The Key to Nailing the Consultation Is Open Communication
The consultation is the single most important step in securing a potential client. This introduction sets the stage for all future interactions between your client, their stylist, and ultimately, your salon. And the key to nailing the consultation? Open communication and conversation.
Bespoke Beauty Bar Owners, Alicia and Christian Blazevich, know exactly what it takes to seal the deal during the consultation. In fact, their knack for client communication is what makes them a Salon Today Top 200 Salon. After putting in their time at a four-year college, Alicia and Christian found themselves longing for something different, so they decided to switch courses and that’s how Bespoke beauty bar was born.
Ironically, both Alicia and Christian grew up with a soft spot for the salon environment. As a child, Alicia spent most weekends at the salon with her grandmother perfecting her perm, and Christian fondly remembers visits to the barbershop with his grandfather. The Blazevich’s both grew up with a deep appreciation for the community atmosphere that salons provide, which played a significant role in their beauty bar for their own salon.
Alicia and Christian opened Bespoke Beauty Bar with the intentions of highlighting each client’s individuality. They knew that the same old cookie cutter formulas simply wouldn’t cut it in their studio, which is why they put an extra emphasis on the consultation. By getting to know each of their clients and their own intimate relationship with their hair, the Blazevich’s and their team are able to tailor their services to meet each client’s unique needs. Alicia and Christian ask all of the right questions during the consultation—and you can too!
Put it in Writing
Contrary to popular belief, the Blazevich’s know that doing everything digitally doesn’t always mean it’s going to be done better. Alicia emphasizes the impact of using a hand-written client intake form during the consultation. While a digital form might speed up the process, there’s a level of thoughtfulness that comes with writing something down by hand.
I mean seriously, how often are we asked to jot down our thoughts and feelings anymore? Alicia encourages salon owners to hand their clients a pen and paper during their first visit in order to prompt them to really process the questions and fill out the form authentically.
Make it Positively Personal
While the consultation should still ultimately be about the technical services your client is seeking, it’s important to include some personal questions when getting to know them and their individual needs. Not only does this help you match each client with their perfect stylist, but it also shows that you care about the person underneath each head of hair.
Alicia and Christian also suggest spinning the consultation in a positive light. During the first visit, we often focus on what the client is looking to change, what they don’t like about their hair. Alicia emphasizes how impactful it can be to shift the focus to what they do like, what about their hair makes them feel good.
Of course, we’re still there to tend to that unwanted outgrowth or make those color corrections, but by asking these questions and getting to the bottom of their wants and needs you’re letting each client know that they’re valued, and that you care about their feelings.
Alicia also suggests that you ask each client about what they look forward to when coming to the salon. Make yourself aware of their favorite part of the salon experience and linger there during their service. For some, coming to the salon is a chore in and of itself, so don’t add the extra frills. For others, they might say they love the shampoo or simply being pampered, so give them an extra rinse or add some essential oils to amplify the experience.
Ask the Tough Questions
It can be tempting to wrap up the consultation after the more enjoyable “get-to-know-you” questions, but it can’t end there. The most important questions are the ones regarding maintenance and budget.
As a salon owner or stylist, the goal is always to send clients off with a new wave of confidence and incredible hair, but the key to keeping your clients is giving them the ability to recreate that same look and feeling at home. Alicia and Christian know that hair maintenance looks a little bit different for every client, which is why they take the time to ask the tough questions.
At Bespoke, they really break it down to understand each client’s level of ability when it comes to maintaining their color, their biggest challenges when it comes to styling, and their current product regimen. Alicia suggests that you start with the basics and work your way up. Ask your clients, “How much time do you spend on your hair in the morning?” And go from there.
Break Down the Budget
Finally, it’s time to talk about the budget. At Bespoke, the last page of their client intake form is the personalized Bespoke Beauty Plan, where they cover the cost down to the dollar.
Again, Alicia says it’s important to break the cost down by service. Does your color require an additional glaze or bonding treatment? How many times will you need to process? While this level of disclosure might sound daunting at first, Alicia and Christian argue that this kind of transparency helps build trust with your clients. Not to mention, it’s tremendous for bridging the gap between the client’s expectations and what’s actually realistic for their budget and level of ability.
To learn more about Bespoke Beauty Bar and the Blazevich’s knack for client communication, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 162. If you’re interested in more step-by-step advice on perfecting the consultation conversation, read our previous blog post on the Six Steps to a Winning Consultation.