9 Top Insider Tips to Finding and Securing Partner Salons for your Aesthetics Business
We’ve partnered with over 100 salons over the years so we’re pretty experienced at finding and securing them. There are 9 steps to success:
STEP 1: LIST YOUR POSSIBLE TARGETS
Compile a list of all the possible salons in the areas that you’re targeting. Even if you think you might not want to work with them because they’re not ideal or already have a competitor injector working there, it’s very useful to have a master list because you’ll forget what ground you’ve covered, plus you can also check out your competitors’ prices at the same time.
We did this on a spreadsheet with different columns (suburb, salon name, date looked at, address and phone number, do they do aesthetics already, what it looks like on Google Street View, other notes – especially about where you’re up to with speaking to them because you don’t want to get caught out by calling the same place twice!), but a simple hand written list is totally fine too.
Compile your list of targets using:
- Your existing knowledge of the area having driven past salons, or any information friends have given you etc
- Yell.com etc
A good tip is to look at hair salons with a quality beauty room attached because they are relatively untouched by competitor injectors, plus hairdressers talk to their clients more than beauty therapists doing a massage so they can promote you.
STEP 2: LOOK THEM UP ON GOOGLE STREET VIEW
Have a nosy on Google Street View to see what they look like from the outside and create a shortlist from this.
STEP 3: DIG DEEPER
Dig deeper on the nice looking salons to see if you can find out any more and also if they do aesthetics already. Do they have a website, Facebook, Google reviews etc? Don’t forget that sometimes their website will SAY they do aesthetics but in actual fact the practitioner is no longer working there, so it’s worth a call just to check.
STEP 4: CALL YOUR SHORT LIST TO SEE IF THEY DO AESTHETICS ALREADY
Call them and pretend you’re a client interested in Botox and ask them if they do it. If they answer confidently that they do, ask their prices and note them down. This will help you build up a picture of your competition. If they don’t do it or the person who answers the phone is unsure so asks a colleague and they reply something like “she’s not been here for a while”, then you could probably get in there (although, there is a question mark over why it hasn’t worked in the past). Say thanks and put the phone down.
STEP 5: PLAN YOUR CALL BACK
Plan what you’re going to say and practice it. Get yourself into a positive frame of mind beforehand. One of the ways I do this is by getting pumped up by listening to Tony Robbins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFQzXJw4bQM
Prepare yourself for knock backs like “Oh no, I was burned by the last lady who did Botox here”. It’s always easier to deal with setbacks if you emotionally prepare yourself first. The answer to that particular objection is to really LISTEN to the reasons she was burned and then explain why you’ll be different e.g. if she says the previous clinician was unreliable, you can give her an example in your life about why reliability is very important to you (obviously only say this if it’s true or else you’ll lose credibility).
STEP 6: RING BACK
Call back a couple of hours after your initial call, offering your services. This is a good way of doing it because they often say “it’s funny you should ring because we only just had someone ask for Botox today!”
You’ll speak to a gatekeeper receptionist or another staff member. You want the manager, so first ask the receptionist again if they do Botox. This will get him/her into ‘serving client’ mode and therefore more open to a chat. Then when they say no, reply: “that’s great” because you’re a nurse/Dr looking to partner up with a local salon to offer Botox/fillers and can you speak to the manager (ideally research the manager’s name beforehand). If they say s/he’s not available, ask “when will s/he be available?” and keep calling back until you catch to them. Remember the Steve Jobs quote: “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”.
If you do get through to the manager, start by building rapport (possibly by referring to a connection you have with the salon) and then sell the benefits to them of having you in the salon. Always remember to stress what VALUE it will add to THEIR business. E.g.:
- You are a medical professional and safety is your number 1 priority (important not to diss local beauty therapists doing Botox because the person you’re speaking to will be a therapist and they are your potential partner)
- You have been trained at SkinViva Training which is the best (obvs!)
- You only use the best products e.g Botox and Juvederm (if you do)
- You have great aftercare and customer service so their clients will be very well looked after. This is important to salon managers because they need to protect their core business
- Having Botox/fillers in their salon provides them with a premium service to offer their clients. The aesthetics industry has seen double-digits growth throughout the recession so it’s a great time to get involved
- List the £ benefits to them. If you don’t know yet what reward structure you will offer them, just say “you’ll be maximising your rooms’ earning potential”
- Mention any treatment offers you’re going to give salon staff. We actually do 1 free treatment for each staff member because we recognise the power of getting staff signed up to referring their clients
IMPORTANT ACTION: Don’t forget to set up a meeting up at the end of the call.
TO CALL OR NOT TO CALL?
There was a debate on the SkinViva Trainee Network (closed Facebook group) about whether to call salons or just walk in. I know Joanne, SkinViva’s Business Development Manager, has tried both approaches and gets more success with walking in, but when I used to target salons I always called first because there’s a danger that if you just rock up, the decision maker won’t be there.
Having said that, I once created a job from scratch for Katie, our Customer Service Coordinator, on the strength of her just turning up unannounced at the clinic and asking to submit her CV which I was very impressed by! I literally created a job for her. One of her family members was a client though so there was a connection.
Another thing you could do is go and get your nails done there and getting chatting off the back of that. I was speaking to a delegate yesterday who procured a salon by accident just by getting chatting when she was having a wax!
STEP 7: AFTER THE CALL
Remember that if you don’t succeed to get a meeting booked, do NOT despair. You will find another location. For one thing, new salons are always opening up. Or, maybe you can look at other locations e.g. physiotherapy centres. Get creative. At the very LEAST you will LEARN from the experience which is worth a great deal.
STEP 8: THE MEETING
Introduce yourself and your values and how you’d like to work with the salon (£ terms, likely clinic dates, what you’ll require from the room). Have your insurance and training certificates, and ideally before and after pictures of clients you’ve done. Images are very powerful. Don’t put this off by thinking ‘I need to create a beautiful portfolio of work and get it designed and printed out professionally’ – you’re very unlikely to ever never do this, so just print out a couple or get them into an easily accessible place on your phone so you’re not scrolling though pictures of the kids in front of the salon manager.
If you’re both happy to go ahead (they may want time to think about it): agree £ terms including staff referral incentive scheme; organise your first clinic (don’t let this drift or else you’ll lose momentum); agree who will do what re initial and ongoing marketing (demo night; posters; leaflets Facebook shares; mentioning each other on respective websites; a text out to their existing database if they’re willing to do that; before and after print outs for clients to flick through in the salon’s reception area); if possible set up a training session with their staff so they understand what you’re all about; then tell them you’ll drop them an email afterwards to put the agreed terms in writing.
Don’t forget to have an exit plan in case the salon does not match up to your standards when you see the inside. You’ll have to change the tone of the meeting to be more one of ‘if we decide to go ahead’, and then call them back the next day to explain you’re not proceeding.
STEP 9: ACTIONS AFTER THE MEETING
Make sure you follow through with any actions you’ve promised. First impressions are so crucial because this is the time they’ll be talking about you lots with their clients.
We built our business on the foundation of great relationships with partners like salons, so this is a CRUCIAL opportunity to give your business the boost it deserves.