Telephone techniques that could make you $50,000 a year

Telephone Techniques

Telephone-answering-salon-anthony-presottoOf all the things that can go wrong in a salon and cost us clients it is the telephone that I find the most frightening. Having polished skills on the telephone can make a huge difference to your business.

So what are some important things to remember when answering the telephone?

Answer by the third ring? Take a deep breath and calm yourself? Smile when you answer the phone? Sound friendly and enthusiastic?

Well while they are all valid points they really mean squat when it comes to the everyday problems that we have when we answer the phone.

What is the number one thing you’re asked when you answer the phone?


And what are the most common answers?

A cut is $25 but if you want it blow dried that’s another $25—$30 depending on the length.

We can’t quote prices over the phone. You will have to come in for a consultation.

A cut and blow-dry is $50

And the number one response from clients?

OK, I’ll call you back – CLICK!

What they are really saying is, I am not convinced about the salon. I haven’t heard enough to have confidence in you yet. I want to try ringing other salons and see if they sound better.

Think for a minute you’re a client, you are looking for a new salon to have your hair cut and coloured, usually before an important event so you have to look good. You start ringing around the local salons looking for a complete stranger you can trust to do your hair. What would you be looking for from a salon?

Some of the things you might think of are friendly staff, who listen to your needs. Stylists who are competent and experienced and take pride in the work they do. What exactly are you going to get for your hard earned money. Ultimately will I be happy?

But do clients ring the salon and ask any of that?


The ask how much we charge. Can you see the problem here? They judge how good we are based on the answer to a question on our prices. What they are really saying is “why should I choose you?” and our reply? THE PRICE!

If the only reason that clients are coming to you is the price—you’re in big trouble. The problem with discounting is someone will always be cheaper. As soon as the salon down the road offers a special, they are gone.

When a client calls the salon and asks how much, what they are listening for is:

Friendliness, competency, experience, professionalism, helpfulness, stylist who know what their doing, and what am I getting? That is, VALUE for my money.

The bottom line is when a client calls and asks “how much?” what they really mean is “Impress me! Why should I choose you?”

Is this really a big deal? After all it’s just a price enquiry. OK let’s look at some figures….

Say you have 5 staff members and they all take 2 calls a day for a price enquiry and your open 6 days a week, that‘s 60 potential clients for the salon.

Now if your client ticket average is $100 that could be $6000 a week not coming into the salon. Take it a little further and say your regular clients come every 6 weeks (8.6 visits a year), that’s $51600 per year. Now if the average life time of a client is 3 years that’s comes to a total of $154800 of business your losing EVERY WEEK! So tell me. Is it a big deal?

So what do you do when a client rings and asks how much?

First thing is to take the emphasis of the phone call off the price and onto their hair and what they are wanting done, because that is really what the want to know.

Start with asking their name, and use it during your conversation. Ask them about their hair, is it coloured, the length, is it curly or maybe fine hair, do they want “dead ends” removed or are they after a restyle, and if they are what sort of look are they after, this will help you guide them to the stylist most suited to them.

The most important thing to know before you start to book them is what day they want to come in. It is no good telling them that Anthony is really good at cutting choppy short styles and they want to come in Wednesday which is his day off, now anyone else is not going to be as good, you have just said that Anthony was the best. Always check the day they want their appointment and then match the stylist to suit.

So lets put it all together as to how a price enquiry phone call might run.

Client: “How much do you charge for a haircut?”

You: “Sure thing, may I just ask your name please?”

Client: “Michelle”

You: “Michelle, have you been to the salon before?”

Client: “No”

You: “Well Michelle it depends a little on what you would like to have done. Tell me a little about your Hair and what did you have in mind?”

Client: “I just want some more layers and maybe a little shorter”

You: “Michelle with all of our cutting services we have a tired pricing structure that relates to the experience and reputation of the stylist. Prices start at $25 for our Professional Stylists, $45 for our Executive Stylists and $65 for our Master level, all are fantastic which level would you like to book in with?”

Client: “I would like to book for the $45 haircut

You: “Would you like to come in today or would you like to make your appointment for a different day?”

Client: “Today if possible?”

You: “Michelle would you like a morning or an afternoon appointment?”

This is also good time to add additional services…

You: “A Permanent colour or foils would make your cut look even more fantastic would you like to book in for a few foils or a colour now?”

You: “Michelle, just to let you know that we offer a range of beauty services and have time available to do an eyebrow wax or lash tint. Would you like to book in for an eyebrow wax or lash tint?”

You: “Michelle, I just need a few details from you to book the appointment, your last name is?”

Remember this script is only a guide use it as a starting point and put it into your own words. It will feel scripted at first and unnatural but the more you do it the more it will be come yours and be second nature.

As you add it to the computer spell it out loud to the client. If you spell the client’s name incorrectly they will usually correct you over the phone. Also ask for their best contact number and how they found out about the salon. Put the customer’s name and mobile phone number into the appointment book. When confirming the appointment back to the client if their appointment is at 2.45pm tell them that it is at two forty five – NOT quarter to three. Finally make sure that the client knows how to get to the salon and then hang the phone up after the client has hung up!

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About Anthony Presotto

Currently one of only two Australian hairstylists who are members of the Hairdressing World Expert Panel, Anthony Presotto is on a mission to empower salon owners, sharing his expertise as an author, international speaker and salon business strategist.

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