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No show, now what?

No matter how long you’ve been in this industry, you know how frustrating no-shows are—especially when you took the time to remind your client of his or her appointment. Still, there you are at three o’clock, then three fifteen, waiting and wondering—what happened? Couldn’t they have at least called or texted to let you know?

So, now you have an hour of non-billable time on your hands. What do you do with it? Hop on Instagram and let other clients know you’ve had a cancellation? (Unfortu­nately, it’s too late to get a replacement client for that particular time slot) Or, call up a friend and complain about how unfair life is? (What would that accomplish?) Or, maybe just kill some time on Facebook, spying on your ex-? (Ditto) No! You don’t do any of these things because you know that occasional no shows in the service industry are inevitable. You do the best you can to prevent them, but they still happen. Being successful in business (and in life!) is less about occasional disappoi­ntments than it is about turning negatives into positives.

Lost Revenue? Or, Gained Marketing Time?

When you’re a one-woman or one-man show, it’s difficult finding time during the day to market yourself; you’re too busy taking care of clients. But when you suddenly find yourself with a no show—bingo! You’ve got  60 minutes of marketing time. It’s probably not enough time to book a TV or radio ad, but it’s plenty of time to put yourself out there.

What Can I Accomplish in One Hour?

One hour is the perfect amount of time to pull up your client database and check to see who hasn’t made an appointment with you during the past 12 months. E-mail or message those folks with a “Hi, I’ve missed seeing you” and an amazing offer that’s synergistic with the last treatment they received from you. For example, if the client’s last treatment was body contouring on her thighs, you could offer her a smoking deal on a cellulite treatment on her abdomen.

For those clients you have seen within the past few months, check in with them to see how they enjoyed their last treatment. Were they thrilled with the results? Do they have any additional concerns they would like to address, such as sun spots? Oh, and by the way, you’re offering a limited-time special on photofacials, rejuvenating facials, etc. that would even out their skin tone beautifully.

Another easy way to market “big” in just minutes is to work your social media campaigns. Take a few minutes to write an amazing story about one of your clients who recently got mind-blowing results with one of your treatments. Of course, you’ll want to get his or her permission to share the story and also, to use their before- and after-pictures on social media. Add a call-to-action at the bottom of your post, something like, “If you’d like more information about this treatment and how it can make your skin look ten years younger, call or text me today.” You can also ask them to share the post with their own friends for a discounted price.

Attitude is Everything

You can either view no shows as lost revenue or gained marketing opportunities; they’re either “negatives” or, they’re growing and learning experiences. The trick is to train yourself to quickly switch gears from, “Oh no, a no show!” to “What can I best do with this free time?” If you can do that, you’re already halfway there. Yes, you lost $80 for that hour but your marketing efforts may net you an additional $500 next week. In the end, it’s your choice, and Winston Churchill may have said it best: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

Top Tips for Making the Most of No Shows

1. Make a list. In addition to the marketing ideas in this article, come up with your own 3-5 ways to market yourself in one hour. Keep the list handy so that when you’re faced with a no-show, you’ll be ready to rebound instantly.

2. Capture success. Also keep a brief list ready of your favorite client treatment success stories with pictures and permission to post them on social media.

3. Track results. Track results of all of your marketing efforts. Not only do you want to focus on what works best and build on it, you also want to avoid bombarding your clients with repetitive emails and messages.

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