Are you discounting your services to get business? It’s a common practice among salons, but it’s an expensive and ineffective way of attracting good, solid repeat clients.

What makes it so expensive? Let’s say you offer a $10 discount to 5 clients each week.  That means you will lose $2,600 per year in cold hard cash.  That’s like paying an extra month of rent. Just think how much back bar and retail product you could buy with that kind of money!  

But many salons and spas use discounting as a primary marketing tool. I think it’s largely because they don’t realize there are far more effective methods for getting new clients, methods that ultimately turn prospects into solid, repeat clients.

And then there’s the other ugly problem with discounting: It sets the client up to expect it again and again.

How to fix the problem

First, understand what’s going on with the public. Although 90% of Americans are working, there is still concern for the 9-10% that aren’t. That means consumers are looking for value to justify spending their money. The public needs to feel they’re getting more for their money.

So here’s the good news: instead of blaming the economy, use it to your advantage. Bundle services together in a package at an unbeatable price. For example:

“$286 in spa/salon services for an incredible $99!”

Here’s a sample from a partial hair ad:

FREE Semi-Permanent Colour Shine valued at $65

FREE Tingling Scalp Massage valued at $12

FREE Spa Gloss & Hydration Hair Treatment valued at $28

That’s $105 in value. 

It doesn’t really cost you $28 to do a hair treatment.  At most it will cost you $1.  And if you get the client in for $99 you’re way ahead, especially if you compare it to having an empty chair.

The same is true for the aforementioned hand massage. It doesn’t cost $24 to do a hand massage, but it does take some skill, sometimes even a certain technique. Give the hand massage a special name to reflect its uniqueness and the subsequent value.

Remember to place a value on your consultation time as well. It’s a service you already provide; place a value on it.

As you may have guessed, this type of marketing is called value-adding. It places the focus on more, not less. It also creates a WOW effect for prospects and current customers. Just think of what you can do with hair treatments!

Use Packages To Promote Other Services

Use packages to add complementary services with your offer like a light makeover. Then sell the make-up products. It just takes a little bit of your time and some make-up. Clients rarely leave without buying something!

Package offers together with a service you want your clients to know of and start using. When I owned my small spa, we did this all the time. It’s an incredible tool for building awareness and hooking people on another part of your business.

The Rule Of Three

If you arm yourself with this important mind shift, from discounting to value-adding, you can attract the clients you really want in your salon or spa. Focus on value, never discounting.

Just remember, get prospects back in three times and they are usually yours for life. The sooner you stop discounting and start value-adding, the quicker you’ll gain more clients, make more money and stand out from the pack. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

About the author: HAA member, Susan Vincent owned a small spa in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for 10 years. She is the now the owner and writer of Easy Salon Newsletters, a done-for-you newsletter service that provides hair, skincare, make-up tips and a bit of humor for salons and spas around the world.