Does your salon encourage—actually encourage—stylists to say no to clients? If you’re lucky enough to be in a leadership position at your salon, you need to start encouraging your stylists to say no to performing services that just don’t feel right. I’m going to share with you when saying no is appropriate, a strategy for avoiding this situation, and how to say no confidently and kindly.
When To Say No
At my salon, Be Inspired Salon in Madison, WI, we teach our stylists that if a consultation takes more than 5-10 minutes, it is not the day for this service. At this point, the stylist should say no, and I’ll explain how to do this shortly. You’ve probably seen this situation happen when a client who has unrealistic expectations takes control of the consultation, and your compassionate stylist is too timid to say no and explain why this can’t happen today. Basically, the stylist is left feeling uneasy about the consultation, and there is no way that she is going to make the client happy. More often than not, the clients who have a shaky consultation will be the ones who call back to complain. Although receiving a handful of complaints is unavoidable, we could save ourselves a lot of heartache if we just say no from the beginning.
Try to Avoid It
Simply saying no is a great option when a consultation isn’t going smoothly, but there are other ways that you can avoid this situation altogether. For example, clients often bring in pictures of how they want their hair colored, and sometimes the stylist can’t do exactly what is pictured for various reasons. You know what I’m talking about, right? So, the stylist uses the client’s photo as inspiration and explains what she can actually perform during this appointment. While it’s great that the stylist is saying yes to what can happen while saying no to what can’t happen, the stylist often forgets to show the client a new photo. This is the fail. The only image in the client’s head is the photo that they brought in, so the stylist needs to show the client a new, inspiring, and beautiful picture of what will be performed today. If the client still isn’t understanding, even with the additional pictures, this is when you need to say no.
Another strategy to avoid saying no is by using the award-winning marketing tool: Meet Your Stylist. Meet Your Stylist is a customized tool that matches clients with hair stylists at your salon who are the best fit for them based on their personality, lifestyle, and relationship preferences. Above all, Meet Your Stylist gets the connection right the first time. When clients are uniquely matched with their stylist, the client has respect for you and your expertise because they have been prequalified to work with you. How great is that?
How to Say No
Now that we’ve tried several strategies to avoid saying no and decided when it’s appropriate to actually say no, how exactly does a stylist do this? Here’s your basic script, just add your own personality: “You know what, I just don’t think today is the right day. I really want us to firm up where we are headed with this look before we start. My fear is that I’m going to start working on your color, we put all this time and energy into it, and you might not be happy with the result. I don’t want that for either of us.” At this point, you can do what is right for you and your salon. You may want to refer the client to a different stylist, explain that you’ll be in contact via email with some new pictures, or even refer her to a different salon. It might seem scary at first, but you won’t regret saying no to a service that just doesn’t feel right.
If you’re a salon owner or manager, you need to train your stylists on when and how to say no. Then (and most importantly), you have to have their back when they come to you and explain why they didn’t perform a service on a particular client. The truth is, if you take care of your team first, they will take care of the clients. This is a win-win situation, so hopefully this has encouraged you to empower your stylists and build a fabulous team of professionals!
Do you have other tips about saying no, or want to share a troubling situation with other professionals? Share your thoughts on our private Facebook group; we all rise when we lift each other! To get more industry advice, make sure to follow Beyond the Technique and listen to the weekly podcast, including this topic: Episode 104.