Someone once said to me “EVERYONE who comes into my salon is a VIP. I do not differentiate”. Bold statement. Because whilst I appreciate the sentiment, if EVERYONE is a VIP, surely no one is a VIP right? Because VIP implies an elevated experience for your clients. And if everyone has that elevated experience, then surely that experience is just, well, normal. But of course, wanting to attract a certain calibre of clients – particularly those who seek a VIP experience and are willing to pay for it, can only be a good thing. As long as you structure it in a way that provides different levels of VIP experience.

Hollie Power; Co-founder of Salonology, and Timely Live host, discusses ways to attract and retain VIP clients. Watch now to learn more!

When my husband Ryan and I got married, we went to a honeymoon planner, who booked us into a hotel in Mexico for the last leg of our holiday. When we arrived, we were blown away by the hotel. The grounds, staff, pools, everything, was beautiful.

We were taken to our room, with a full bar, sunken hot tub and balcony over the lazy river and we were floored. It was gorgeous. But guess what. It was the most inexpensive room they offered. The most basic of options.

Now, last August we booked a holiday to the Dominican Republic (we couldn’t go, obvs, but the analogy is still relevant). We booked to go to the same chain of hotels we had visited in Mexico on our honeymoon as we knew it was outstanding, but this time, we decided to go for a better room. This time, we booked a two-story suite with a rooftop pool in their Club level. We loved the resort, but wanted an even more VIP experience. Does that mean our first experience wasn’t VIP? No! It was amazing! But we wanted a VVIP experience this time. 

You see, they created an environment where everyone felt special. Where it didn’t matter if your room was the most basic level or the highest, you still got to enjoy the beautiful grounds, the delicious restaurant, and the great service. But, if you wanted a little more… You could pay the extra. 

So, it’s about creating an elevated experience, even if ALL your guests want to have a VIP experience when they visit. 

So, how do we attract these VIPs? That’s the big question, right? Well, how about we flip it round. In order to attract VIPs, we have to actively repel non-VIPs. Hear me out on this.

I know the concept of actually pushing away business may seem alien to many, particularly after a challenging couple of years, but there are certain clients we simply do not want in our salons. These are known as ‘low vibe clients’. We’ve all had them in our business at one time or another. Maybe you have one that regularly visits. Maybe you have lots. These low vibe clients damage your business because they complain, they argue, they look for problems, they ask for refunds, they don’t leave tips, they don’t leave reviews. You know the type I mean. We simply don’t want them. So how do we block them?

Where you market yourself

You need to think carefully about where you market yourself. Expecting to throw enough balls at enough coconuts in order to win a prize isn’t the plan here. We need to target the ‘spaces’ where our dream clients frequent. Are they on Instagram? Facebook? The local coffee shop? The golf club? Splashing your services into ‘cheap buy’ groups and ‘discount spaces’ will inevitably attract the wrong crowd.

Consider the language you use

Pitching yourself as a luxury, VIP experience, with the price tag to match, goes a long way in repelling those low vibe clients. And the language you use reflects this. Your message should align with what you offer and who you want to attract – so use the right language in all your marketing to demonstrate the high-level experience you offer.

Use gatekeepers

An online booking system in the simplest way to ensure insincere or problem clients’ won’t book. Most clients who are genuinely interested in your services and are willing to pay for them, will be comfortable paying a deposit, booking fee, or advanced payment for their treatment. By having this software in place, you create a financial hurdle for those potential problematic clients before they can book with you.

Now, that we have started to repel the clients we don’t want, we can start to attract those we do. 

Now VIP clients – or high vibe clients as I like to call them too – will differ from salon to salon. However, there are certain traits about VIPs which would be common for any business. These are clients who will tip, leave reviews, refer friends, be polite and courteous, show up on time, follow your protocols, follow aftercare. And whilst not everyone’s idea of a VIP is the super wealthy, having a level of disposable income means they are more likely to frequent your business, buy products and agree to upsells.

It’s up to you to be able to serve them in the exact way that they need in order to build the long-term relationship we all ideally want with our dream client. So, what is that offering? What are you uniquely qualified to do? Now let’s go back to the hotel story…

  • 80% of guests in that hotel wanted the standard VIP experience offered by the brand
  • 20% of guests in the ‘Club’ area wanted even more of a VIP experience offered by the brand.

Did this mean the hotel didn’t look after the 80%? No. Did this mean the hotel didn’t value them? No. Did this mean the hotel didn’t treat them like VIPs? No. They can serve both. As can you. Clients at a high level. And clients at a very high level. That’s the main secret behind creating a business that attracts and retains VIPs. You must actually create a VIP experience. So how do you do this? You identify what it is they need, and you provide it better than anyone else can in a way no one else can. Ultimately, our role as salon owners is to solve a problem. So what problem are you solving? And how can you solve it at an even higher level? Get into their heads. 

  • What is it they think about?
  • What is it they do?
  • What drives them?
  • What challenges them?

If you can work this out, and deliver it in an environment that they feel drawn to, you’ll always be busy.