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Hair Color > Articles > Ten Ways To Promote Your Color Business
Keri Manuel, Director of Education for Salon Business Strategies.

Increase your color sales and grow your bottom line. That's a simple formula. But there are additional, subtler advantages to stimulating haircolor service, too. Consider, for example, that color provides extra room for growth because it isn't overly time-consumptive for any single employee. In fact, with single-process color, the actual formulation is the only step in the process which requires the advanced skills of an experienced technician. The application, rinse and blow dry can all be done by apprentices or assistants -- giving them practical floor experience, and freeing time for others to service waiting clients. Haircolor lends itself quite well to team service. There are many ways to increase the profitability of color services in a salon, some of which are more obvious than others. Points to consider:

1. Market to the Chemically Dependent Client

Color is not a one-time service. When a client discovers an appealing color, she or he becomes locked into a long-term appointment series. Color clients are in search of a look, an image to set them apart. Having one's roots show is undesirable for the fashion-conscious client! A salon's level of appeal to clients is driven by the marketing function.

2. Use Your Knowledge As A Tool

If you've got it, flaunt it. Specialization is valuable; niche markets are continually being created and filled. If your color staff is the most talented in the community, get the word out. How well-versed in concept and procedure is each technician who formulates and applies color, and how effectively does each communicate color properties and maintenance procedures to clients? Professional relationships and client trust are in many ways built upon the sharing of knowledge. Helping clients achieve their desired image, telling them what they need to know and when they need to come back will encourage retention.

3. Reduce Backbar Investment

Keeping inventory under control is important to growth and profit in every salon department. Eradicating waste in the color department is particularly important because a little bit truly does go a long way. A high backbar investment, especially an unnecessary one, can quickly erode profits. Cap color tubes and bottles to prevent leakage, and maintain an adequate supply of foils, caps and gloves for a start. Be careful to dispense no more than the amount of solution needed to complete a service. It's also critical that salon staff and owners decide upon a color line or lines that will fulfill the business' needs.

4. Create Color Specials

New and old clients love to hear the words "discount," "special" and "promotion." It means a bargain for them, and can lead to significant increases in business for a salon if marketed and conducted in a systematic, organized manner, and if clients are retained beyond their initial visit.

5. Tap Into The Power Of Recommendations

"Don't just get a cut, get a whole new look." "Compliment your new nail color; we can even perform both services at once because the haircolor can process during your manicure." Talking about it gets them thinking about it. "What are we doing with your color today?" is the best line for clients not scheduled for color. But, be sure you are ready with an answer for what you think you should do with their color today!

6. Evaluate Color Lines

Can a single line meet your salon's every need? It can if all team members who work with color are fully educated on its properties. But many salons carry multiple lines according to the preference of each colorist, which can quickly become confusing for all involved, and costly. Most salons do quite well with one or two lines. The number of color lines carried, as with any other salon product, should be based on consumer demand and professional experience.

7. Optimize Time/Payroll Investment

Color services may consume hours of the customer's time, but require very little time from technicians. Formulations require advanced education and training, but it isn't necessary to pay the salon's "best" technicians to apply color. Most salons employ staff apprentices, part-time students or other team members new to the business who need low-impact floor experience. Color application requires a novice's technical skill, but offers the potential for great growth in people skills.

8. Make Your Operations Efficient

Profitability in service industries relies heavily upon the efficiency of operations. Gaining and retaining new clients and increasing their frequency of visit are two of the best methods of growing the salon's bottom line. And it's impossible to do either without effective systems.

9. Make It Team

Color can be a team sport. It should be a team sport. Many salons already sell color as a multi-step service involving more than one technician. When a customer asks for or about color, stylists are at ease with recommending other technicians to fill the need. Often, the stylists themselves initiate the color discussion, offering the services of teammates who have available time. The client's sense of security inevitably increases, as more people become involved in the service. From the initial recommendation to the rinse, three or four service providers may easily become involved. With the clients' sense of security comes loyalty to the salon.

10. Remember That Haircolor Is Here to Stay

Learn to take advantage of it. The buying patterns of salon clients in recent years show that haircolor is and will continue to be one of the industry's most sought-after services. It is a significant revenue leg in haircutting salons, full-service salons and day spas--and the only source of revenue (excluding retail) in the growing field of color-only salons.

Keri is an educator and consultant for Salon Business Strategies specializing in salon management systems, leadership, and compensation strategies. For more information, call Keri directly at 1.800.417.4848 ext. 112.
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