Salvatores barbers in Stoke Bishop
CRM, Marketing for small law firms

CRM, Italian style

Walking past Salvatore’s

On Monday mornings, I walk past Salvatore’s.

On Wednesday mornings, I walk past Salvatore’s.

On Thursday mornings, I walk past Salvatore’s.

On Mondays, Salvatore gives me a quick wave or a smile through the window.

On Wednesdays, I don’t see him.

On most Thursdays, Salvatore is at his door and he says hello.

He doesn’t bother on a Monday, because he knows I’m too busy and I’m already late for work.

On Wednesdays, Salvatore’s is closed: he works on Saturdays and so takes off a Wednesday.

On Thursdays, Salvatore opens slightly early, ready to begin chopping locks from just after ten to nine.

And on every fourth Thursday, at 8:57am, Salvatore is on his doorstep, mimicking the snipping of scissors with his fingers and telling me I need a haircut.

Thursdays at Salvatore’s

Thursdays are my barber’s second busiest day. Every minute not spent tidying up someone’s hair is a minute wasted and probably one he’ll have to make up come Saturday – his busiest day.

The guy is a one-man selling and delivery machine. I never see him drink tea, or chat to people who aren’t in his chair, or waste time doing anything other than the cut in front of him. He is utterly focused on what he’s doing and this efficiency reduces his time of haircut down enough so that I’d predict he’s bringing in over £50 an hour for his chair. I’ll let you do the maths on his annual totals, but it’s a handsome rate.

What can we learn from Salvatore’s approach to CRM?

First: To be ready and prepared to hit the ground running, every day but especially on your busiest days. It’s no minor point for professionals and it was made to me by a long-standing managing partner in a recent interview. Be prepared.

Second: If there’s no work in the shop, go looking for some work. Some hairdressers sit in the shop waiting for it to fill up, or relax, happy with the downtime. Not Salvatore.

Third: … but always start with people you know (i.e. CRM). He asks me because he knows my name and he knows I might well stop for a haircut. He doesn’t hassle strangers, or put up big adverts, or take out press campaigns*. When he’s less busy, he just relentlessly markets to people that he already knows until his pipeline is full again.

Fourth: Manage expectations. Sometimes, he’s so successful with his routine that he manages to bring in two or three dads with his early morning doorstep routine. But no-one minds waiting when Salvatore has asked you to come in. There’s always a newspaper to read or chatter to eavesdrop.

Fifth: Don’t let systems or routine get in the way of delivery. He only takes cash, but he’d prefer to cut your hair first and then have you dash to a cash point than the other way round. He multitasks, cutting hair with one hand while accepting your money with the other. He has systems, but he’s efficient in using them. The blades don’t stop moving.

Sixth: Be transparent about the work you have on: ‘Don’t come in on a lunchtime,’ says Salvatore. ‘It’s packed. And avoid 3:45 just after school because it’s slammed all the way until we close then.’ Instead, market your downtime: ‘I can fit you in now,’ ‘No, grab the cash afterwards’, ‘It’ll only take 10 minutes.’

Finally: make it yours, be natural. Salvatore doesn’t necessarily know he’s doing CRM or sales. He’s just a great guy who doesn’t like not being busy, so he does something about it. He doesn’t do anything that makes him (or others) feel uncomfortable.

Final word

He’s real, by the way, our Salvatore. He works in the unassuming shop in the picture above. I told you he doesn’t spend money on fancy marketing.

Now, I’m cool if you want to pop in and see him, but please, whatever you do, don’t bother every fourth Thursday at 8:57am. Salvatore knows whose hair he’s cutting at that time.

* There’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but they always need to support your primary activity of winning more and new business.