Make scheduling appointments a habit—just like taking your vitamins.

A key to the vitamin industry’s success—and why annual sales are around $32 billion this year—is that vitamins are marketed as daily supplements, meaning that you take them on a regular and recurring basis. Vitamins become part of the daily routine of the consumer, a habit that they barely even notice. Without the daily dose, the vitamin market would be a mere fraction of its current, enormous value.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. What can we learn from the vitamin industry that would apply to successfully running a service-based business?

The lesson revolves around two notions: recurrence and routine. The more you can become a regularly scheduled part of your customers’ lives, the more successful you will be—and the more money you’ll make.

I’m talking about the power of recurring appointments—bookings that happen roughly at the same interval and at the same time.

Certain industries naturally lend themselves to recurring appointments, like class-based businesses and personal training. But the theme can be applied across any service category.

For example, let’s say you’re a hair stylist with loyal customers who come in for their haircuts at regular intervals. At the moment, you let them schedule their appointment as each haircut approaches. But what if you allowed them to schedule an appointment that repeats every four, six, or however many months you want?

It might seem like splitting hairs, but recurring appointments make a huge difference. By getting onto your customers’ calendars on a regular basis, you are vastly improving the chances that you will see them regularly, instead of the time between appointments growing as clients forget or delay.

And the business case for recurring appointments is significant. According to our data, setting up customers with recurring appointments (through an app like ours!) brings in a staggering 71 percent more money per year. That’s a seismic shift in your bottom line.

How to Incentivize Recurring Appointments

At a loss as to how to get clients to set up recurring appointments? Try this trick.

Let’s say you give them a 20 percent discount for setting up a recurring appointment. It might seem like you’ll lose money, but our data shows exactly the opposite. In fact, our data suggests that you will still make 51 percent more on that customer than you would if they didn’t set up recurring appointments. The numbers don’t lie, and the best tactic for growing your bottom line is to become a regular fixture in your clients’ lives.

So yes, I’m telling you to spend less time on your customers. In fact, I’m telling you to let them take control of their own schedules. And yes, you can quote me on this: instead of tracking down customers, start thinking about how by doing less, you’re doing everything just right. Go ahead, try The Vitamin Method. And then…do nothing.

This is an ongoing series that will talk about how to run a successful service-based business. Whether you are a hair stylist, a massage therapist, a barber, esthetician, or yoga studio, these posts are for you.