Posts in Discounts Don't Work
Is Bartering Worth It?

If you aren’t sure, bartering refers to making trades. An example in our industry would be trading free haircuts for other products or services, rather than receiving payment. Without being overly discouraging, I want to say that my short answer is no, bartering isn’t worth it. I believe people find a higher value in the things that they actually spend money on.

I used to barter, so I know some of the main challenges of it that you should think about before deciding to barter. If you’re already bartering and it’s working well for you, I don’t want this article to be discouraging for you. But for those of you considering starting to barter at your business, these are some of my suggestions to consider before you do.

Challenges of Bartering

My experience has been that sometimes when you barter with a person or a company, they don’t value your time. They may show up late or cancel last minute, because when you’ve already bent the rules for them, they start to think that rules don’t apply.

Be mindful of this. If you feel like your deal isn’t being valued, take a second look at what’s going on. It might be time to reposition or re-strategize the deal.

The other big challenge I noticed when bartering is that my talents also weren’t valued. Psychologically, if something is free, it’s really not worth as much to you. At one point we decided to stop bartering with a business, and as soon as we told them, they let us know they’d never be returning to our salon. This was completely shocking to me, because I thought we had a great relationship. But as soon as we asked them to pay for our services, we weren’t worth anything to them.

Anyone you’re bartering with also tends to not be the best referral source. How can they say,  “It’s worth every penny” when they don’t actually pay for it? They don’t know how much you charge for services and therefore it’s difficult for them to do any word-of-mouth advertising for you. Your best clients--the ones who are rebooking appointments and buying merchandise from you--are a far better source for referrals. I would always recommend gaining more of those type of clients because they’ll happily pay your prices, and be immensely satisfied with the results. Those are the clients who will help you achieve long-term success.

Bartering with the Roles Reversed

On the flipside, there are also challenges and considerations when the roles are reversed and you’re the client bartering with the business.  

When I was the client, I found that some businesses wouldn’t put in as much effort because they saw me as a non-paying client that needed to be in and out quickly. It was very clear that they gave paying clients a higher priority. But if I didn’t get the best outcome I would feel bad saying anything because the service was free.

In this case, you might sometimes settle for less because you aren’t paying for the service. But at the end of the day are you getting enough value out of this bartering relationship? Is it an unfair relationship where someone is getting more value than the other? This doesn’t just refer to cost; I’m also talking about time and energy. I would seriously weigh the outcomes and run the numbers and notice the differences between paying full price and a bartering system.

If you ever get to a point where you’re losing money, time or energy, I would encourage you to start a conversation to begin paying for your services rather than exchanging them.  Consider offering an alternative for people that you want to have this special relationship with.

A possible example would be to give them a VIP membership in exchange for their business. At my salon we have a great relationship with a plastic surgery office. When their clients visit us they have an automatic VIP membership with us and vice versa, which gives us both perks without giving away all of our services. This is a great way to have a unique relationship with another company without infringing on your time or profit.

If you’re also at a point where you’re focused on building your success, consider these issues and the facts to evaluate whether bartering is right for you and your business.

Do you have other questions about bartering? Check out our sister company's private Facebook group to bounce your ideas off of other industry pros--we will see you there!


Number One Marketing Mistake You Must Stop Making

What is the number one marketing mistake that salons across the US are making? Humor yourself by taking a guess…have your guess ready? The number one marketing mistake is: giving discounts!

This marketing tactic is so prevalent across the US that it’s almost hard to believe, right? Discounts are offered left and right, and we see them all. the. time. You know what we are talking about: “$10-Off Tuesdays” “$20 Off Your First Visit!” “Re-Book Today and Get 20% Off!” We have two words for you: Stop It!

Discounts Devalue

Any verbiage with the word “off” is a marketing mistake that you need to stop making and the reason is psychological. The word “off” actually devalues the services that you are offering. When your salon offers a discount, you are teaching clients that your products and services are worth less. The bottom line: discounts devalue.

Everyone Wants More

Are there ways to build a huge following and clientele without offering discounts? YES!

Instead of devaluing your services, focus on adding value because everyone wants more.

Here are a couple strategies to try at your salon:

  • Offer a complementary treatment with a client’s first haircut. This is a great added value for your client and costs very little overhead. Doesn’t a complementary service sound better than giving 50% off? We know it does, and your clients will notice too!
  • Gift color protection shampoo and conditioner after a client’s first hair color. As a stylist, you want your clients to use color protection shampoo. To ensure that they do, offer it as a gift! You can even follow-up with the client when they are running low to re-stock (double-win!).

Earn Your Worth

Position your salon to attract the type of clients who you want to work with! To do so, you need to stop competing on price. If you complete on price, you are always going to be a small fish in a big pond. Instead, start earning what you are truly worth. Build your clientele with the slow and steady approach, and you will gain a remarkable following. Today, make a promise to yourself that you will no longer make this marketing mistake and start thinking of innovative ways to gain and retain clients!

To get more industry advice, make sure to follow Beyond the Technique and listen to the weekly podcast--we will see you there!

Get More Referrals from Your Current Clients!

Industry friends and those alike. If gaining referrals from your current clients is a key component to your success, then consider offering a referral REWARD! 


Your Referral Reward is your “thank you for sending me/us a new client!” And wouldn’t you feel more encouraged to spread word of mouth referrals to your favorite businesses if you knew you’d receive a special thanks?!  Of course!


Make sure this is a gift instead of a discount. When you give a discount it shows clients that your service or product is worth less than the price it is. When you give a gift, you're adding VALUE for your client's experience. A simple gift would be giving them a gift card!

Here’s an easy way to track referrals!

Client Name




Referred By:

Gift Card Amount

Gift Card Sent






Friends, you could also partner with a related industry provider. An example is if you do not provide nail services, you could partner with a nail spa! They could donate or you could purchase $5 or $10 gift cards from them to give as rewards and vice-versa! This is a win win for both parties :)

Remember, the key to substantial success lies Beyond the TechniqueTM.  The little things we do make the biggest difference to our clients. Clients will be loyal to us unless they receive better service elsewhere. Be generous with your rewards and reap the benefits of a growing clientele!

Why Discounts Don’t Work – Offer a VIP Program!

Here’s another awesome way to add value for your clientele versus offering discounts which ultimately devalue your products and/or services.

Offer a VIP Program

A great way to earn loyalty is offering guests an annual VIP program. They actually pay for an entire year of perks that are only available to them. NOW you may use the discount in a positive way since they’ve paid to receive this discount. An example would be to sell clients a $100 annual VIP membership to your business. By purchasing this for one year, they’ll automatically receive 10% off all products, and so on…You have the power to decide what areas you’d want there to be a perk. Remember, the bigger the perk, the higher the annual price. Do some easy math to discover if it will be valuable for them. Also, keep in mind they’ll be more likely to spend more, more often when they have their “perks” with you :)

We’ll leave you with this thought. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Try something new and commit to investing in that idea for a minimum of six months. You will reap the benefits of your commitment!

Why Discounts Don’t Work – Points for Purchases!

Here’s another cool way to offer value to your clientele without offering a discount!

Give POINTS for Purchases

Have you thought about offering a reward for clients who spend consistently with you?  You can do this many creative ways but the easiest is simply offering one point per one dollar spent.  You can apply this point system to products, services or both!  Yes, you will have to keep track of the client’s points.  Many salon software programs will offer this as a built in feature or you may have a spot in the client’s notes you could manually keep track of this for them.  An easy example is offering your clients a $10 gift card per 300 points they’ve earned.  If you don’t have gift cards, you could offer a spending credit!  Either way, you are ADDING VALUE versus devaluing your reward.

Exploit Your Perks!

Once you implement new perks for your clients such as points for purchases, encourage your team to get on board with promoting this.  If you are gung ho about your perks and super fired up for your clients to be receiving a new reward, the result will be that they will match your positive energy and be excited to earn (spend) too!

Why Discounts Don’t Work – Give a Gift!
Discounts don't work - give a gift

Here is an EASY idea on how to ADD VALUE to your offers that will excite your current clients as well as give an amazing offer to new clients.

Why Discounts Don’t Work –Give a Gift!

Industry friends, offering a discount psychologically trains the brain that what you have to offer isn't worth the price you sell it. Also, you're attracting clients who are doing business with businesses that offer discounts. Think about that...would your ideal client believe, respect and be glad to pay full price for your products and services? If the answer is "yes" than we need to rethink our strategy on building a better clientele.  Here is an easy way to ADD VALUE to your offers that will excite new clients.


Instead of offering 50% off a facial waxing service (devalues), offer a complimentary facial waxing with your first haircut appointment!  This offer is gaining you full value (as it should) for your quality haircut service and has cost you very little in overhead!

Another strategy would be to offer a $5 gift card towards color protection shampoo and conditioner when you book your next hair color appointment!  What an exciting gift!   This is far more effective than giving 20% off your recommended products.

Remember, they’re either sold on using these products or they’re not. A 20% off discount is not an attractive push.  Consumers tend to buy what they want, not necessarily what they need.  The good news is most clients use shampoo and conditioner so they are going to buy them…it’s just a matter of when, where and from whom.


Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  If you want a loyal clientele that values what you have to offer, implement new ways to provoke sales that don’t devalue your profession.  You deserve the very best!

Why Discounts Don’t Work - Value vs. Devalue

As industry professionals we understand how demanding our career choice is. We also know how very saturated our market is. We are competing with other professionals at each corner. How do we differentiate ourselves so we don’t have to forfeit our earnings? In upcoming topics, we’ll discuss strategies on creating your unique selling proposition. Today, we want to explain why discounts don’t work. First, let’s differentiate valuing versus devaluing services and/or goods. Would you ever shop at Bed Bath & Beyond without a coupon? Neither would we. How about Lululemon? That’s a joke, right? They never offer coupons. And why is this? Over the years they’ve taught their customers to value their merchandise as a premium choice. And why shouldn’t we do the same for our clients?

I love this topic & want more!

It’s simple, discounts devalue. If you pay less on a regular bases for products or services, you’ll come to expect and value them at a lesser price. You’ll be teaching your clients that your services at a discount are “worth-less”. Why do we do this to ourselves? If you’re thinking, “I just offer this to get someone new in the door”. Let us ask you then, how is this working for you? Are you retaining these clients? Or are you having to constantly offer a discount to get them to return? When does this discount campaign end? Please understand that you are reaching a specific type of client when offering discounts. These clients are seeking the next discount as they typically don’t find the full value in what we are selling. Instead of trying to change their minds. We want to change yours.

Friends, you have the power to be exceptional. You do not have to succumb to devaluing your services and or products. For most non-corporate and non-franchise salons and barbershops, we understand that the struggle is real. There’s no one backing you up if things don’t go well. We get it. But choose to be positive. You must change how YOU view your clients in order to start attracting a clientele that views you at a higher regard. Remember, it’s hard to make things easier. You may have some growing pains when implementing change. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we promise that you will reap the long term benefits!

Discounts Don't WorkTina