"Without a doubt, networks yearn to be bigger and more inclusive. The challenge is to do that without losing what made them work." -Seth Godin (read the whole post here)
As I was reading that statement from Seth, all I could think about was how this is probably the biggest mistake "networks" make - trying to be bigger and more inclusive at the same time. This may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to become bigger is to be less inclusive.
Yes, be more exclusive. Exclude those people who don't want something special, who only want to dicker and deal for a super low price. Treat your remaining customers as if they were your only customers. Treat them with the kind of special services you would give only to a select few. Treat them as though they were a celebrity, even royalty.
What does that look like? It might mean offering exclusive appointments. It might mean extending your hours for special sessions. It might mean hiring an extra sales person and training him or her in the art of royal treatment. It might mean having food and drinks available. It might mean a concierge service, a coat check, valet parking, white glove delivery. It might mean doing different things, unique things, stuff that no one else in your category does or would even do. It might mean treating each and every customer uniquely, in the way she wants to be treated. It definitely means doing things that make your customers say, "WOW!"
When you try to be more inclusive, you dumb it down and end up delighting no one. When you try to be more exclusive, you delight your customers to the point that they spend more and bring their friends back.
When you understand that, you'll grow bigger. Just remember the last part of Seth's quote - grow bigger without losing what got you there in the first place.
PS Can't figure out what to do to be special? Start with this question... What would be the most crazy, over-the-top thing you could do to WOW your customer? Go there first and then dial it back until you get to something you think you can accomplish consistently that is above and beyond what she expected.