Why Your Emotional Intelligence Matters More Than Your I.Q., with Jay Williams

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As salon owners, many of us are creatives first. We hated sitting in class all day and the idea of standardized tests still makes us want to scream in agony. What drives us, though, is the connection we have with our clients as we build rapport and truly get to know them. We are the ones who help them look and feel their best, and our willingness to help them is what motivates them to keep coming back. This week on the blog we are discussing emotional intelligence and why it matters more than your I.Q. in the salon industry. This amazing content comes from a conversation with Jay Williams, a keynote speaker, author, business coach, and former manager who has worked with companies like Paul Mitchell, Aveda, and Bumble and Bumble. In many of his roles, Jay has helped his clients get in alignment with what their audience needs and has found ways for his clients to expand and ultimately bring in more income to the company. His latest book, Leave Your Mark, which was inspired by the thoughts of Dr. Lula Sensei, connects emotional intelligence to the technical knowledge needed for a stylist to thrive in their field.

Cosmetology and Psychology

While technical knowledge is an important piece of the hair and salon industry, Jay believes the emotional intelligence and psychology of the industry is what will make a salon professional continue to grow their clientele. All salon owners and professionals have to go through some form of training to become licensed professionals. Skills like coloring or cutting hair are important for any stylist to have, but knowing how to relate or listen to each client is what brings the client to a specific stylist’s chair. Having those skills requires a high emotional intelligence, something Jay says many salon owners have overlooked. A stylist who can psychologically transform a client will see their client on average between six and 50 times a year, and will keep the client for an average of six to seven years. Having a client who feels comfortable with you can secure their business much more effectively than simply achieving the style they asked for.      

Engaging with Clients Brings Retention

Stylists lead insanely busy lives, and sometimes it can be difficult to stay in the moment with one client when you have two, three, or even four or more clients for the day. Jay says one of the top 10 changes he would make to a salon would be to enhance human engagement. Many of us are so preoccupied with our phones that we can neglect not only what the client is saying, but how they are saying it. If a client is venting about a job loss or personal issues at home, using active listening skills and empathizing with the client will keep the client coming back. Jay believes putting the phone down and being in the moment will boost your retention, your referrals, your appointments, and your reviews in the future. 

Emotional Intelligence Begins with Self-awareness

One way that stylists can hone their emotional intelligence, or, as Jay refers to it, “emotional quotient”, is to have self-awareness and self-regulation in your work. Jay says being aware of your emotions at the moment – whether you are happy, sad, or frustrated – will make you 80 percent more likely to do something about them. Having the ability to be both aware of and handle your emotions will help you as a stylist better focus on your work and your clients. Self-awareness also allows you to be more empathetic with your clients. When we are present and focusing on the needs of the client, we can hear exactly what they want and act like their doctors at that moment. Self-regulation is also an important key to heightening your emotional intelligence. Jay says how we regulate ourselves and our emotions have everything to do with how we empathize with others. Self-regulation shows itself in the energy you have in facing your own emotions, which can be a positive aspect for your clients, if focused on correctly. One way we can regulate our energy towards a client is by helping them find what motivates them when it seems as if they’re facing hard times and helping them to focus on that more. 

Tools for Better Emotional Intelligence

So far, we have learned that a stylist who possesses a high level of emotional intelligence can further build their clientele and earn more income than someone who focuses on their technical knowledge alone. Jay said studies have proven that professionals who have a high emotional intelligence earn $29,000 more than their technical-savvy colleagues.  But how can you practice or learn more about emotional intelligence to help elevate your career? In addition to his own book as a resource, Jay suggests a book written by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves called Emotional Intelligence 2.0. The book comes with a complimentary, online assessment where the authors give you feedback on your results. The authors also show you how to heighten your emotional intelligence.

To connect with Jay Williams for a workshop on communications for your salon, check out his Facebook, Instagram (@jaywilliamsco), or on his website. You can also check out the full interview from the Beyond The Technique podcast here

Emily Kelly