EVERY GREAT CLIENT – HAIR DRESSER RELATIONSHIP STARTS WITH A STRONG CONSULTATION
For this month’s issue, we sat down with Jonnie Terech, the co-owner of Blanc Noir Hairdressing in Costa Mesa, CA, to discuss the importance of a strong, purposeful consultation.
Why do you think a strong consultation is so important?
The consultation can make or break a relationship with a client. Just like a first date, it is important to make a strong yet welcoming first impression. You really want to take the opportunity to not only communicate our salon’s personality and the quality of service we provide, but also show the client that we are listening to what’s important to them and what they are looking for in a salon. We value this so much that we have a mandatory 15-minute consultation with the client (new or a regular) soon after any appointment for a color service is booked.
Tell me about what a consultation is like at Blanc Noir.
The main objective is to build trust and confidence in you as a hairdresser, and let them know we are committed to building a mutually beneficial relationship. We train every staff member on the Blanc Noir Consultation to ensure a consistent experience with whomever takes the appointment. At the time the appointment is booked, we let them know that we require a 15-minute color consultation with every client, free of charge. They usually go “Wow, I have never experienced something like this before, this is great!” We ask for a detailed 2-year hair history, indoor/outdoor photos, and what service or look they want us to give them. It is important to ask questions like “Why did you want that look?” or “What did you like/dislike about that service?” You would be surprised how rarely they are asked for their opinion on their own hair! Once we have a good understanding of their history and what they are looking for, we provide them a detailed explanation of the services we recommend to give them the look they want. It is important that we go over how many visits it will take, what it may cost, maintenance, aftercare, and any other expectations that they may not consider. We really want to be on the same page from the first “Hello” to the selfie we take together as they walk out the door. This will help avoid “sticker shock” and anything else that may lead to a disappointed client. If they live too far away, SKYPE or FACETIME!
What should you avoid in consultations?
DO NOT PROMISE THE WORLD! We all know how easy it is to get excited or fall in love with the potential a client has. We are all artists and should believe every client could be our Mona Lisa. You are not setting yourself up for success. Being honest and realistic up front with clear commitments and expectations will ensure that together, you and the client will embark on a journey towards something they will love.
How do clients show you what they want?
The most common thing I see is a client with an Instagram pic up on their phone saying: “I want to look like this.” Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You just need to make sure they are 100% clear as to what kind of time and financial commitment it would be for that client to achieve that look. Instagram posts do not show the audience the numerous hours or money spent at the salon. I personally like to use service menus, either made in-house or provided by L'Oréal Professionnel as well as the Style My Hair App. It is a great tool to help navigate the consultation and help the client visualize the look we are about to achieve together. Don’t be afraid to recommend a regular client a new service, even if it is an upcharge. If you have built that strong relationship at the start of the consultation, then you are both committed to delivering the best look for the client.