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A CONSULTATION SHOULD CREATE ONE BEAUTIFUL CONVERSATION
Sometimes you do it standing up; sometimes you do it sitting down; sometimes you don’t do it all. What am I talking about? Consultations. If you’re still just asking clients how they liked their last cuts or colors, you’re missing out on a sea of opportunities that could increase your productivity level, up your client satisfaction rate and add many, many new clients to your books. Moving beyond a simple agreement on what you’ll be doing during any given appointment, a quality consultation must produce a service that reinforces the client’s self-esteem and meets her personal beauty goals.
1. Listen, listen, listen. One of the biggest errors committed by stylists is talking over their clients. Win them over by patiently listening to what they have to say about their present and future wishes; let them set the pace while you politely direct the conversation. And yes, you may have heard the same concerns thousands of times before, but to them, they’re unique and frustrating. Are they complaining that their hair pulls red after two weeks? Are they telling you that their hair has always been too flat the second day after shampooing? Outline and communicate plans of action that address their concerns as well as yours, which may be entirely different, by the way.
2. Physical Analysis. As you listen to your client, use the standard diagnostics, including the hair’s natural level, condition, porosity, chemical-service history, and percentage of gray. These will inform your product choices: semi-, demi- or permanent color and type of lightener to use; strength of relaxer; temperature settings for hot tools; and even boar or metalbased brushes.
3. Lifestyle. This step further underscores the concept that listening is key to success. The old-school approach was to assess the client on sight. Expensive jewelry and accessories indicated a client who could afford top-notch services, while sweatpants and a Tshirt pointed to a client you might see twice a year. The new-school approach is to connect to the client with these key questions:
- A: Who are you? Ask the client about her job and personal activities. You may know the answers or you could receive some surprise information. She may be a banker by profession, but also a skydiver, biker or extreme sports enthusiast.
- B: How much time do you have to devote to your beauty needs? If you find out that she’s a mother of three young children, she may not have the time for frequent appointments—or she may make the time. Never assume; always ask.
4. Custom Beauty Plan. A consultation can determine the perceived value of your services, particularly if it helps you to create a custom design that’s no more labor intensive than one that you do by memory. This plan should become integral to the execution of a service and add incredible value to the process and results.
- A: Who do you want to be? Help clients identify and polish their self-image. Are they tailored and successful, casual and carefree, or sexy? Only their opinions matter here; it’s their visions.
- B: What big event do you have coming up? This question allows you to prep clients for their own red-carpet moments. Whether it’s a wedding or a personal reinvention, the event sets you up for what to do next.
5. Re-consult. Even clients who’ve been seeing you for 10 years deserve a consultation. They want to know the latest in beauty and fashion, and they look to you for new ideas. The re-consult gives you the opportunity to introduce new products and evolve your clients’ looks, based on trends or seasonal changes. It keeps the relationship fresh and the beauty communication lines open. If you don’t do this, clients could believe that you’re disinterested in them and quit your services.