will be providing them a safe environment to service them of their beauty needs. Since our industry is one where we come into contact with our clientele in a close space, we need to take all precautionary measures to adequately protect each client and their families as well as ourselves.
Here are some things you can do to communicate with your clients on new procedures that you are setting in place as you prepare to open up your business:
Vet your clientele
Reach out to your clients and ask them if they’ve been in contact with anyone who has been sick or was exposed to the COVID-19 virus. If they answer yes to any of these questions, ask them to take the proper precautions, to quarantine, and to reach out to their primary care physician. This vetting process of each client will ensure that you will not be allowing someone who is in a sick state to receive a service that may cause an outbreak in your suite or the salon as a whole. This is also the time that you should also let your clients know if you’ve experienced any symptoms or were exposed to the virus and the steps you’ve taken since.
New arrival protocols
As our salons reopen, be aware that new procedures will be put in place to ensure the safety of all who walk into our shared spaces. Let your clients know that they will no longer be allowed to wait in the hallways. Once they arrive for a scheduled appointment, ask them to call you to make sure they are able to come into the salon. If you are still with a client, ask them to wait in their vehicle and that you will let them know once it is okay to enter the salon. This will ensure that we are abiding by the “6 feet apart” rule.
Deep clean your suite
Prepare to deep clean your suite prior to re-opening. Make sure you have all the proper products to disinfect after each client. You will need to a lot time after each service to properly clean all surfaces thoroughly, as well as your chairs, door handles, etc. Taking this extra step to ensure you are taking every measure to sanitize will be appreciated by your clientele. Consider sharing these extra steps by video or stories to provide visual confirmation to your clients and create a sense of comfort and safety.
Work with your Concierge
Your Concierge will continue to be the first point of contact for all who enter the facility, exactly like they have in the past. When reasonable, your Concierge should try to open the door for customers. Realistically, this won’t be possible every time, but it is a good practice as it will limit contact transmission on door handles at the entrance. Furthermore, as often as possible, your concierge should care to properly clean and sanitize all touchpoints used by clients entering and exiting the salon. Your entryway should provide hand sanitizing stations to all your customers, as these products become available. Once entering the suite, each suite owner should likewise, offer hand sanitation to each client if these products are available for owners to acquire. We also encourage you to place signage at the front of and throughout your location instructing anyone who has a temperature or may even just feel unwell in general, to reschedule their appointments and consult with their primary care doctor as soon as possible and to self-quarantine until that time.
Now is the time to prepare to reopen and with a different outlook than before. Our business will be focused on offering the top service with the most sanitized and safe environment for our clients. To provide even more evidence of the steps you are taking, here is a link to a certification you can do online on infection prevention and control. Simply click here.
Taking these extra safety steps will ensure we are doing everything we can to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus and give confidence to our clients, suite owners, and vendors that Salons by JC is a safe place to continue to visit and get your services done. While there may be some frustrations with the new procedures, we’re positive that the large majority of clients will abide by them and champion you and the salon for taking extra measures to keep them safe!
We encourage you to visit our blog and to reach out to your franchise owner for more information, helpful tips, and for any other questions you may have.
Leads are the lifeblood of the salon suite concept. Without them, suites don’t get filled. However, there’s no Kevin Costner and it’s not as simple as “build it, and they will come”. Lead management in the salon suite industry takes an effective marketing strategy paired with an equally effective sales strategy and the ability to close leads as they come. Additionally, recognizing your leads, nurturing them, and providing everything a high-funnel lead needs to convert, are all part of the process.
Let’s take a look at the process from start to finish.
What is a lead?
In terms of digital marketing, and regarding salon suites, a lead is anyone who shows an interest in renting a salon suite. This means the following all qualify as examples of leads:
Anyone who clicks on an ad (Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
Anyone who organically visits your site or social media pages after using keywords or phrases related to salon suites
Anyone who direct messages you on any platform in regard to salon suites
Anyone who completes a lead form (Facebook, Contact, Profit Calculator, etc.)
Anyone who calls directly for information about suite rental
Anyone who visits your microsite with the intent to learn about suite rental
This means that regardless of whether or not you
A: Contact them successfully, or
B: Never hear from them,
they are a lead.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) VS. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
Now that we’ve identified what a lead is, we can get a bit more specific. There are two primary types of leads in the salon suite business, a marketing qualified lead (MQL), and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a lead who has indicated an interest in leasing a salon suite based on marketing efforts or is otherwise a lead who is more likely to convert and become a customer than others. For the marketing team, an MQL is a lead who has directly engaged with Salons by JC by completing actions, sometimes referred to as “events” or “goals”, like submitting a contact form, completing the Profit Calculator form, opting into our newsletter, calling or texting a location, downloading content or repeatedly visiting our website or a specific microsite.
These are leads that marketing sees as promising because they appear to be considering becoming a salon suite owner but they just haven’t quite moved into a sales conversation with a specific owner or concierge yet. However, marketing qualified leads are significantly more likely to be open to scheduling a tour or completing a phone call for more information than a normal lead. If you think about your own buyer’s journey, consider how unlikely you would be to submit a contact form with your real information in it unless you’re open to hearing more about the company or product. In summary, when marketing reviews a lead, they will define it as an MQL if they judge to likely be interested in your location and becoming a salon suite owner.
MQLs have taken the first steps to become a salon suite owner and are highly likely to be interested in additional contact from you as an owner or concierge. Simply put: Marketing Qualified Leads are ready for you to turn into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), which then turn into suite owners.
Keep one thing in mind. An MQL is not just a lead nor are they a guaranteed suite owner. Don’t overvalue or undervalue your MQLs. Marketing Qualified Leads are simply those who have indicated interest and may be open to further communication.
A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a lead who has been thoroughly vetted by both the marketing team and the “sales” team, in our case a concierge or a franchise owner, and is ready to seriously consider becoming a suite owner. What truly separates an SQL from an MQL is that they have been educated and have ultimately decided they are ready to have a conversation. This means that the bridge between marketing and sales is crucial. Once a lead has been provided to you to move into the sales funnel, there are a few things to accomplish to ensure the lead is an SQL.
Schedule contact and/or Complete initial contact
Identify if a lead is ready to tour
Determine if the lead needs more nurturing
Identify the lead as a false lead and remove them
If you confirm that a lead is ready to tour, then immediately schedule the tour! This means you have moved an MQL to SQL status and that you have a lead who may be ready to convert.
Now that you understand the differences between lead types, let’s look at how to generate leads in the first place.
Generally speaking, lead generation describes the marketing process of creating awareness and interest in a product or service for the purpose of generating leads for the sales pipeline. Hubspot defines lead generation as “…the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service.”
For Salons by JC, lead generation focuses primarily on inbound marketing including digital channels, social media, websites (content and SEO), and outbound marketing such as digital ads, email, traditional marketing such as mailers and banners, as well as on-site events.
Basically, lead generation is simply the practice of creating unique ways to attract people who may be interested in what your business has to offer.
Leads and the Marketing Funnel
Not all leads are equal. As mentioned above, there are many types of leads from many different sources. Knowing the true number of leads is important. It is an indicator of the success of marketing and promotional efforts, among other things. It is equally important to understand your lead funnel and where different types of leads fall in that funnel. Someone who clicks an ad, visits your page, and leaves after 1-3 minutes, is still a lead, but they are most likely in the “awareness” also known as the discovery phase, or the top of the funnel. They may still convert, even though they failed to do so initially, but it may require remarketing, additional visits to your social media pages or website, or comparison shopping on their part. Likewise, someone who organically searches for your branded keywords, “Salons by JC San Antonio”, as an example, and then completes a lead form, upon which you are able to contact them and schedule a tour in a short amount of time, is also a lead. This lead is most likely at the bottom of the funnel, somewhere in the “action” area.
What’s critical to understand about the marketing funnel, regardless of the model you choose to look at, is that with digital marketing, there is no truly linear path. Your leads can enter and leave the funnel at any point and return at other completely different points. This is one reason why it is so important to have an active marketing plan which includes ads, content generation, lead nurturing, etc.
Lead nurturing is critical when it comes to transitioning leads from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel and eventually to a conversion. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa’s Lead Generation benchmark report, companies who leverage lead nurturing see a 45% lift in lead generation over those companies who do not use lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing can take many forms. It may be passive, as is the case with blogs, videos, pictures, and other content that provides education, proof, and other information that someone in the funnel may need in order to convert. It can also be much more active. This may include regular communication in the form of emails, text (SMS), or phone calls.
The worst thing you can do for your lead conversion rate is to make a singular attempt at contact, i.e. nurturing, and then stop. If you do this, your conversion rate will suffer greatly.
To help with your lead nurturing we have implemented multiple processes as part of our marketing automation plan. Upon first contact, completing a contact form, leads are automatically added to an automation which sends them both emails over a select time period, as well as an instant text message. Throughout this process, leads are encouraged to call your location and schedule a tour with you. Once they come to tour, the sales process takes over and the marketing process ends.
The Transition to Sales
There’s always a lot of confusion between the responsibilities of a salesperson and a marketer. It’s no surprise since both teams of people have to work, or should work, so closely with one another. In fact, many aspects that sales and the salesperson were once was responsible for, such as educating the lead, are now done via marketing. So where does the line exist between marketing and sales? To put it plainly, Hubspot’s Meredith Hart says, “Marketing informs and attracts leads and prospects to your company and product or service. Sales, on the other hand, works directly with prospects to reinforce the value of the company’s solution to convert prospects into customers.” In other words, it’s time to close the deal and end the marketing loop by converting your lead into a customer.
To put it simply, if not enough leads actually convert into paid bookings, your business will struggle – no matter how many opportunities you generate. This is why we have developed our 10-5-2 system. If you’re closing your leads, you should see an ideal ratio of 10 leads, to 5 tours, to two leases signed, every month. That’s a 20% conversion rate.
So what challenges are concierges/owners facing to increase their conversion rates?
There are a variety of issues we see in terms of converting leads to tours. These can range from timing to understanding platforms, to interacting with leads properly and customizing the approach for each lead. Let’s look at a few of the biggest issues we see.
Time and Medium
One issue you may have is that you are responding to inquiries the wrong way or at the wrong time, losing potential suite owners. You must capitalize on the work that’s already been put in to generate leads by reaching out to your leads when they want to be reached and how they want to be reached. This means not forcing your leads to speak with you in one medium or another. For example, you may prefer to contact your leads only by phone. This may be a mistake, as seen in this study by vital, where their lead form conversions decreased by nearly 50% by requiring a phone number.
Likewise, you must take timing into consideration. If you have 20 leads and you reach out to all of them by phone at 8 am, you may get zero answers. This doesn’t indicate you have zero leads, or “poor quality” leads, but that you may have made a mistake in your contact strategy. In this scenario, you’ll definitely want to try multiple touchpoints in contacting these leads if you want to increase the probability of scheduling tours and leases.
Another issue we frequently see is the incorrect use of platforms. For example, many locations utilize Facebook forms for lead generation. However, far too often a concierge or owner may not know how to access their leads on the platform. If you have a great lead flow on Facebook but you’re failing to regularly check your leads, you could be losing potential suite owners at a significant pace. If you need help with this, check out our latest Ops notes email for a detailed walkthrough.
Similarly, while you should regularly receive your leads automatically, it’s wise to check your leads directly on WordPress in order to ensure you don’t have any leads you may have missed due to emails going to spam folders, accidentally deleted, or system issues.
Post Tour – Ensuring The Sale
Once you’ve toured a potential suite owner, you may still not have sealed the deal. If you’ve given a tour and not signed a lease yet, there are a few things you can do to take that final step. It’s all about the follow-up. While touring, you should ensure that you’ve identified how your lead would like to be contacted. If you have, you already know how you’ll be reaching out to your lead. So, reach out to your lead by their preferred method and at their ideal time (something else that should have been asked on the tour). Make sure that if they needed any additional information that at this time you are providing it. Additionally, you can encourage them to review the website, check out videos, etc. so they can become even more educated on their decision to become a suite owner.
You can follow-up for as long and as many times as is needed, but don’t overdo it. One MIT study found that it takes as many as ten follow-ups to maximize your chances of getting a response, with six being the ideal number. So don’t give up too soon! While this sounds repetitive, this is another point you should bring up while touring a lead who may not convert during the tour. Ask them where they are in their process, when they think they’ll be ready to lease, and how often they would like you to check back in with them. These types of leads should be maintained internally on a list that you manage and reach out to over time. Remember, follow-ups are a powerful sales tool and when done right can lead to significantly higher tour to lease rates.
Summing up: a system for generating more leads and converting opportunities into tours and leases
Generate as much quality content as possible to educate, inform, and engage new leads and drive new lead generation
Begin a lead qualification process as soon as possible and understand what types of leads you have
Don’t treat every new lead the same way – deliver useful, relevant information to leads to improve conversion rates
Establish a clear process for moving leads through different stages of their decision process
Create repeatable, optimized processes for dealing with leads in each deal stage- identify effective ways of handling objections and follow-ups
Implement automation and smart marketing/sales throughout the lead process
Maximize efforts where they’ll have the most impact
Understand the technology – a tool is only as effective as the person wielding it
Work with your leads how they want to be worked with – not how you prefer
Follow-up quickly and correctly – keep your leads from going cold
Since its launch in October of 2016, Instagram Stories has seen a 400% increase in daily user activity with over 500 million daily users, according to SocialMedia Today with research from Animoto. What does that mean to you and your business? That means that if you are not taking advantage of IG Stories and all the fun you can have with them, you are really missing out! Here are some tips to get you started on the right path.
What should I post about?
Walk around your location and show off your community
Hint: start by walking into the building then tour the facility. Make sure you let some of the suite owners know ahead of time so you can have them speak (testimonials on why Salons by JC rocks)
Share IG stories your location has been tagged in
Hint: you can also add more gifs and text to your reshared stories
Post photos you’ve taken
Incorporate the options that Instagram has in their app to your advantage
Instagram has given you an array of different options when you are working on your IG story. Use them all and make your story fun. Still hesitant? Experiment on your personal IG account and become comfortable with all of you options. Practice makes perfect. Get creative and tell a story.
Type – share your message
Music – music always livens up a video
Live – be brave and go live!
Normal- static and video
Boomerang – bring it back and forth
Superzoom – my favorite of all!
Focus – focus on a face
Rewind – reverse what you just shot
Hands Free – attach your phone to a mini tripod and forget about holding down the button
But that’s not all…
Did someone say you can add more stuff? Remember to mention who is in your story. Why you ask? Because then they can share it! Always add the location. Adding these little things allows people the ability to click on them and they will be directed to your location or the person you mention. Sharing is caring after all. Can you hashtag? Of course you can. #salonsbyistheplacetobe
Other options you can include:
Poll – do you like this?
Love it slider – ask a question
Quiz – have you had a service here before?
Photo- add a photo within the post
Day of the week
Have you opened your Instagram app yet?
Always remember to refer to your location and promote the fun environment at your Salons by JC. Take advantage to promote your in-house leasing specials. This creates great organic content for your location and for your suite owners. Do you need a little more assistance? Well you are in luck. We recently launched an Instagram Story training course that takes you through all the glory that IG Stories can bring to your life. If you’d like more information contact Marlene at the corporate office. Learn the tips and tricks you can use and don’t miss out on the fun.
ABOUT Salons by JC
In 1997, Jack Griffey and Cecil Miller began their journey to transform the beauty industry one salon suite at a time. Like most young entrepreneurs, they started out with a big idea but had to learn how to start and run a business from scratch. After much perseverance and hard work, one year later, they opened Salons by JC in Dallas, Texas in 1998, welcoming beauty and wellness specialists who were ready to break free from the traditional salon model. The company has since moved its headquarters from Dallas to San Antonio, where it continues to grow through franchising. Today, Salons by JC has nearly 100 locations in 26 states and Canada and are looking to develop of 200 over the next several years. For more information, visit salonsbyjc.com or salonsbyjc.com/franchise.