The Client Consultation
By AHP Staff
The client consultation is your opportunity to build a relationship with the client and determine exactly what their needs are. Often the consultation is skipped due to timing, a sense of urgency to begin the service, feelings of discomfort having a conversation, etc. Take this time to learn as much as you can about your clients’ general lifestyle, their home regimen, what their hair care concerns are, and what they hope to get out of today’s visit.
When done right, a thorough consultation is a chance to turn a customer into a client with repeat visits! So much information can be garnered from your initial conversation before you even look at their hair.
- Your client indicates they have dry hair, discoloration, or would like some oomph in their style, use that precious info as a great conversation starter for retail. It’s also an opportunity to discuss their hair care goals. Do they have holes in their regimen you can fill? Are their current products working for them? Are they getting their hair professionally colored and using products at home that strip out their color? It’s possible their routine needs to be simplified or altered to meet their goals and create change in their hair care routine. Get them on a good home regimen to meet those goals.
- Your client indicates they use the cheapest shampoo and conditioner they can find at the store. You know that many of these products have sulfates, alcohol, or silicones in them that can harm the integrity of the hair. Never make your client feel embarrassed about the choices they’ve made. Instead, use this opportunity to educate them about the effects of nonprofessional products. If they hope to achieve specific hair care goals, lay out an at-home hair care plan and show them what products they need to make those goals a reality. Someone who sticks to a simple routine may not be open to multiple steps, but slowly introducing 1–2 products and a simple plan they feel they can commit to will benefit the health and integrity of their hair and get them rebooking.
The consultation is also an opportunity to upsell products and add on services. While conversing with your clients, listen for cues from your client such as, “My hair has been feeling really dry and has no volume.” Offer a deep-conditioning treatment as an add-on service and incorporate the products you recommend them to use at home into your service. Take the time during the service to educate your client on what you are using, why you are using it, and how to use it. This is not a hard sell to get your client to buy something; it’s just an introduction of ideas and education your guest didn’t have before they walked in the door.
A good consultation not only provides the cosmetologist with valuable information, but it also benefits the client. A thorough consultation will leave the client feeling that they are in the hands of an expert who genuinely cares, is interested in them, and has the knowledge required to meet their needs.
Where do cosmetologists go wrong?
- Missing the opportunity to take control: Lead the conversation and set realistic expectations. Make sure the client understands what can be achieved. Do not allow the client to lead the consultation.
- Asking the wrong questions: Use open-ended questions to generate the conversation and gauge what the clients’ needs and wants are.
- Failing to understand the client’s lifestyle: Does the client work outdoors, a sun worshipper, or avid swimmer. Do they have limited time or travel frequently? All these traits will affect the type of hair care routine, post-care, and retail your client receives.
- Assuming you know what your client can afford: Believe in your products and your self-worth. Assuming something is out of budget for your client means loss in revenue. If the product will benefit your client and they can’t afford it or don’t want to buy it, let them be the one to tell you. Most stylists assume a product is too expensive for their client or are shy about bringing up the price. Most guests know that if they are buying a professional product, it will cost more than what they would spend at a big box store.
- Failing to listen: Your consultation was spot on, and you asked all the right questions, but if you aren’t really listening to the needs and wants of your clients, you have a breakdown in communication and lose out on a repeat client. Sometimes what you think the client needs is not what they want.