Killer Consultations made easy
The way you conduct client consultations can make or break their experience in the salon. It can effect whether or not you give your clients the style or colour they want, whether they purchase product and whether or not they rebook.
Believe it or not a great hair or beauty consultation starts before your client arrives in the salon, at what we call the daily service opportunity session. This session is designed to help you pinpoint areas where you can enhance your clients’ salon experience. Come to these sessions with the Client Profile Card for each person you’ll be seeing that day.
Preparing your CPCs is easy; just remember the five R’s:
Use the session to look over each client’s history, note missing information, future service recommendations, rebooking frequency and future retail requirements. Make your notes on each Client Profile Card, including details of service opportunities that the client may need compared to previous purchasing habits, e.g. Client purchased shampoo and conditioner eight weeks ago – note down to ask if they have run out and need to purchase more.
Note down under the rebooking area on the CPC the frequency of the client’s visits to the salon. This information can be used in the consultation so that you can tell the client that they usually come in on a 6 week frequency and that we should put them in the appointment book next time for 5 weeks as their hair gets a little out of shape on their current six week cycle.
Also note down a retail product and service that the client has not purchased which you think will benefit the service they are having that day. If you don’t know the client you should still note down two services and products to recommend to them.
Remember to only recommend the right services and products for the right people. These could include a treatment or facial waxing as well as shampoo and conditioner and a styling product. Don’t ever try to hard sell something for the sake of a sale. Clients hate that and most stylists hate having to do it.
Customize the client’s service by noting down suggestions on styles which you think would enhance the client’s image and experience. Wherever possible, use salon books or magazines to confirm with the client what you’re envisioning for them. Check the client’s CPC for comments on what you talked about last time so that you can build rapport quickly.
Make a note of the refreshment the client usually has so you can offer them their regular drink in the consultation or on their arrival. This is often the receptionist’s or the Salon Coordinator’s job. Say, “Britney, can I get you your regular skinny flat white with one sugar?” She will be immediately amazed that you have remembered how she has her coffee (when she can’t even remember to wear her undies!)
Finally make a note of special occasions coming up such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the client’s birthday Christmas etc, where you could recommend a gift pack, special service or gift certificate. After the SOS it is time to open the salon and start looking after clients by using the fully prepared Client Profile Cards.
Now you’re fully prepared for the face to face part of the consultation. You only get one chance to make a great first impression so get it right the first time, and every time after that! When a client walks through the door, whoever is not attending to a client, or alternatively the receptionist or closest team member, should acknowledge, approach, and greet them promptly.
If they are a new client, find out their name immediately and use it often to establish rapport. There’s nothing sweeter to a customer’s ear than the sound of their own name. If it’s a regular client, greet them by name right from the start. If they will be waiting for their service, inform them of the length of the wait and offer them their regular beverage and some hair magazines (not gossip mags). This is a great time to recommend the client make note of any colours or styles they like in the magazines.
When the team member is ready to start the consultation on the client they should promptly and confidently greet the client by saying, “Hi Britney, welcome to Nsync Salon, I’m Justin and I’m going to be looking after you today.” Sit at eye level with the customer, and prepare to really listen. This point is where a lot of stylists and colourists fall down. If you do not listen with two open ears and one open mind, you won’t give the client exactly what they want.
In order to be great at conducting consultations, you need to understand the top twenty reasons why people have their hair done in a salon in the first place (instead of having an ‘at home’ cut with a bowl and some blunt scissors, just like mum used to do)…
- To attract praise
- To increase enjoyment
- To avoid criticism
- To keep up with the Joneses
- To feel opulent
- To look younger
- To avoid effort
- To express love for the self
- To emulate others
- To protect their reputation
- To be in style
- To socialize
- To be trendy
- To satisfy curiosity
- To feel good
- To combat boredom
- To feel pretty
- To save time doing hair each day
- To increase comfort
- To be excited
Once you understand the clients’ reasons for visiting a salon, you are one step closer to giving them their perfect salon experience. After all, a client who wants to save time doing their hair every morning isn’t necessarily going to be keen on a ‘high maintenance’ style coveted by a client who wants to be trendy.
You can find out why your client is visiting the salon by asking questions like:
- What do you like about your hair at the moment?
- What do you dislike about your hair at the moment?
- How much time do you like to spend on your hair each morning?
- Who are your style icons?
- Can you show me any magazine images which reflect the type of style or colour you would like?
The main complaint clients have is that their hairdressers don’t really listen to what they want. It’s impossible to give someone what they want if you’re not intent on making sure you fully comprehend what the client wants. Worse still, many stylists don’t even ask any leading questions like the ones above. The client ends up feeling ignored, and resents winding up with a style or service which is close to but not exactly what they wanted.
Once you’ve listened to and comprehended all of the client’s needs, say the following, “Britney are you after something similar to what you have now or are you open to a few of my suggestions?” Most clients will see you as an expert and would love to know what will make them look and feel better. Most clients also dread the typical question, “So what are we doing with your hair today?” YOU are the expert, so you should have a professional opinion on what to do with the hair, based on the client’s needs and wants.
Once you have listened to their reply, recap what you just heard. If you are not sure, ask questions and confirm with magazine images so you are both on the same wave length. Then it’s your turn as an expert in your field to let them know what you recommend, before asking for their permission to proceed with the service. If the service price is going to be much higher than what they had originally asked for, make sure you quote on the new service before beginning.
Watch the client’s body language and listen to their tone of voice for signs of happiness (or unhappiness) throughout the entire procedure. While you’re styling their hair, it’s a great opportunity to present an idea for a long term plan for their hair. You might say something like, “Britney, you mentioned you’d like to grow your hair now that your baby is a little older, that’s why I’m cutting a few layers in so the style will grow out nicely and look fashionable as it grows. It also means we can keep a lot of the length while making the style less bulky and heavy”.
Establishing a long term plan for your client conveys to them that you care about their image, and that you’re approach to their hair is not for the short term gain of your salon. A client is more likely to trust your motives and rebook if they feel you really are committed to making them look and feel the best they possibly could.
Finally, be excited to do their hair and never let a client leave looking anything but amazing. Think of each client as a superstar or a model you’re preparing for the catwalk. After all, giving a client their dream hair is the best way to ensure increased retention and positive word of mouth.
For more information on appraisals and finding the right salon. Contact a salon specialist broker today on 1300 366 521.
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