How to Customize Your Consultations Using VAK


I bet I grabbed your attention by talking about consultations, right? As we all know, consultations can be tricky, but they are so important for a successful appointment and something that we can all get better at. If you haven’t heard of VAK, I’m here to tell you what it is and how you can use this strategy to improve your client consultations!

What the Heck is VAK?

The suspense is over – VAK stands for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Here are some interesting statistics about these learning styles: only 20% of people are auditory listeners. (Of course, if you listen to the Beyond The Technique podcast, you are the exception!) 40% of learners are visual and the final 40% of people are kinesthetic learners.

Do you know what type of learner you are, or maybe more importantly, what type of learners your clients are? Here are some descriptions to help you better understand these ideas and identify your style.

Visual learners need to see to learn. These individuals learn through reading and writing activities. They feel comfortable with charts, demonstrations, videos, and other visual materials. Are you someone who can remember exactly where on a page a specific sentence, phrase, or image is? Or better yet, can you remember how to drive somewhere after only going there once? These are signs that you are a visual learner.

Auditory learners absorb information by hearing it. Often, these individuals talk to themselves. Do you have a coworker who you can hear mumbling alone at her station? This is the sign of an auditory learner. Additionally, these learners may move their lips when they read or even read aloud.

Kinesthetic learners do best while touching and moving and will often lose concentration if there is little or no external stimulation. These individuals often use highlighters when they take notes, draw pictures, or doodle while they are learning.

After reading these descriptions, do you know what type of learner you are? Many of us are a wonderful mix of all three learning styles or maybe prefer different approaches for different types of content. Nonetheless, I bet a majority of hair stylists are visual or kinesthetic. Think about a lot of the education in our industry. Oftentimes, we will watch a demonstration, then have a chance to practice on a mannequin. This gives auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners a chance to learn the best way they can!

VAK in Consultations

Now that you have a better understanding of VAK, it’s time to implement it into your consultations! The key to implementing VAK into your consultations is listening for cues from your clients to discern what type of learner they are.

If your client is a visual learner, you will hear her say things like: “Could I see that?” Or, “I see what you mean.” For visual learners, you really want to use illustrations or images in your consultations. You should consider showing them pictures and saying things like “This is what I visualize for your hair color and cut today.”

If your client is an auditory learner, you will hear her say things like, “I hear what you’re saying” or, “I heard about this new technique.” For auditory learners, you want to teach them through talking. Try telling them exactly what you plan on accomplishing that day, and at the end of the appointment, recap the entire service. Even if you have a client who gets the same haircut every six weeks, walk her through the entire process from start to finish.

If your client is a kinesthetic learner, you will hear her say things like “I feel like my hair is really dark.” Or, “Last time, I felt like my cut was too short” For kinesthetic learners, they want to be moving around or maybe listening to music. For their consultations, get out the color swatches and let them touch and pick out the colors they like. Try giving them the products to hold, feel, smell, and even apply to their own hair. They will appreciate having this control.

Matching your client’s learning style will go a long way to building her confidence in you and building your relationship together. Start with baby steps, and try this with just one or two consultations the next day you’re behind the chair. As you use this technique more, you will get better at hearing your clients’ cues, and your consultations will become more effective. Give it a try and let me know how it works!

To get even more industry advice, make sure to follow Beyond the Technique and listen to the weekly podcast.


Emily Kelly