Thankfully, the world is filled with different types of people.
For your business this can be either a godsend or a constant source of irritation—depending on which types happen to live nearest your business. Like Blanche DuBois from a Streetcar Named Desire, spray tanning has always depended on the kindness of strangers. Similar to a large beat up van whose driver is giving out free candy and puppies, sometimes these strangers can be more trouble than they are worth. In this business you need to know when to push the sale, know when to let the sale come to you, and “know when to fold ‘em”.
1. The Browser
Do you mind if Eyebrows?
“I may be interested in spray tanning, but then again maybe not. What I’ll probably do is walk around your shop asking you questions that I’m only kind of curious about and take up your valuable time that could have been spent on a more serious customer. I’ll probably leave, but then come back and ask you the same questions again or ask about any deals or discounts you may be running now or in the future—but don’t be fooled: chances are I won’t take advantage of what you offer me. If I do finally make a choice, it will often be one of your least expensive services, ensuring that whatever money you make from my business will not have been worth your time.”
2. The Deal Seeker
“Alright, so here’s the thing; I know you got a business to run, but I’m just a guy trying to save a few bucks—you can understand that can’t you? So what I’ll do is offer you my business, but only if you give me a deal, and then I’ll take that offer and bring it to another salon and promise them my business and see if I can get a better deal there. Pretty slick, eh? The truth is I don’t care about your business; I’m just looking for the cheapest I can get. I can be terrible for your salon because I’ll tempt you to lower your prices just to “win” my business even though there is a good chance that I’ll only ever come back if you offer me the same price—or even lower since I found that great salon down the street that is offering such an amazing deal right now!”
3. The One-Timer
“Oh my God you have the cutest salon! The only problem is that I’m just trying all this out because I got a gift card from a friend of mine—maybe you know her, she’s so great–or maybe I’m only in here because I’m going to a wedding; either way you’ll probably never see me again. So yeah, I’m a lot like the Browser, but there is a small chance that I might become a long-time customer—but it’s going to take tons of work, and probably a lot of time and deals just to convince me. After all, I wasn’t really interested in this business anyways—but I’m not going to waste a gift card!”
4. The For-Lifer
“I came in here once—what was it hun, five years ago now? I liked it so much that I never even went looking anywhere else: I just know that nobody does it as good as you. On a monthly basis I tend to send you a referral or two, but sometimes my demands and expectations can be a little ridiculous—like that time I asked you to give my dog Cookie a haircut, or how about when I had my ungrateful sister’s wedding to go to and asked you to drive three hours out of your way for my appointment? Because you’ve been so good to me, I’ll probably never leave you, but you should know that because I see us more as friends I will almost certainly expect you to occasionally bend over backwards for me: but usually I’ll be more than generous when I compensate you—and you’ll get a wonderful holiday card with Cookie and her new haircut!”
5. The Gossip Guru
“Did you hear about Joanne? You did? Then you must have heard about what her fiancé did? No? Then sit down—you’re going to love this!—-This is how I start, maintain, and end every single one of my visits. While I am certainly lively, and we never run out of things to talk about, I can also be very demanding: sometimes I may insist that we finish a conversation after my appointment has finished which can push into your next appointment window and other times I might not “take the hint” that you are really busy and follow you around like Joanne’s puppy that her fiancé took back (can you believe it?). The good thing is that, as a gossip guru, I talk about how wonderful your salon is to anyone who will listen so I tend to create a healthy amount of word-of-mouth sales for your business; I’ll admit though that I may also scare away some of your potential clients because some people might find my gossiping annoying which is just so ridiculous because, I mean, if they didn’t want me to talk about their business then they would keep their affairs more secret, wouldn’t they?”
6. The Reviewer
“Because I post to about a hundred different review sites, and talk daily on forums, and host three blogs, I’m what you might call a review professional. Much like Clint Eastwood I can make your day. Also like Eastwood I can be your worst enemy. I review everything from grocery stores to deli carts. Make me mad and I might try to ruin your business with a one-star write up filled with things that may or may not be true (after all, most reviews are proven to be emotionally-driven):
“Pale No More” tanning salon had rats running around the floors and bird feces on the walls. I slipped on the sidewalk and nobody came out to help me. Only go here if you hate yourself. Less than one star!”
On the other hand I can worship you like a Goddess and say things like:
“When I first stepped into “Pale No More” tanning salon I felt as if all my cares fell away—during my appointment I was treated like a king, and when I left I nearly cried because I wanted to stay there for the rest of my life. Your life is empty if you haven’t gone to “Pale No More”. Ten out of Five Stars!”