Are you looking to improve your hairdressing consultation?
Then you’ve landed in the right place.
Often times hair stylists become consumed in delivering the perfect hue of blonde to meet the client’s request that the most crucial step of the in-salon process is rushed through – the client consultation.
Having a successful client consultation is where the stylist learns the client’s expectations for the appointment, concerns can be addressed, and a thorough service plan is established. Not only does this ensure a better end result. It also builds trust with the client that you listen to them and understand them.
In this article, I’ll cover the most useful tips and questions to use when performing a hair color consultation, haircut consultation, or hairstyle consultation.
Let’s dive in.
1. Don’t Go Straight to The Chair
By going straight to the color bar or styling chair, you automatically take the meeting to a more personal level without talking business first.
After introducing yourself, start the client consultation in your salon lobby by shaking the client’s hand and asking them to have a seat in the waiting area as you sit across from them at eye level, almost like a casual business meeting.
This shows your guest you are professional and ready to listen to what they have to say.
2. Starting Your Client Consultation Form
With your clipboard or tablet ready, start by taking notes about your client. This is usually called a hair consultation form or hairdressing consultation form. Note how they come into the salon wearing their hair, typically this is how they style it on a day to day basis.
This will be handy when looking for the perfect haircut for them. Once you have completed the hair salon client information sheet it will be a useful tool for you to reflect back on before each appointment with your client and make updated notes.
Usually now is the time to ask questions and listen to your client’s expectations before following through with the service.
Here are some hair consultation questions that always need to be asked during the consultation:
“What can I do for you today?”
How often does someone ask you that question? Probably not very often and when they do so it probably feels great. This will show your client you are ready to listen and deliver high-quality service to them.
“Do you have any inspiration pictures for me or need any hairdressing advice?”
In today’s world clients often search Pinterest looking for hairdressing advice and the exact way they want their hair to look before coming to their appointment with you.
When they show you their ideas you can come up with the perfect service plan and also measure the client’s expectations at the same time. If the client proceeds to show you several pictures, look for common factors in all of the pictures. If the client has dark hair and she shows you several pictures of a model with long blonde hair take your thumb and cover the models face on the phone screen, then ask the client if they still love that hair style.
Sometimes clients love the overall look of a style, but not necessarily for them. If that is the case show the client pictures of something similar to what they think they want, but something more suitable for them. Chances are they will love your recommendation.
“What do you currently like and dislike about your hair?”
By asking this question it will give your client the perfect opportunity to open up about their current thoughts on their hair. If they mention a time that they truly loved their hair, ask if they have a picture available to show you.
Sometimes a client misses a certain hairstyle that was easy for them to maintain, a haircut that perfectly frames their face, or a color that seamlessly grows out over time.
“What is your budget for today?”
This is a critical question that should be asked during every client consultation to avoid price shock when getting to the checkout. Nothing is worse to a client than expecting one price and it being significantly higher.
Avoid this by being open about pricing and being flexible on services so the client can stick to their budget, even if it means breaking up one large transformation color service into multiple smaller ones to help them stick to what they can afford.
If your service pricing and the client’s budget are dramatically different, give them options on what you can do for them that is within their budget without lowering your pricing standard. Sometimes clients truly do not have an idea about salon service pricing.
“Do you have any allergies that I need to know about?”
One might be surprised how many clients have allergies to essential oils, ingredients in color, certain chemicals in shampoo, the list goes on. To make sure your guest has a comfortable salon experience it’s always important to know what they are allergic to.
“Today we can get your hair to this color, but your overall goal is going to take multiple sessions.”
Do not be afraid to be honest when it comes to client expectations. It is always better to under-promise and over-deliver, the client will leave feeling like you are a true magician if you do so. This is one reason why it is important to have a thorough hair color consultation.
“I see the color/cut you desire is substantially different than you have now.”
If the client has requested something completely different than the style they have now, be sure to go over maintenance of their desired style so the client is well aware of how many salon visits they will need to maintain their new look during this part of the hairstyle consultation.
For some maintenance will be a large factor if rather or not they want a transformation style or something slightly different. That is why it is important to have a thorough haircut consultation, so the client is sure to love their new haircut for weeks to come.
“What is your schedule like?”
Nothing is worse than after a long day in the salon realizing that you forgot to rebook your new client that you happen to love. Many stylists make the error of waiting until checkout to re-book clients. It’s always best to include pre-booking appointments in the hair consultation so it’s never forgotten at the end.
“Tell me about your typical day?”
The amount of time the client has available in the morning to style their hair is going to depend on which style is best for their everyday life.
The busy working mom is going to need a style that is low maintenance and effortless verses the mid-forty-year-old client who enjoys a cup of coffee and getting ready for work in the mornings.
This is something that should be a top priority when discussing a new style, so the client doesn’t feel overwhelmed with a new style that requires effort each day if their lifestyle calls for something more low maintenance.
“What products are you using at home?”
Never make a client feel embarrassed to tell you that they use drug store hair care products, but always recommend professional products you have on hand.
Now is a good time to give your best hairdressing advice by recommending products to the client based on their individual needs along with why your professional products are a great match for them.
When recommending products always try to recommend products in a system of three such as shampoo, conditioner, and a leave-in conditioner.
“I can take care of your hair for two hours once every six weeks. During the time you take care of it, I want to make sure you are taking the correct measures that will help our journey.”
This will make the client realize how important at-home care is and how your hairdressing advice is needed throughout their treatment plan.
One thing to consider is what type of water the client has at home. Such as well water or spring water which can play a role in how the client’s color fades, the texture of the hair due to building up, along with several other factors.
3. Maintain Eye Contact Throughout the Hairdressing Consultation
When you are not taking notes about your client, make eye contact. Believe it or not, eye contact is a trust-building part of body language that shows the client you are listening to them.
When looking into their eyes during the consultation make sure to look at the left eye and the right eye. Also avoid negative body language such as crossing your arms, looking away, or talking too fast.
This is a crucial hair consultation tip that many stylists forget, which is just as important as the questions asked during the salon consultation.
4. Give Your Client a Salon Tour
This applies to a new client that might not have ever been to your salon before. When wrapping up the consultation, take the guest on a mini-tour of the salon. Show them where the restroom is, shampoo area, color bar, and styling station.
Be sure to place emphasis on the shampoo area and any special treatments you offer at the shampoo bowl such as a complimentary hot towel or aromatherapy. Typically, the time spent at the shampoo bowl is the client’s favorite part because they are able to relax.
Remember, once the service starts the tour will make your client feel at ease and not feel embarrassed to ask “where is the restroom” if needed.
5. Introduce the Client to Other Staff Members During the Stylist Consultation
If your salon has a guest relations specialist that will be checking them out or offering them a beverage throughout the service, introduce them to that person. It is also important your client trust your assistant if he or she will be helping you throughout the service.
Now is the time to introduce them and thoroughly explain to your client the assistant’s role and every task they will complete throughout the service. This will make the guest feel welcome and at ease to ask for something if they need it during their visit with you.
6. What Is Your Cancelation Policy?
Now is the ideal time to inform the client of your cancelation policy so as your relationship continues to build in months to come the client is never surprised when they learn about your need for notice when rescheduling an appointment.
This part of the conversation can easily be done by saying, “Sandy, I don’t know if you had a chance to read over our salon appointment cancelation policy or not when you booked your appointment online, but I will go ahead and read that to you before we get started.”
Then, just simply read your policy to the client and ask them if they have any questions after doing so. By doing this you as the stylist are protecting yourself from the client being able to say, “I’m sorry I didn’t know I needed to give you a twenty-four-hour notice if I couldn’t attend my appointment,” which would result in a valuable opening in your schedule that another client could attend.
7. Teach Your Client About Your Referral Program
Before you start the service be sure to explain to your client what your referral program is and how it can benefit them. Now is a great time to do so because your client can go ahead and start thinking about who they can refer to you and who could benefit from your services.
One way to present your referral program without seeming aggressive is by saying “I think you and I are going to be a perfect fit and I can’t wait to get started. I would love to help you save money on your future visits with me by you introducing me to your friends who are just like you.”
I’d strongly recommend you invest in a salon software that can help you manage and reward client referrals. This will make your referral program more effective and you avoid making mistakes that a manual, paper-based, system would introduce.
Wrapping up the Hair Consultation
When finished with the client consultation do a recap of everything you and the client talked about. This doesn’t have to be a word for word review, but it will show the client you were listening to everything mentioned during the hairstylist consultation and allows time for any final questions before beginning the service.
This is also a great time to make sure the information on the hair consultation form is correct such as the client’s phone number and address. At first, performing an in-depth client consultation can be a little overwhelming or intimidating. Don’t be nervous when doing a client consultation. Eventually, it will become second nature and easy to perform.
Communication is a practiced skill that is such a powerful tool especially in the beauty industry where we are hands-on with others’ appearance.
With this fail-proof consultation method, you are sure to have success behind the chair with pleasing your client and making them have a five-star experience that they won’t forget.
For more ideas on how you can grow your salon business, I strongly recommend checking out my list of other salon marketing ideas and strategies here.