Thanks for the suggestion, @Andy. (BTW, I enjoyed your guest appearance recently on that Bootstrapped podcast.) I’m familiar with that story, and that’s pretty much what I’m doing. Fortunately for me (and anyone else doing similar sales work), it turns out that many stylists and salon owners are thrilled to spend time talking with you even if you don’t offer to pay them. If you make them feel important by telling them you need their “expert advice” (and if you break up the monotony of their day by talking to them when they would otherwise have been twiddling their thumbs), that’s perhaps better than money. This works out fantastically for me, since I’m not exactly prepared to pay up to 80 stylists when some of them charge $50 for a 20-minute haircut (for real).
If anyone is interested to hear, my sales approach is not, “Hey, wanna buy some software?” I say, “Hi, I’m in the process of building a business that helps salon owners. I’m not a stylist myself and so I need your expert opinion to help keep me on track. Could I show you what I’m working on, and then you can tell me what you think of it?” If I sense genuine interest, then I turn the conversation to “Would you yourself find this useful at your salon?” and then I try to close the deal.