Penny Etheridge of Radiant Hair Consultancy offers her tips on creating the most effective client consultation.
I am passionate about consistently delivering fantastic client consultations. All too often hairdressers are blamed for poor hairdressing skills when the reality is the consultation was just not skilled enough. I believe for a client consultation to truly work the hairdresser has to lead the consultation and manage, in the kindest but most authoritative way, clients’ expectations. I also believe that not enough time and resources are spent on honing in on consultation skills for stylists and technicians. A great consultation is like a big jigsaw puzzle, some with big pieces, some with fiddly small sections but all crucial to the final picture.
The 100% successful consultation
Let me share with you a few tips that have worked for me and the other hairdressers that I have coached in great Consultation Skills. They are all simple but then isn’t it supposed to be?
FIRSTLY please try not to look at yourself in the mirror when you are standing behind your client for the consultation.
It’s seems obvious, but I do see it happen and this behaviour will not build rapport or trust with your client, all it is really saying is” I am much more interested in myself than anything you have to say”.
It is mainly for this reason when coaching consultation skills as much as possible I get the hairdresser to sit with the client or stand at a diagonal from the mirror facing your client.
SECONDLY to manage your client expectations make sure you ask one key question at the beginning of your consultation.
Find out exactly how long someone is prepared to spend on their hair at home.
Because, let’s be honest here, with the best will in the world a 20-minute home blast -dry is not going to transform fine, limp hair into a Kate Middleton look. On the other hand explaining how to have a compromise in your client’s day wear style then demonstrating how to change that look for the evening will have them returning to you time after time because it wasn’t just the great cut that you gave them but the expert advice that came with it!
THIRDLY learn to adopt a “cool off “ strategy for the times you ever reached a “dead end “ stage to your consultation. I know what that stage feels like myself. You know when you have done all the right things, asked the right questions, sat down, gained eye level, used visual aids and still the client can’t make up their mind!
However, think of it this way, we may interpret a “not sure” for a “flat no” but how many of us actually spontaneously say yes to suggestions or ideas? However for the purpose of your own sanity and timekeeping if you feel your consultation has reached that “stale mate” stage suggest to the client to take a seat at the backwash and enjoys the cleanse and massage service before making a final decision. This gives everyone an opportunity for a “cool off” period. Personally I always found a client would come back to my section afterwards refreshed with a definite “yes let’s go for it “attitude or “no not this time thank you” answer. So try that approach, see if it works for you.
If all the information above seems a bit basic it’s because it is! However, with the fact remaining that it costs six to seven times more to attract a new client than retain an existing one we probably all need to remember and be reminded of the core basics for a 100% successful consultation once in a while!