Hate giving salon discounts? Try this trick…

Maths and finances not your strong point?

You’re not alone.

But it could be losing you valuable business when offering hair or beauty discounts to your clients.

Bear with me (if you find maths boring) and keep reading. It’s a straight-forward trick and merits adding to your salon marketing toolkit.


Sometimes only a discount will do the trick

As those owners who work with me know, I’m not a devotee of discounts for salon or spa services. Yet sometimes they are a necessity – especially for persuading potential clients through your door.

None of us like giving profit away. If you’re going to offer hair and beauty discounts, then it makes good business-sense to get the most bang for your buck.

University of Minnesota researchers recently exposed a mind-boggling fact which can greatly influence which salon discount offers we’re likely to grab, and which get ignored.

Apparently “most people are useless at fractions.” It’s that simple.


Trick question. Which is the better salon deal 50% extra or 33% off?

The question posed by the researchers was: as a buyer would you prefer a 50% increase in quantity for free or a 33% discount in price?

On the face of it, an additional 50% for free sounds better than a third off. And the vast majority of consumers surveyed in the study opted for the free additional half.

Were they right?


The answer to your discount dilemma

When you do the maths… both discounts are exactly the same offering.

Here’s how.

Let’s say your beauty therapists are quiet early in the week and you decide to have an offer on a 60 minute body massage. After all, massages don’t use much product and your spa team have time on their hands.


You could phrase your spa discount like this:

Spa Discount Example One:

Special offer 33% off our relaxing 90 minute body massage (usually £90).

Now only £60.

At £60 this gives a saving to your spa clients of £30, compared to your usual massage price of £90.


Spa Discount Example Two:

Special offer free 50% extra on a body massage.

Book a 60 minute massage and we’ll give you an extra 30 minutes of massage FREE.

You’ll enjoy a luxurious 90 minute massage for only £60.

At £60 this gives a saving to your spa clients of £30 compared to your usual price of £90.

That is, both Spa Discount Examples are identical in the monetary saving they give to your customer.


Hair and beauty clients will snap up a bargain deal

As we saw earlier, research shows Spa Discount Example Two, with the 50% extra free approach, will appeal much more to your clients. They perceive it (wrongly) as being a more valuable discount than the 33% off.

If clients think they are getting a great deal from you they are more likely to book so you’ll sell more massages. And fill more gaps. And make more profit.

Don’t forget, you’ve just seen the two salon discount examples side-by-side and scrambled for your calculator. But your clients will only see a great hair and beauty offer for a free 50% extra come pinging through on their phone.


To help you use special offers to promote your business (and avoid the mistakes that can damage your brand) I’ve written an in-depth blog post here which looks at deals, reductions and discounts for hair and beauty businesses. You may also like to check out this clever little psychological discount trick (works best on men… yep, I’m not kidding) and our free salon marketing tools library as we’re adding to it all the time.

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