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Expectations vs. Reality with your Client Consultation

BlogBeauty Student Advice | January 3, 2014

client consultationAs a stylist you are going to have to learn very early on how to do a client consultation. This is one of the most essential tools you will have as a cosmetologist. It can very easily make or break your career. It also is going to be imperative that you learn effectively how to communicate with your clients about their expectations.

Over the last 12 years I have had many clients come in to have a service done where they have brought a photo of what they “expect” their style to resemble. As a stylist, I had to learn very early on how to grab information from my clients during the consultation that can make a huge difference in the end result of the clients satisfaction.

When a client brings in a photograph of Carrie Underwood and says they “want this look” there are several steps I take from that point to discover EXACTLY what they are looking to achieve.

Step 1:

Ask the client what it is about this style they like. It is really important to determine if it is the color in the photo that they really love. Is it the way Carrie has a longer side bang that can be tucked behind her ears? Is it that she has a ton of highlights in the front section of her hair and frames her face? Maybe it is simply that she loves how Carrie wears her hair and you could just trim your client and show her how to achieve this look at home. Without these questions you may end up with mixed messages and a VERY unhappy client.

Step 2:

Give the client feedback on their request. When they say to you that they really love the style, but you KNOW that this client hates bangs (you have tried to frame her face and even that makes her edgy!) you have to know how to talk to your client to give them what they will really need.  Simply ask them if they think blow drying and flat ironing every day would work for them. Do they have time to achieve this look? If not, do they really think that they are going to like this style when they don’t have time to do all of the maintenance?  If you communicate to them your concerns or suggestions, it makes them have more trust in you and gives them the feeling that you are really out for what is best for them.

Step 3:

Negotiate with them! If after all of the dialogue over this new look they still want to go for it (against your better judgment) then your best bet is to try to talk them into baby steps. “What about doing a longer side bang today and if you love it, then in 4 weeks when you come for a trim we can take it a bit shorter!” This way they know that you are willing to help them achieve their look but also ensuring they will come back to you in 4 weeks for a follow up appointment.

Step 4:

Do what is going to make the client happy. After all of the back and forth, you know they will not like the end result…However, you are going to do you absolute best to make them look fabulous anyway.

Step 5:

Keep the dialogue going during the service.  While you are sectioning or foiling (whatever the service may be) talk to them about what you are doing. Make them feel safe about each step as you take it. Give them the opportunity to give you feedback to make changes during the style. It is important that after you have a firm decision on the look they want, you support them in it! One of the worst things you can do is talk about how you “tried to talk them out of it” during the process. Keep the conversation light and fabulous.

Step 6:

Help them do this style at home. Give them the tools to achieve this look when they leave the salon. Sell them the styling products, show them how to hold the brush, tell them anything that can help them look this amazing everyday. They will be your walking business card!!!

Step 7:

Follow up with them. When they leave the salon always give a client with a new look a follow up call, email, or text letting them know you want to know how they are feeling about their fabulous new look.

Positive communication with a client is the most important part of your service to them. If you listen and respect their opinion and let them give you feedback, you will have no where to go but up with your career as a cosmetologist!

Heather Adamczak

Written by Heather Adamczak

Heather has 16 years industry experience! She had her own salon and spa for 7 years and specialized in bridal work on location for another 3 years. Heather currently works as a Career Planning Specialist for Empire's Cheektowaga (Buffalo), NY location and also does hair and makeup for the NFL Network on her days off. She has worked on over 150 different blogs over the last 5 years including national beauty sites and wedding magazines.

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