Persuading hair and beauty clients to have an allergy alert test can be tricky.
So tricky, that some 70% of salon and mobile businesses are skipping them, according to a survey by BABTAC.
Yet with lawyers offering no-win no-fee personal injury claims and insurers becoming ever more rigorous in their requirements, surely they are a business no-brainer.
In this blog I’m not looking at why you should insist on an allergy skin test – there is plenty of information out there from product manufacturers. Rather I’m looking at how you persuade salon clients that your insistence on a skin test is because:
- You are a hair & beauty professional.
- You are a trusted expert and they are in safe hands.
- You genuinely care.
Don’t worry. With some planned salon marketing and careful thought it is possible to turn a skin test into a positive client experience.
Cast a marketing eye over allergy skin tests
You understand why it’s sensible to have an allergy alert test.
But not all your clients do.
Many see it as inconvenient and unnecessary. An extra trip to your salon is a nuisance and yet another thing to have to fit into their hectic lives.
Worse, some clients view skin tests as something a salon owner does ‘to cover your back’. They feel it’s you being fussy. And of no real benefit to them.
So here’s how to turn this potentially tiresome irritation into a vote winner.
#1. Solid marketing foundations pay dividends
First accept that some marketing groundwork is called for. You can’t expect clients’ views to magically change overnight.
#2. Don’t dodge the allergy alert test topic
No-one wants to be told last minute that they must visit the salon before their eyebrow tint or hair colour service.
Tempting as it can be, don’t be coy and don’t beat around the bush. The sooner allergy testing is raised, the sooner you can start to convert it into a salon positive.
So educate your team to be upfront about skin testing and why it is so important for their client’s safety.
#3. Marketing toolkit for skin testing
Understandably many hair and beauty professionals hesitate about broaching allergy alert tests to their clients.
Make life easier for your salon team by providing clear information in easy-to-understand terms explaining the positive value of the test to the client.
3 easy ways to talk about this potentially tricky topic:
Blog about allergy tests
First, how about a salon blog post explaining the potential hazards to clients and reassuring them about ease and effectiveness of testing?
Having a blog on your salon website also makes it easy for your team to refer clients to it for more detailed allergy information. Younger stylists and therapists can find it a little intimidating if a valued client gets frustrated when asked to take another test. A blog makes life much easier for junior or shy team members.
Talk about it on all your salon marketing channels
Second, now regularly post about this blog on your salon social media. Your marketing message is that you are caring, trusted hair & beauty professionals who put your clients’ well-being and safety first. Don’t forget to regularly include allergy alert tests in your email marketing and e-newsletters too.
In-salon marketing resources
Third, endorse these marketing messages with in-salon literature for your team to use. Weave the skin test message into a client leaflet packed with professional tips and tricks on maintaining your hair colour/fake tan for longer at home. It all reinforces your role as an expert and trusted hair and beauty advisor.
#4. A positive approach to allergy alert tests
Clients do not want to hear that testing is ‘company policy’ or ‘I don’t know why we bother doing these skin tests’. Instead, educate your team to talk about allergic reactions and the test in a positive, clear way to clients.
Focus on the peace of mind it gives your client and put the emphasis firmly on their well-being and safety being paramount. Explain that as an experienced hair or beauty professional you would always have a test yourself before any colour service. A personal endorsement goes a very long way in reassuring clients as to the value of the test.
Always keep your language about the test upbeat and positive: It’s complimentary. It’s quick. It’s painless.
#5. Support your salon team with skin testing advice
Your team are in the frontline and will appreciate guidance and support:
- Educate them about the science behind allergic reactions and why a skin test is a sensible precaution. This gives them the confidence to speak with authority to clients and handle any awkward allergy questions.
- Clients often feel the inconvenient (for them) test is for your benefit only. A back-covering exercise. To counter this, suggest your team talk about your salon’s ethos and the importance of client well-being and safety.
- Remind your team to use clients’ names when discussing the test and remember to think about body language. This blog is well worth a read if you’re interested in learning more on salon body language.
#6. Turn a necessity into a marketing opportunity
Okay, persuading someone to traipse into town for a five minute salon visit is not an easy sell, I’ll admit.
So what can you do to make it more enticing?
Wrap it up with some client ‘What’s in it for me’ and hey presto it seems less of a chore.
Let’s look at a NEW client to the salon who wants to book in for a cut and colour. You’re worried (understandably) that insisting on a pre-appointment skin test will result in them cancelling.
Give this a go. Offer them a freebie 15 minute appointment for an in-depth colour consultation to meet their stylist, discuss what they want to achieve with their colour, chat about their hair condition and drop in that’ll you’ll also include a complimentary skin test at this consultation.
This sounds much more like you care about them, their new hair colour and are genuinely concerned they are wowed by their salon experience.
Accepted, you can’t take this approach for quick services like brow tints. Two salon marketing suggestions here:
- Be flexible and let them pop in at a time to suit them, without making a fixed appointment, for the skin test or
- If you want to sweeten the pill for a loyal high spending salon client offer a complimentary gel/Shellac removal at the same time or a quick file and polish to ensure they do make the effort to come in.
#7. Show clients allergy testing is important
Finally, let clients see you making up your records. It shows them that you take allergy alert testing and their well-being seriously. It confirms you as a hair and beauty professional.
And don’t forget black henna tattoos and allergy testing…
If you’re reviewing your salon allergy skin testing approach then head to this useful post on the allergy problems black henna tattoos can cause.