Clients are at the center of everything you do. They have a direct impact on your ability to grow and achieve your goals, and they should be chosen wisely. Not every client is a good fit, and keeping bad clients on your client list will prevent you from making the improvements your business needs to succeed.

Great clients, on the other hand, elevate your business. They value the services you provide and they recommend you to their friends — the relationship should be mutually beneficial.

The more you focus on attracting your ideal clients and filtering out the bad ones, the closer you will get to a dream client list that makes business better, life easier, and you happier.

Here are 5 steps to build your dream list.  


  • Focus your marketing efforts on ideal clients only. Next time one of your dream clients is in the chair, ask them how they discovered you, what attracted them initially, and why they’ve stuck around. You can use this research to craft your messaging and marketing strategy. The last thing you want to do is use the same marketing tactics that brought you some of your not-so-great clients in the past.
  • Get referrals from loyal clients. Your ideal clients probably hang around people with similar behaviors, tastes, and who are part of a similar demographic. These are the people you want to target. Reach out to a group of your best clients and offer them an incentive to refer their friends and family.
  • Update your profile/website. When’s the last time you gave your booking page/website a refresh? It is essentially your virtual storefront, your first-impression to new clients, and it should be working hard for you.
  • Use StyleSeat to collect and highlight your best reviews. Upload current photos of you work (you know you’ve made some improvements over the past few months). And, update your bio to include any new skills or certifications.


  • When you do get booked by great clients, don’t lose them. Some stylists get so caught up with attracting new clients they forget to nurture the loyal clients they already have. Building trust, communication, and mutual respect can have a huge impact on client retention — the two best tools to help with that are email marketing and client notes.
  • Use client notes to customize each appointment and make clients feel special. Keep track of important details like birthdays, hair goals, and product preferences. If you use StyleSeat, you’ll have all this information at your fingertips and you can use it to strengthen your client relationships. Show them you’re listening and that their business is important to you. Give them a unique experience catered to their needs, and they’ll never leave : )  
  • Email marketing is a powerful way to stay connected with clients. It helps you stay fresh in their mind and reminds them to book their next appointment. But, if you really want to build trust with clients, remember not to make your emails to salesy. Check out Shan Hughe’s tips for writing great emails that build your reputation and give clients the content they’re actually interested in.


  • Set clear boundaries and stand your ground. The best way to naturally clear out the clients who are holding you back is to stop making exceptions for them. When you stop bending the rules, one of two things will happen: those bad clients will turn into good clients and they’ll learn to respect your boundaries or some of them will leave you. Remember, this is better for business in the long run. The two simplest ways to start identifying who those bad clients are is to enforce an NSLC policy and to stop taking phone calls/messages after designated hours.
  • No shows are a huge waste of time and money, and chronically late clients are killing your business. If you set up a policy on StyleSeat, you can require clients to enter a credit card when they book and get paid for your time if they don’t show up. Clients expect you to show up on time, you should expect the same from them. If they can’t deal and decide to leave, that just makes more room for clients who respect your time.

See what one of our readers had to say about setting boundaries in the salon:

“I started doing some of what you wrote in the article when I opened my new salon and I was getting pushback from my long-time clients and was feeling a little guilty like I was neglecting my clients. It’s been a year now and I’ve lost my “bad” clients and have gained so many new ones!” — Angela 

  • Stop taking phone calls. Stylists save up to ten hours a week when they let clients book their own appointments. But, we all have old school (or lazy) clients who refuse to do it. Training them to break their bad habit of calling and texting you is really about giving them no other option. Clients who are serious about securing a spot on your schedule will change their ways. Besides, online booking is infinitely more convenient for them, they just don’t know it yet ; ) Check out these tips for getting clients to stop messaging you.


  • Clients who are rude, late, and break the rules throw off your schedule and stress you out — they are taking advantage of you. It’s not worth ruining your reputation with other clients because a few bad clients are making you run late and not bring your A-game.
  • Use StyleSeats “block client” tool to make your schedule permanently unavailable for these types of clients.
  • If they still can’t take a hint, it’s time to break up. This can be awkward but it’s an important business skill you’ll want to have in your toolkit. You can sit your client down privately, give them a phone call, or send an email. Let them know that you took a look at your client notes and whether they’ve been consistently late, unsatisfied, or disrespectful, you’ve noticed a pattern. Tell them you hold your business to high standards and you have strict guidelines for how you conduct appointments and run your schedule. Include that you no longer feel that you are a good match and that their needs will be better met at another salon.

Have more tips for building a dream client list? Let us know in the comments below!

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