That’s how long it took for my cosmetologist friend to lose so many clients that she almost got a day job.
The worst part: she didn’t even know she was bleeding out until it was nearly too late.
My friend’s 15-year business was built largely on personal referrals from clients, other cosmetologists + her salon owner.
Her retention was good; many of her clients had been with her since the very beginning.
And that was the problem.
She didn’t lose her clients in a massive hemorrhage after moving salons. There was no scandal that sent them scattering.
She lost them slowly due to outside circumstances.
To the near-demise of her business, personal referrals didn’t work fast enough to stem the bleeding.
If you’ve been in the business for a handful of years, you’ve probably seen it happen.
On average, even the best beauty and wellness business will lose up to 15% of their clientele annually. 😵
Reasons include moving, job loss and death—things you can’t control.
Sooo…if you can’t control it, what can you do to prevent a slow bleed to your client list? 🤔
Keep your books open to new clients
Even if you think you’re too busy, reserve at least one spot a month for newbies. That new client can replace someone who leaves suddenly, maintaining your steady clientele.
If the newbie spot doesn’t get booked, use that hour to work on your business rather than in it.
Diversify your marketing tactics
Don’t rely on just one method of attracting new clients.
That’s like trying to sit on a chair with one leg. You’re gonna fall over ⬇️
You need a marketing chair with 3 or 4 sturdy legs to holistically support your business, now + 5 years from now,
There are SO many ways to reach your dream clients. Here are a handful, many of which are free:
👉 Personal referrals
Your best referrals often come from existing clients. Dream clients run in packs, didn’t you know? 😉
Use a referral program to give each party a discount or freebie when the newbie comes in. Then, make the newbie’s first appointment *extra* special to clinch retention.
Benefit: No upfront costs. Your biggest fans vouch for you 🙌
👉 Professional referrals
Do you have a good relationship with another beauty or wellness professional? Strike a referral deal with them. Make it juicy + offer an exclusive gift to their clients. Or, give the reward to the pro.
This is how I built my nail business so fast. I made great friends with a hairstylist whose adventurous vision for hair matched my nail-art-pushing ways. Even though we haven’t worked in the same salon for 8 years, we still share clients who like being told what to do with their hair + nails.
Benefit: Your biz bud has the inside track to your dream client pool, so cut the legwork + share the love.
👉 Product referrals
Your favorite professional brand probably has a referral database for savvy clients who like their products. Having your business listed on their website can get their clients in your door for free.
Benefit: Clients who request high quality pro products are usually happy to pay premium pricing. They also tend to be a good cultural fit.
👉 Review sites
84% of people trust online reviews as much as a friend’s recommendation. What’s the first thing you do when you’re looking for a new restaurant, spa or chiropractor?
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for honest reviews. They want you to succeed + would be happy to help you out.
Benefit: Google, Yelp + Facebook are free to start with and highly effective without adding paid features.
👉 Your website
When done right, your website creates a whole journey for your dream client. They go from browser to buyer, choosing you over the beauty + wellness pro down the street.
A good website turns potential clients into paid clients without you having to return a voicemail, text or DM. (p.s. If you’re tired of returning phone calls and/or text inquiries, your website is probably slacking.)
Benefit: Beauty + wellness businesses generally have mediocre websites (at best). Having a good one is an easy way to stand out in your market.
👉 Social Media
Love it or hate it, social media is pretty hard to beat for free marketing. If you do it because “My clients aren’t on social media,” your business is destined to bleed out sorrynotsorry
Set yourself apart by adding value to your dream clients’ feeds instead of making it all about you. Use social media to build a portfolio of your work, chat with them + send them to your website to close the deal.
Pro tip: do NOT take appointments by DM.
Benefit: Hundreds of your dream clients out there scrolling their feeds, just waiting to meet your business. Social media advertising is the most cost effective, paid way to get clients in the door.
👉 Of these 6 possbile legs of your marketing chair, which 3 or 4 are the sturdiest?
Which are the most wobbly?
Are they working together to send dream clients through your door?
Because if they’re not, your clientele is slowly losing its life force.
Are you ready to stop the bleed out in your books?
Which marketing legs are working for your business and which ones are bleeding you dry?
With a Pivot Strategy Session, you get an expert’s eyes on your marketing, along with personal recommendations to help maintain (or grow!) your clientele.
This is a 100% customized review of your marketing tactics, not simply a formula to follow.
What exactly can you uncover in a Pivot strategy session? Here are a few possibilities:
👉 Where might your website be losing clients?
👉 Website tweaks will get potential clients to book instead of closing the tab?
👉 Are you talking to the same dream client across social media platforms?
👉 How can you create ONE marketing journey for your client, saving you precious time?
👉 How could you change the way talk you about your services so clients book?
If you feel like you don’t know what to post on social media,
If you’re not getting at least one client per month from your website,
If you recognize the slow bleed in your clientele,
Click here to book your Pivot Strategy Session + get the full picture of how your marketing now is affecting your business 5 years down the road.
Have you experienced the client bleedout yourself? What did you do to heal it? Leave a comment below.