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Chances are you can describe your preferred type of client, you have a pretty good understanding of her needs, and you offer her services and products at fair prices. When clients spend money on what you offer, they are validating you as a business. Money is revenue. Enough revenue, combined with responsible financial management, becomes profit. Profit is, a sometimes rare, validation.

  • New clients validate your offering, your space, and your marketing. It’s good enough to try once.
  • Returning clients validate your total experience. It’s worth trying again.
  • Loyal clients validate your total experience. It is better than your competition.
  • Clients who are your advocates validate the presence of a strong emotional bond.

Usually salon owners I meet spend most of their time thinking about getting new clients—and then their attention is diverted. It is the owner’s responsibility, and opportunity, to create a deliberate plan to move their clients through each stage of Client Maturity.


Clients at each stage are open to different messaging and capable of different behaviors. For example, no one would expect a brand-new client to refer all of her friends to you—but for a Loyal or Advocate it would be natural. I argue, “Why do so many salons hand out referral cards to brand new clients?” I don’t think they are capable of “hearing” that message when they are still deciding about you themselves.

Client Maturity planning helps you focus energy to achieve specific results rather than throwing the kitchen sink at your entire client base and seeing what happens. Relating this to our topic of Diversion (and your need to grow your retail sales)

I urge you to first focus 80% of your attention on creating solid populations of clients within each stage and the retail problem will partially solve itself.

The converse is obviously false since focusing 80% of your attention on selling retail will not create Return, Loyal, or Advocate clients.

For any problem you encounter, ask yourself, “What is it about our offering, our price, our experience that is the root cause here? What can we do better to keep this client firmly in the Return stage and potentially grow them to the Loyal stage? If you’re not sure of that, no amount of asking them to buy your retail will help. From the time a new customer starts looking for a new salon, to the time they return, to the time when they rely on you to satisfy more of their needs, to the time they refer their friends; you are in relationship with them. The more responsibility you take for how they perceive and experience your salon, the more opportunity you have to make a good impression, satisfy their needs more deeply, and develop positive lasting relationships that translate into more sales of everything.