How-to Crush Client Consultations Like a Boss
The relationship between stylist and client is often broken due to a lack of understanding and communication. As stylists, we are often so focused on being on time, that we don’t stop and focus on the client’s individual needs.
By incorporating a client consultation form into your client experience, it will no doubt improve your client retention tenfold. If you ask any of the nation's top stylists, they all have one thing common: an intense client consultation.
First things first, your role is to help the client to achieve their goals by educating them on practical solutions to their requests. To gather the client’s goals, STX Cloud offers a custom client consultation form to pull up on a tablet and present to your customer at check-in. At the top of the page, they will update or confirm their contact preferences; at the bottom of the page, a list of questions or checkboxes unique to your business.
Accurate contact information for marketing and reminders and utilizing the client wait time for better understanding their needs is a win-win for everyone!
The questions asked in the client consultation can serve as a conversation starter for you to flex your knowledge as the professional by outlining a plan for that day and for future visits.
Here are the most commonly used consultations questions:
What are your hair goals?
What do you like about your hair?
What don’t you like about your hair?
What products do you use at home?
Tell me about your lifestyle.
With those in mind, let’s talk about common client responses and how to use a client consultation as a way to guarantee a rebook, boost product sales and build your client retention numbers.
"I want to keep my length.”
The same client that wants to keep her length is often the same client whose ends could double as a straw broom. This is a great opportunity to introduce them to conditioning treatments at the bowl and finishing products to smooth those ends.
Another insight is letting the client know you would like to take two inches off, but understand she only wants a dusting. Let her know that you won’t cut off her length, but her hair will look healthier over time if she comes in for regular end dustings and rebook her continuously for four to six weeks out.
“I want pastel rainbow hair, but I’m an avid swimmer who buys $3.99 drugstore shampoo.”
Take a deep breath — you are a professional and you can help them. This is a great conversation starter and the discussion can go many ways.
Start the discussion by explaining how color will wash out faster with drugstore shampoo and that pastel hair maintenance is a commitment. If that commitment doesn’t sound doable, offer to do highlights and sell them on temporary color chalks or sprays that will likely wash out easily with the drugstore shampoo.
When people are given realistic expectations instead of unmet promises and future disappointment, you’re building that trust which is essential to the process.
“My hair is box dye black, but now I’d like to look like Daenerys from Game of Thrones.”
The backstory typically goes a little something like, “Oh, I just threw on this box from the drugstore. It said 2BB, whatever that means. But it covered my roots and my old highlights. But now I miss my blonde.”
Be a boss and show this client a color-level chart.
The general public is not aware of how damaging this can be and how difficult it is to undo. Present a plan on how this will take multiple sessions and where you can realistically get her today. The guest may not like what you have to say, but they’ll hopefully respect your professional knowledge and think twice before resorting to a cheap, quick fix.
We could go on and on about client requests versus reality, but the truth is there is always a common ground. If you put on your big boss pants and have a straight-forward, honest conversation, most guests will respect you for providing them a plan that takes their best interests to heart.
“I want my hair to look like [insert celebrity here].”
Back in my day, it was Madonna. Before I had my cosmetology education, I was convinced Madonna was going from long blonde curls to short, straight black and then a sandy bob all in one week because she could likely pay a stylist to be at her beck and call.
Madonna — just like the Kardashian clan and television’s favorite hair chameleon Moira Rose of Schitt’s Creek — has a beautiful collection of wigs and extensions. In this day and age, consumers are exposed to faux-hair more than ever, but not all are in the loop.
Don’t panic, this is a great opportunity to introduce clients to the world of extensions, the initial installation, the upkeep and the gratification they can get from having longer, fuller hair.
If the maintenance is something they can't work with, discuss alternatives like products that build volume, a haircut unique to their hair type and provide education on how to reasonably achieve the look at home.
In today’s world of color care, healthy lifting and extensions, most everything is achievable — but with the right plan in place. Take the five minutes to come up with a personal plan and your clients will adore the attention.
Shannon Wojtkowski began her salon career almost 20 years ago by sweeping hair at 14 years old. She worked her way up the salon ladder by working the front desk, assisting and eventually behind her own chair.
Shannon spent many years living a double life, attending cosmetology school while also working at a salon nights and weekends and maintaining a full-time career in project management in the marketing and technology field. She’s the trifecta of awesome, combining her knowledge of salon life, marketing and technology.