How much thought do you give to your salon treatment menu? Take away the physical treatments you provide, what you will charge and making sure it fits in with your branding guidelines – do you really give your treatment menu the respect it deserves?  ‘Cause you really should you know – it is possibly the single most important item of print marketing that you will ever produce for your business. So much more than a piece of paper or pretty brochure – it is a vital part of your team (yes I know not in the human way), it is your silent salesperson which literally speaks volumes!

No I haven’t lost the plot – but I do get a nervous twitch when I see how flippant some salon owners are over their menu or lack there of. You may have the glossiest, prettiest, graphically designed treatment brochure that you threw good money at but never once stopped to think about how important the design and development of this menu was.  This article is not concerned with telling you to make sure there are no typos or that your don’t forget to include your telephone number (it happens quite often) – that is play school stuff – today we are going to look at the psychology of selling and what you should think about when designing your treatment menu.

So you have chosen your treatments and worked out how much you will sell them for – that’s all there is to a menu isn’t it? Think again in the words of Karen Carpenter – You’ve Only Just Begun! You need to start thinking of your menu/brochure as an extension of your team.  It gets one on one time with your client and is one thing you can guarantee that your client or potential client will be interested in reading. It can educate your client and communicate your brand to them. The psychology of selling is an area that fascinates me and I could quite literally write a book on it (who knows maybe I will one day) but for this article I am going to share with you some pointers of what you should be considering when planning and designing your menu. Considerations that make your menu work for you and sell your treatments time and time again in turn increasing booking value and your profits.

Increasing Average Booking Value via Your Salon Treatment Menu

Highlight Your Most Profitable Treatments: Not a radical concept, here you will be concerned with selecting your most profitable treatments that you want your client to book (they can be profitable in that they provide the greatest mark up or simply because they are your strongest treatment that keeps people coming back to you) . Being a business person you know your costs and what treatments serve you best. So through the use of images, placement, formatting etc make sure these treatments stand out from the rest of your menu so that your client is drawn to them. Don’t make the mistake of having all your services listed and formatted uniformly – be bold and creative with your design in order to highlight the treatments you want your client to book. So the use of before and after images alongside these services you wish to highlight would be effective in drawing your clients attention and making them consider this treatment

Don’t Use £/€ on Your Menu: Yep you heard me, following on from a study I had read on how this is a sales tactic that restaurants use in order to disassociate you with the fact you are spending money, which in turn leads to you spending more. I thought to myself surely on some level this psychological sales approach will work for salon treatment menus too? There is a slight difference in that most of our clients have booked their treatment prior to coming into have it – but still the principle remains the same and can also apply to listing services on a website.  So instead of listing your services with the associated £/€ alongside it – list them in numerical format i.e. Luxury Manicure ……… 25.00 as opposed to Luxury Manicure ……..£25.00. The above mentioned study conducted by Cornell University of Hotel Administration found that “guests given a menu without dollar signs spent significantly more than those who received a menu with them. Even if the prices were written out with words instead of numbers, such as “ten dollars,” guests spent less money because it still triggered the negative feelings associated with paying” .  Basically when booking a treatment you don’t want to remind your clients they are spending money, you want them to focus on what it is they are booking and how they will benefit from it – by removing the currency symbol on your menu, you are psychologically distancing the client from the guilt associated with spending!

Creative Descriptions: So important when writing your menu and descriptions make sure your are writing to sell. Explain to your client through, descriptive and emotive text what the treatment is, how it works and why they need it. Also try and include a call to action to have them book the treatment.  Now I know treatment menus are not manuals and therefore space is limited – so perhaps you might only do this for the aforementioned treatments you wish to highlight.

These are just three simple steps that you should consider when designing treatment menus.  They are not radical and most likely familiar to you. While treatment booklets are a lovely idea to guide a client through what they can experience at your salon, budget wise they are not always feasible considering how often our treatment lists change.  We constantly update our skills and add new treatments – so spending out on big brochures that can become out of date very quickly is only prudent if your business can afford to replace them.  While I am not a huge fan of the take-away menu style lists – a tri fold brochure is a cost effective option that can be changed as needed just make sure you design it with selling in mind. If you employ a graphic designer or printer to look after the design of your menu, don’t expect them to know what are your best treatments and what needs highlighting – be sure to provide them with a design brief before hand which includes your ‘silent salesperson tactics’.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t also give some lip service here to the value of websites (we offer a specialist beauty industry web design service).  When it comes to your physical treatment menu you client has usually entered your salon and a sales process has begun.  However your treatment menu will also be displayed on your website and space restrictions do not apply here. Therefore you must not just tick the box by creating a website and letting it sit there – your website is your online sales person that can bring you many clients. Good design, descriptions, information and advice coupled with Search Engine Optimisation strategies to get your page ranking well with Google and coming up in the relevant searches – is paramount.  You can also apply the three tips above to your website design.  The subject of planning and laying out your website to bring in customers is for another article all together which I will cover in the coming weeks.

I hope you have found this article interesting, I plan to carry out some social experiment in the area of removing the currency sign from treatment menus and the effect it had on sales/bookings over a six week period – I will of course report back when this is completed.