This post is the second of two parts. To read Part 1, please click here.
Stylists Trained to System
Meanwhile, stylists are trained on what Sport Clips calls its “five-point play,” which guides them through interacting with a client from the moment he walks through the door until he checks out. They are also trained to sell the chain’s signature MVP experience, which provides not only a haircut, but a hot towel facial massage, neck and shoulder massage, and a scalp-massaging shampoo.
Finally, Sport Clips managers receive their own training that includes lessons on such things as scheduling, hiring practices, and other human resources issues.
“Our managers are trained on all those day-to-day, week-to-week things they do in order to run our stores efficiently,” Howson said.
Corporate marketing efforts are aimed at building the brand through television and radio ads, but there are many ways that Howson markets his stores on a local level.
He creates relationships with other businesses, creating ways to exchange discount coupons, for example. He also sends out his own coupons to households, offering about 20 percent off a haircut. And it’s important to participate in what Howson calls “community relationship marketing” which has led him to sponsoring youth sports leagues, parades, and other organizations or events.
But much of the marketing is “behind-the-chair,” inside-the-store techniques that come from providing great service, he said.
Satisfied Clients Best Advertising
“We want to leverage on our happy clients being the best marketing for us,” Howson said. “We tell them the best compliment they can pay us is to give us a referral. We believe that builds word of mouth.”
Howson said Sport Clips provides franchisees with an “exhaustive” list of marketing ideas and he chooses those that make the most sense for his market. He also receives a monthly newsletter from the company in which Sport Clips franchisees around the country share various marketing ploys that are working for them.
Howson said he generated attention for his own stores by participating in Operation Uplink, a Veterans of Foreign Wars program that allows deployed service members to stay in touch with their families by providing free phone time. Sport Clips is a corporate sponsor of the program and Howson’s employees raise money locally by standing in busy intersections and asking drivers for donations to the cause.