Being a sole trader is like working multiple full-time jobs at once. Your accountant (you) has their hands full balancing the books. Your marketer (also you) is run ragged keeping up with the latest social trends. And that’s not even considering the actual time YOU need to do the job you love.
So, how would you like a few ideas to reduce the pressure on your poor receptionist (still you), and keep your appointment book full? We’ve got you covered with 8 handy tools to make your life as a sole trader a whole lot easier!
1. Cut your incoming calls in half with Online Booking
Do you ever feel like the phone is ringing off the hook ALL day?! It constantly interrupts your time with your clients, but you don’t want to leave potential clients hanging (and potentially miss out on bookings) by directing them to voicemail…
And then there’s the constant call backs. 📞📞🙄 📞📞
It’s a never-ending struggle!
But there is a third option – by ensuring you have a reliable online booking platform ready and raring to take appointments, you can cut your incoming booking calls IN HALF! Online booking gives you more time to focus on the client already in your chair.
So feel free to set that pesky phone to voice mail with a perky message directing them straight to your online booking and get back to doing the job you love!
2. Get bookings through your socials with a “Book Now” button
If you’re anything like the rest of us, you probably spend a good portion of your day cruising social media. Chances are, your customers are doing the same. This is your prime-time opportunity to capture bookings!
Adding a “Book now” button to your Facebook or Instagram profile gives your clients a super-easy way to book straight from your socials. Having that “Book now” button front and centre gives you an extra-punchy call to action you can direct your followers to from your post captions. After all, the easier you make the process – the more likely someone is to make a booking!
So, set up that button and get posting, peeps!
3. Let your software do the upsell with smart service suggestions using Related Services
One of the most common concerns sole operators have around setting up online booking is the worry that clients might not book their services correctly. For example, they might book a half head of foils, but not a treatment and toner.
But no stress – that’s where Related Services comes in. This handy feature lets you link Required Services together so you can be confident clients are booking exactly what they need.
Plus, you can maximise your upsell potential by suggesting additional services with Recommended Services. Like adding on a luxe, hydrating mask to an express facial, or a restorative hair treatment to a colour, cut and blow-dry.
4. Get more clients through word of mouth with a referral program
Did you know that 92% of people trust personal recommendations over all forms of advertising? That’s an amazing power right at your fingertips if you can harness it. That’s where referral programs come in.
Since you’re probably already performing WOW-worthy service, give your fans incentives to sing your praises and have them become your biggest promoters. By setting up a referral program, your clients can do some of the hard work for you.
And you don’t need to do anything too complicated. Something as simple as a small discount or gift for every new client referred can be a great incentive.
Just remember to ask new clients how they heard about you. It can be a bit awkward if you promise to reward referrals but forget to follow through.
5. Save time and reengage with clients using Shortcuts Marketing
Having a marketing tool that works with your appointment book is a simple way to engage your customers. And with a system like Shortcuts Marketing, where all the hard work is already done (just approve and activate each ready-made campaign), you’ll find yourself saving so much time while also keeping those clients coming through your door.
Consider how the following campaigns could work for your business:
- Refer-a-friend thank you – make use of the powerful resource that is word of mouth recommendations
- Birthday offers or gifts – a fantastic way to boost your client loyalty
- Reminders – setting up reminders 6 weeks after their last appointment is a great way to keep your services on your client’s radar and remind them to rebook
6. Eliminate no shows with appointment confirmations and reminders
If there’s one feature that’s a must for anyone running a modern hair or beauty business, it would have to be appointment confirmations and reminders. Those handy little SMS messages you seem to get from every dentist and their dog are the hero in your toolkit. And that rings true for sole operators too! You’re short on time, so reduce your time chasing client confirmations and say see-ya to no-shows with appointment confirmations and reminders.
7. Lock in future revenue by rebooking clients before they walk out the door
Every salon owner has a few clients who love your service but always seem to go too long between appointments simply because life gets in the way. We get it (and it happens to us, too!)
These customers are a perfect example of why prompting rebooking at checkout is a no-brainer and can help secure that future revenue. By rebooking your client before they leave the salon, you lock that appointment time in before they get a chance to forget, and they are more likely to return than if left to their own devices. Customers can always cancel or rebook in a timely manner later if the booked time no longer works for them.
8. Keep control of your schedule with a digital Appointment Book
Tying together all the other elements and crucial in any sole trader’s toolbox is the digital Appointment Book. Allowing you to change, reschedule and recur appointments with ease, it makes managing your salon a whole lot easier.
A good appointment book will even let you forecast your potential earnings so you can plan ahead for the future. Are your projected earnings for the month forecasted to be a bit light? Well it’s the perfect opportunity to start suggesting more extra services or encouraging product sales.
When customers are allowed to make and control their own bookings through features like online booking and appointment reminders, it means less admin for you. And being able to throw away messy day planners is definitely a bonus!
Did you know you can get all these features and more in Shortcuts Solo Package? It has everything you need to start trading as a sole operator, fill your appointment book and save yourself time and money.