Most bridal salons follow similar operating procedures, although each may implement its own individual policies to suit the needs of both the business and its customers. However, there are five policies that every successful bridal store should have in place to keep business running smoothly while also best serving the client.

1. Follow-up with every bride. Not surprisingly, most brides are ecstatic when they find their dream dress. Bridal salons should capitalize on these good feelings by immediately following up with brides after the sale. By doing so, you leave a lasting good impression on your customers.
    How you follow up with your brides is up to you; it may be a phone call, an e-mail or even a handwritten note. Regardless of the method, skip the traditional “thank you” sentiment and instead go with a straightforward message customized to each bride.
    For instance, start off with, “We are thrilled that you chose us for your bridal needs,” then follow up with a personalized note so the bride knows that you know who she is: “We are excited that you love the Lazaro ball gown you purchased, and we look forward to working with you in the months leading up to your spring wedding!”

2. Online advertising. It’s no secret that today’s brides are researching and shopping for their weddings across the Internet. Therefore, it’s imperative that you have your store in front of these shoppers. As the Internet and social media become more entwined, you can decide where you want your online ads to go.
    For example, if you have a large Facebook following, consider Facebook ads that can be targeted to key demographics such as gender, age, location and relationship status. For those with a large presence on Instagram or Pinterest, look into “promoted” or “sponsored” ads on these networks. Of course, don’t overlook Google AdWords ads as a way to place your store name at the top of bridal and wedding-related Google searches.

3. A dedicated social-media manager. Speaking of social media, monitoring and posting to social-media networks can be overwhelming and time consuming. This is especially true when you think about the variety of content needed for each network, not to mention the addition of new social-media networks that pop up regularly. By hiring or appointing a dedicated social-media manager for the job, you can turn over these tasks to someone who not only understands them, but also enjoys doing it. As a result, you can benefit from their expertise while freeing up your time for other business matters.

4. Ability to track personnel performance. Keeping tabs on your staff’s work performance is crucial. After all, quality employees meeting their individual sales goals means your store should also be on track to meet its overall sales goals. In addition, high-performing sales associates also lead to satisfied customers, which, in turn, lead to more referrals. Plus, knowing how your employees perform allows you to provide quality feedback during performance reviews.
    There’s no right way to track employee performance, but with today’s human resources software programs, it’s easier than ever to monitor an employee’s hours and sales. Some programs allow you to make notes, so you can record your own personal observations on each employee’s job duties. If you prefer, you can take handwritten notes and just add them into your files. The key is to always be observant as to how your employees are performing their jobs so you can praise or correct as needed.

5. Ongoing sales training. It may seem unnecessary, especially if you have a top-notch sales staff, but sales training should continue for employees at all levels. Obviously, it’s required for new employees, but long-time employees can benefit from ongoing sales training as well. It allows you to address the changing needs of your brides, discuss the latest trends and any new fabrics or design traits, and implement revised or new sales policies. By keeping sales associates up-to-date on the latest techniques, news and policies, you empower them to do their job well without having to seek out a manager or owner. This also boosts their self-worth and gives them confidence needed to face future challenges such as slow sales days or a moody client.
    Consider holding regular training meetings where you conduct role-playing exercises to ensure everyone knows how to respond to particular situations. Including long-term employees in these meetings offers valuable opportunities for them to share their knowledge and experience with newer staff. It also provides them a different perspective that could prove helpful as they continuously work to refine their skills.