Client Consultations

Don’t forget your role as a consultant…
Hairdressers often forget that the prime purpose of any consultation is to offer a service. We genuinely like our clients, have an interest in their overall well-being and hard selling techniques just don’t suit our style. Yet because of our personable nature, we have an innate ability to sell naturally, and we do this every day when we convince our clients to change a hairstyle, for example. But somehow, it doesn’t always work when it comes to color – and as national statistics tell us – it’s often a challenge for even the born salespeople among us. Some formal sales training from experts can help, so here are some ideas:
Look for a cue before initiating conversation.
Some clients view a visit to your salon as a break from a demanding schedule and so they simply just don’t want to talk. So what do you do, how do you know when to talk, when not to and what to say? Sales experts tell us to speak first and look for a response.
If the client does want to talk, your best tactic is to be a good listener. You might stop work every now and then and concentrate on what is being said. It also sometimes helps to rephrase what a person says to you, to show you’ve understood. Eye contact is also key. This is difficult when you’re doing someone’s hair, but you can at least catch your client’s eye in the mirror as she or he talks. You’ll appear much more interested.
If your client doesn’t want to talk, it’s best to smile and keep working. The best sales consultants know there are certain moments not to carry on conversation with a
customer. If you are sensitive to your clients the first time, they’ll be there next time with another opportunity to approach the subject.
can satisfy it.
A client with gray has an immediate need for haircolor. So does the client who has dull, drab hair or sun-damaged hair. But what about needs that aren’t so obvious. If a client doesn’t have a visible need for color, or if there’s nothing much new in her life to warrant a change, or she simply says she doesn’t want color…how do you discover the need. Sales professionals say that asking the right questions is vital.
Certainly, every good consultation finds answers to questions about lifestyle, available time, upkeep, percentage of gray, hair condition and client taste in makeup, wardrobe and hairstyle. But the quality of your questions can really make a difference in what you learn from your client., and the more you leorn, the better help you can be. For example, which question below do you think will yield better results.
Question 1.
Would you like a little color to complement your new hairstyle?
Question 2.
I have an idea that could really bring out the best in your new hairstyle and I’d like your opinion on it. Would you mind sharing your thoughts with me for a minute or Iwo.
Obviously, Question 2, an open-ended question, is the better choice because if gives you the opportunity to begin a dialogue with your client. There are all types of open-ended questions, but all of
them share traits in common:
• the answers are more than one word.
• the answers are not obvious.
• the question is easily understood.
• each question requires thought before answering.
It’s not always easy to do, especially when a client won’t open up easily. If you ask too many questions during a consultation – especially questions with yes/no answers – you can make your client feel like you’re interrogating her. Also, if you do most of the talking and rattle off all the ways haircolor will improve her appearance, your client just may feel intimidated.
It’s also important to really listen to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. If you get your client’s needs wrong because either of you monopolizes the consultation, it can cost you more than a lost color service. Be sensitive to what you hear and how you direct your words.
Knowing how your client might respond is a start in the right direction. Yet, realistically, there are many different personality factors that direct a consultation. The sales world, however, categorizes all these factors into four distinct customer personality types:
Flexible customers make it easy for you to direct a dialogue into haircoloring. They are generally open and are often regular clients who are comfortable with you. These clients are the most likely to initiate a talk about haircolor, so don’t miss the opportunity.Be straightforward with these clients and share new ideas. They want to hear your viewpoint.
Find your client’s need
and show how benefits Establish a balanced dialogue.
Analytical customers want to know the facts, think over issues carefully and make decisions themselves. They generally seek sensible answers and will often ask you direct questions to find them… “My perm is making my hair look brassy. Why is this happening and what can I do about it?” To maintain a good dialogue, explain as much about the color service you’re suggesting… i.e. where you’d like to place the color, what it will do to the perm, how long it will last, how she can maintain her hair between visits. Listen to this client’s “issues” and let her take the lead as much as possible.
Emotional customers base decisions on feelings more than facts. To consult easily with this client, explain how haircolor makes you feel good and find a need in her personal life that it will fill. This client is also quite often color-shy.., always suggest subtle change that will complement a good feature.
Hardto-Please customers love to challenge and make any recommendation difficult because they must be convinced before they’ll agree to it. For this reason, they’re also the most loyal of clients. Offer all the facts, show examples on other clients, manage objections (see section following(, and above all, stay cheerful and confident.
Keeping the above in mind, be sure your consultation answers all your questions, too… how much time the client has for hoircolor, what kind of color she wants, how receptive her hair will be, what kind of lifestyle she has, etc.
Recognize and handle negative attitudes proffiptly and directly.
IF you’re an experienced colorist, you undoubtedly have heard some of these comments before:
“It won’t look natural.”
“If I hate it, I can’t change it.”“It costs too much.”
“My husband won’t like it.”“I don’t want regrowth.”
“I don’t want the upkeep.”“The ammonia will damage my hair.”
It’s a fact of salon life that some clients will make negative comments or object to haircolor. But these are simply fears and concerns. Stubborn indifference is the real sales-killer.
Here’s how the experts handle objections, when trying to maneuver a difficult sale.
1. Hear the comment out. Don’t jump in right away. If you react with on answer too quickly, your client may feel uneasy, and pushed.
2. Ask your client to elaborate. “Why do you think it will take lots of upkeep”… “What’s most unnatural to you”… “Why do you think we can’t change it, if you dislike it.” The more your client expands on concerns, the more appropriate your answers could be.
3. Don’t dismiss her fears. If your client is partially right, don’t challenge her intelligence by telling her she’s wrong… “Yes, sometimes colors with ammonia can be damaging, but it’s really an issue only when they’re used incorrectly or if hair’s damaged to begin with, and if you’re truly concerned, today’s haircolors are also available without ammonia.” Your client will respect you – and your knowledge of haircolor.
4. Confirm your solution. Be sure your client has changed her thinking… “hopefully, I’ve answered your concerns”… This clarifies your understanding of the problem and eliminates the need to address it again in the future. Sometimes,
this can lead to an appointment for color, depending on the client, otherwise it’s the perfect way to begin a conversation next time.
Keep in mind… There are always some clients, who, no matter what you do or say, won’t change a negative viewpoint on haircolor. If after you’ve tried everything, the answer is still no, thank the client For listening and change the subject to avoid damaging a relationship. There’s always a chance you can bring it up again in the future.
Know when you’ve got a coffifflitifient and act on it.
Once your client seems receptive about haircolor, you’re ready to suggest an appointment to discuss it further. Here are some quick ways to seal the deal with your client.
• When the circumstances point to your client’s readiness to accept your recommendation, not your determination to get her there – use the direct approach. Summarize the benefits accepted by your client, restate them and offer the suggested service as soon as possible. IF it’s not done immediately, follow-through with a reminder note.
• Get your client into the pattern of saying “little yeses”, once you’ve come close to a commitment. You can say, “these shades are really attractive, aren’t they?” ; “isn’t it great that it only takes twenty five minutes to do?”
• Offer a special to your client… “We always give new color clients a sample of “X” with the color service.”

Author: Mags Kavanaugh

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