So Sick Of 'Word of Mouth'!

28 replies
Really, I am so sick of hearing 'we don't need advertising, we have word of mouth!'

Argh!

I have a rental hairdresser site, shows up SECOND in search results, gets like 100 hits a month for local search terms, I have had potential clients RINGING ME asking for a hair cut (my numbers on the site), but I get the same thing from nearly every salon I call...

"Look, we have tried newspapers/yellowpages but it all comes from word of mouth!"

I try to explain that search engine marketing is TARGETTED, that my services are TONS cheaper than print advertising, that a ROI is reported every month.

But they just don't want to hear a bar of it, this sums it up (a lady from a salon told me):

"I don't want to pay for new customers"

I have come to somewhat of a realisation : Most places seem to just live off word of mouth. That is, they literally don't need to advertise because advertising would only increase their workload, they are happy being 'mediocre'. This seems to be the majority!

What do I do? Any help or advice is appreciated...
#mouth #sick #word
  • Profile picture of the author mojo1
    Perhaps you might want to consider transferring your website's phone number to one of those 'word of mouth' companies and track the activity for 7 days.

    Follow up with them and then talk shop but be sure to ask them if they would like to continue receiving the calls before you transfer those same call to Joe Blow competitor.
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    • Profile picture of the author tinyreal
      Originally Posted by mojo1 View Post

      Perhaps you might want to consider transferring your website's phone number to one of those 'word of mouth' companies and track the activity for 7 days.

      Follow up with them and then talk shop but be sure to ask them if they would like to continue receiving the calls before you transfer those same call to Joe Blow competitor.
      Great idea

      Also, don't get discouraged some people are just idiots

      For example, I ran a business with offline CPA I wanted to get leads from restaurants. told them offer a contest first prize is a $200 gift certificate. We will pay for the gift certificate. Some still said no. I would just look at them all confused and go "why?" But who knows why, people have their own set beliefs in things

      move on! next prospect. After all, it's a contact sport!

      Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author umc
      Originally Posted by mojo1 View Post

      Perhaps you might want to consider transferring your website's phone number to one of those 'word of mouth' companies and track the activity for 7 days.

      Follow up with them and then talk shop but be sure to ask them if they would like to continue receiving the calls before you transfer those same call to Joe Blow competitor.
      Just my opinion, but as a service business owner I think this is way out of bounds. You have no right to interfere with my business. What if I truly can't handle more work and have to turn people away, thus negatively impacting the perception of my business because you interfered? Maybe more customers puts a labor crunch on and quality of work suffers? And finally, if you have to trick people into using your service, 1. I certainly wouldn't use you after this and 2. Your service is on shaky ground as to it's legitimacy.

      If you're willing to give away free leads, just be up front and offer that. Then I will be much more receptive as opposed to my feelings on your bully tactics.
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      • Profile picture of the author David Miller
        Anyone who's been in sales for more than an hour has heard this nonsense at least once. Although it translates to many other things, the overall translation is the word: "NO"

        Statistically every business looses 10% of it's clientele a year through death, relocation, and attrition.

        So here's your math problem for the day Payoman:

        If you lose 10% every year, and you aren't doing something to replace it, how long will it be until you have no more clients?

        In addition, salons? Worst of the worst. Unless you're dealing with high end salons, that usually call themselves "spas" you are wasting time. The typical salon is not the least bit interested in things other than coupons in the local penny saver. They may have a couple of listings on Google via a couple of reviews but that's it.

        Start calling real businesses.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    Originally Posted by payoman View Post

    Really, I am so sick of hearing 'we don't need advertising, we have word of mouth!'

    Argh!

    I have a rental hairdresser site, shows up SECOND in search results, gets like 100 hits a month for local search terms, I have had potential clients RINGING ME asking for a hair cut (my numbers on the site), but I get the same thing from nearly every salon I call...

    "Look, we have tried newspapers/yellowpages but it all comes from word of mouth!"

    I try to explain that search engine marketing is TARGETTED, that my services are TONS cheaper than print advertising, that a ROI is reported every month.

    But they just don't want to hear a bar of it, this sums it up (a lady from a salon told me):

    "I don't want to pay for new customers"

    I have come to somewhat of a realisation : Most places seem to just live off word of mouth. That is, they literally don't need to advertise because advertising would only increase their workload, they are happy being 'mediocre'. This seems to be the majority!

    What do I do? Any help or advice is appreciated...
    I don't know much about salons, but where i am at
    the owner "leases" the chairs and building to the stylist.

    the stylist actually has their own client list.

    Maybe you need to go get a hair cut. Talk to the person cutting your hair
    and simply ask, hey, do you have enough customers?
    would you like to have more? I can send you new customers
    lets work something out.

    Or ask them how they would go about selling the leads....

    From what i understand a lot of them cut hair in different places,
    not just one place, including some times, from their own homes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stranger Danger
    Personally, I'd target a different niche. Paying for leads is commonplace for insurance agents and brokers of all types. Home remodeling/renovation, maintenance and repair industries are also good. I have a friend that runs his own tree trimming business; he pays five figures, annually, on advertising, easily. Take a look at Servicemagic's website and you can see actual businesses (sorted by industry) that are paying for leads as we speak.
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    • Profile picture of the author tinyreal
      Originally Posted by Stranger Danger View Post

      Personally, I'd target a different niche. Paying for leads is commonplace for insurance agents and brokers of all types. Home remodeling/renovation, maintenance and repair industries are also good. I have a friend that runs his own tree trimming business; he pays five figures on advertising, easily. Take a look at Servicemagic's website and you can see actual businesses (sorted by industry) that are paying for leads as we speak.
      And paying BIG money for servicemagic too
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    I have a client that owns a salon and pays very well monthly...

    You just have to present what you offer, in a way they understand. If they don't need new customers, move on to the next.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    What do I do? Any help or advice is appreciated...

    Make some more calls

    Honestly how many people have you talked to?
    How many salons are there in this area?
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    • Profile picture of the author payoman
      Originally Posted by Eddie Spangler View Post

      What do I do? Any help or advice is appreciated...

      Make some more calls

      Honestly how many people have you talked to?
      How many salons are there in this area?
      Funny you ask that...

      I have contacted at LEAST 50 salons in the past week, and so far only have 2 appointments. I just got one now, which I am about to go to (he actually sounds very keen) and another tommorow...

      My new question : I have already quoted $150 per month for a salon. Iamnameless, is this way too low? I thought it would be the right ballpark for a salon.
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      • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
        Originally Posted by payoman View Post

        Funny you ask that...

        I have contacted at LEAST 50 salons in the past week, and so far only have 2 appointments.
        These numbers seem about right. Remember, you're presenting a pretty sophisticated concept to really unsophisticated people.

        Hair dresser is usually a part-time job and if you're talking to those women about the internet, but not about facebook or pinterest, they'll lose interest fast -- if they'll talk to you at all.

        Salon owners are a different breed, and they are the go-getters you need to talk to if you're going to stay in this market.

        In any case, do what IAmNameless says and make sure you're presenting your offer in terms they can understand.
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        • Profile picture of the author payoman
          Originally Posted by beeswarn View Post

          These numbers seem about right. Remember, you're presenting a pretty sophisticated concept to really unsophisticated people.

          Hair dresser is usually a part-time job and if you're talking to those women about the internet, but not about facebook or pinterest, they'll lose interest fast -- if they'll talk to you at all.

          Salon owners are a different breed, and they are the go-getters you need to talk to if you're going to stay in this market.

          In any case, do what IAmNameless says and make sure you're presenting your offer in terms they can understand.
          I get through to the owner usually about 70% of the time, but still to no avail.

          Seems a lot of business owners have been burned too much by blindly diving into the Yellowpages/classifieds etc. Makes me want to turn them onto Jay Abraham and other guys to show them how a few good audiobooks can turn those bad marketing method habits around.

          I just have my fingers crossed I call this guy tommorow and he says 'Yes, she's happy to go for that deal.' Although I doubt it will be the case, what can ya do...
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  • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
    Its a number game for all of this stuff. A good majority of business owners like this are clueless about marketing in general so even offering them customers on a silver platter doesn't even matter to them. There is a reason why 9 out of 10 small businesses go out of business in 5 years.

    I built a killer website demo (their website sucks and is full of errors) for a salon in my area and because they said money was tight, I offered it to them for a small hosting fee of like 29 bucks per month. That was 3 months ago and have never heard back. Another was gung ho about text message marketing and after setting everything up and trying to help them implement, they never did anything with it, even though they swore up and down they wanted to make it work.

    So salons are maybe not the greatest niche unless you find an owner with a brain. But that goes for any niche I guess. When you do find an owner that "gets it", treat them well because they will pay you forever for your expertise.
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  • Profile picture of the author yong9999
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    • Profile picture of the author payoman
      Originally Posted by yong9999 View Post

      Just love your stuff Martin! We are so much in a bad economy and here you are giving ANYONE a way to make a buck. Gotta love it.
      Yeah, how about you do your share and stop leaving it all up to poor Martin (?) to contribute to this forum?
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      • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
        ^ He is a spammer. Happens every morning when America sleeps their time.

        Just hit the red warning triangle at bottom left and report it as spam and eventually a mod will get rid of him and all his posts if you didn't know.

        Anyway, moving on.

        When you see this person you can try to sell him on the potential or you can sell him on the reality.

        People normally pay for the reality. ie What you say will happen actually is happening if figures stack up.

        So as you have this salon site and are having a little difficulty and it has taken you maybe a week or so then you are losing money just there unless you have no time value yourself.

        So when you meet the guy tomorrow it will be a lot quicker to outline that you already have a site up that you know produces leads for haircuts, but what I would like to do with your permission is just give you that site for 2 weeks and see if that is a continual trend.

        In 2 weeks time I will pop by again and if you got any business out of it we can discuss some sort of ongoing payment that is beneficial to both of us. Is that fair enough?

        You get the idea.

        Just get it taken by someone instead of beating your head against the wall because once you have done this and it does what you say it will then you have a testimonial and case study plus referrals.

        Hairdressers tend to know tonnes of people.

        Dan
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        • Profile picture of the author Jerry McGough
          Hair salons might be one of the few businesses doing well despite the crappy economy.

          When I take my son for a cut, there's ALWAYS about ten people ahead of him.

          The Nails shops are virtually every quarter to half mile on all main roads......and busy.

          If most salons are busy, they'd be hesitant to pay money for something that's not broke.

          I'd suggest getting a cut...quiz the person cutting your hair...then ask to talk to the owner. Try to get the answer right from a horses mouth.

          Rule of thumb....people working for tips (your cutter, bartenders, waitresses, etc.) will normally be willing to chat and help you if they can.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aussieguy
    The reality is, you will simply come across businesses that have enough business. Period. I mean, wouldn't you like to be in the same position yourself? I've known plenty in business who are busy enough. My mechanic runs a very professional, premium priced, profitable operation - you have to book well in advance. We chat, and the reality is, he can barely keep up with the staff he has. Moving to an entirely new premises and taking on more staff is just not something he wants to do. And, why would he? People have life choices to consider.

    The economy is not exactly boom-ville (although we're a bit better off than our American friends), but there are still businesses that are simply busy enough.
    Therefore, logic says.....if you try and sell "more customers" (i.e. that's your 'product') to a business that does not need more customers......well, it's just against everything logical. It'd be like someone trying to sell you a web site!

    Is there something the salons need and could benefit from (whether they're aware of it or not) that you could sell them? That's a better approach.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    I think you are targeting the wrong segment of this industry. Dressers who pay for their space and who will pay for leads/appointments will be hard to find. Salon owners who are building a brand are the ones you want to target. They can offer to help build the dressers clients as a benefit.
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  • Profile picture of the author payoman
    Well, I might have come out with a bit of luck on this one.

    I had the meeting with this guy the owner had hired to manage the advertising/marketing of her 3 salons in our region. Now, this guy was absolutely loving everything I was saying, and even went as far to BEG me to call him before I had this other appointment with another salon owner (who wasn't sounding too crash hot over the phone).

    So, I will hear back tommorow. I targetted salons initially for my rental site because there was virtually NO competition and I figured I would have some type of monopoly on the hairdressing industry.

    Unfortunately, most hairdressers were happy with their clientelle or didn't give me a chance to completely explain the benefits. So, I have these 2 potentials left and after that I'm gonna have to start doing walk ins if they don't go through with it. (sigh)

    I would be happy landing a BIG client though I suppose, would make things alot easier financially instead of jumping week to week on little sales ($600 websites). Anyone got suggestions for local industries that want websites and SEO's that pay big? (aside from dentists, tried that, will try again in a couple months).
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  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    Don't rely on one lead. Get two more today.
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    I agree that salons (nail and hair) can be tough but personally I've had some really good success with them.

    Just like any business, they often go into it because they love doing it. They aren't always the brightest when it comes to marketing but that's ok because we just need to take some time to educate them and show them how we can make them more money and get them more popular. In my experiences, salons LOVE to be 'popular' and that's a fantastically magic word that I've used to close salons on all sorts of services.

    I think I have close to ten if not more salons as clients for different services I do. They don't typically spend big money but some of the bigger spa/salons will especially if they're newer and have fresh loan money. I like to go right after them once they open.

    An interesting co-incidence with this thread, in my private forum someone wrote this yesterday, which I want to demonstrate the point that they are NOT impossible to sell...

    "I went out on my first cold walk in on 4/13 (a Nail Salon) and closed them. I didn't have any fancy pitch. I didn't have a website. I didn't have Bob Ross' sample cards. I didn't have any leave behinds. I didn't even have a business card for crying out loud. I was nervous and uncomfortable with my approach and my pitch, and they bought anyway. I literally had to write my name, phone number, the ad size they wanted, and the price we agreed to ($575 for a 3x2) on a piece of paper that THEY PROVIDED. For goodness sake, I didn't even have a sheet of paper or a notebook to write my contact info on. I did at least have my own pen."
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  • Profile picture of the author payoman
    UPDATE :

    Thanks to all of you who put up with my complaining so far. Today was a great victory! I had the appointment I set over the phone and the salon owner was very impressed with my offering and asked me to do a complete website redesign ALONG WITH the SEO related services.

    Although this means doing SEO for a new site and not renting out the original site, I might end up turning my original site into a hairdressing directory or something. Thanks for the support guys! That's a sale per week so far, not too bad for the first month or two of business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I skimmed the thread and didn't see this brought up. But lets say word of mouth is working for them. Aka they are booked at capacity. And your site is getting leads. What does that say? It says their are customers out there that need to get their hair done that can't get into these salons.

    Basically it tells you their is a market need. Can you fill it? Could you set up a salon and find stylists to fill the seats? If so you may be missing a chance to build a business on the side.

    In our local market here there are too many stylists as we have a cosmo college locally. But in your market maybe there isn't.

    Now for one of my classic outside the box thoughts. Why not try to find some smaller part time stylists that do it out of their homes? You could use your site and start as a true lead service. You could be their booking agent. Set up with enough small stylists and you could make a healthy service with minimal work for yourself.

    Charge them $20 per lead. Yeah it might make that first time not profitable for them but it is all about repeat business and once they have a client they can keep them.

    Or you could start a service where they call you to book always. You handle the bookings and they handle the clients and you have a contract where they pay you a percentage and/or monthly fee for this service. Maybe $50 plus 10% of said clients.

    You could really take this somewhere but you need to step out of your box.
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    • Profile picture of the author goldog
      Wow that sound like a great idea. If you set this up some of the services could even be set up as a mobile, we come to you, type service.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by goldog View Post

        Wow that sound like a great idea. If you set this up some of the services could even be set up as a mobile, we come to you, type service.
        You're seeing my vision completely. Wouldn't work in my local market sicne we have too many stylists here. Well maybe the mobile would. Considering my best friend's mom owns a small day spa and salon maybe I should consider this more locally.

        But for the right service and market someone could make a lot of money being the middle man.
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  • Profile picture of the author adam2526
    marketing and advertising are the biggest part of a company growing, although word of mouth helps it does not do all the work, i would never depend on word of mouth, even word of mouth many times does nothing, those are my thoughts nice topic to post about.
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  • Profile picture of the author ketset
    Word of Mouth is another way of saying - Good Marketing. People tend to believe it better than most other forms of 'advertising' and unfortunately a bad product can sometimes be made better by this strategy.

    You can never bet against research - so before believing word of mouth - do your own research and make your own informed decision. Don't let others make that informed decision for you!
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    • Profile picture of the author Rollmodl
      Isn't word of mouth part of social media advertising? Go with the flow and tie your sales pitch together using social media. Listen to what the customer is saying and adjust accordingly so they can relate.

      Don't fight the customer and confuse them with marketing terms they may not understand or care about. Do you think a salon really cares or understands ROI, targeted marketing, hits, etc? Keep it simple and speak on thier level so they understand.
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