A few years ago, salon colour menus were stuck in a rut, with uninspiring colour descriptions like ‘T-bar’ and ‘half-head highlights’ that don’t speak to the consumer. These techniques were one-size-fits-all colours that didn’t take the individual client into account and which made colour a chore.
the art of a consultation
A startling fact was shared with me recently by my friends at l’oreal professional
’97 out of 100 hairdressers claimed to give a consultation with every client at every visit’ well that sounds brilliant doesn’t it but then
only “7 clients out of 100 surveyed say they ever had one !” thats one massive shift in perception and if we are going to get those million women who say they would come back to the salon if they could get their colour shade right we are obviously not hitting the mark. The consultation is overlooked by many and and incredibly important part of any colour service.
Recently I decided to review my consultation process with people booking in and then not showing up which basically wastes my time and costs me money i decided to start charging for the consult, but that could be redeemed against the service if the client chose to book in. If its free it often has no value so i chose to add value to this aspect of colour and its been really effective. All new clients have to come in for a consultation and it also allows me to do a skin allergy alert test killing 2 birds with one stone so to speak. What does a consultation look like with me you might ask?
1.I always greet the client with a handshake and introduce my self, its gracious and a smile never goes amiss
2.I always offer to carry their handbag to the consultation chair, it shows indirectly, respect and that i am here to look after her
3.I always sit on a stool next to them and lower than them for the initial consult otherwise if i’m looming over them it can be intimidating for the client and I want her to be relaxed so we can talk freely, its a great time to offer them a drink
Hair colour is emotional and many clients come with a wealth of knowledge that they can dispart with from what gone wrong in the past and what they are looking for, don’t reject that use it
4.I’m a huge fan of Pintrest and have many boards from Balayage to red, blonde and brown with all varying tones. A picture tells thousand words and gives the client a massive choice of ideas to discus, to be honest i’m usually surprised if a client doesn’t bring in any images herself – its the 21st century guys
5.Don’t just ask the basics, like what do you want, ask leading open questions such as commitment for time and money someone might not realise the costs and time a certain look would be, I always ask whats their fantasy hair colour
6.In this fast paced world clients often think they can go from A to Z in one sitting, the reality is different I don’t have 8 hours to spend on one client and as Tracey cunningham explained in American Allure it took her 2 years to get Khloe Kardashian from sultry brunette to her now super blonde, so do talk about the journey and manage the expectation of the client
7.Always be truthful about what can be done in one appointment and talk about the journey of the colour service and especially fully quote the price
8.Consumers these day are say so make sure you are up to date on all the latest buzz words and trend, do know the difference between balayage and ombre make sure you know a baby light to a classic foil, strobing to contouring, we shouldn’t be caught out by something that is current or a micro trend
9.Women want to be advised this is where as a colourist I can upsell by diagnosing the right shampoo and treatments, where I can recommend someone to cut it , maybe it needs cutting first because the placement of colour is dictated by the haircut . We are the professional and we should know whats right for that client.
10.Finally once a plan of action has been agreed on you can then do your skin allergy alert test and then go book the appointment with a clear vision and make sure its 48 hours after the allergy alert.
As I look back over the year it’s scattered with highlights (no pun intended!) It started with a bang with the launch of Jack Howard at Paul Edmonds, and what a brilliant collaboration it’s been. Working alongside such a caring talented man with a brilliant team where everyone has made me feel so welcome has just been fantastic.
The recent rise of the Dandy in fashion can only be a good thing for hairdressers and barbers because with that comes a huge opportunity to up-sell product and colour.
Officially its summer and i’m supposed to be taking it easy, well that’s another story, August is actually busy it seems i’m in a mad rush before my vacation, Its exciting times though. This week i’ll be teaching a 1-2-1 Balayage class and he’s flown in from Singapore for it, so the word is spreading . Im also working on a new format for my presentations its always good to have a look back and tweek it all, trying to make it all a little more digital, and i’m expanding, next year i’m meeting up with some other colourists and I will selecting 1 or 2 of them to train up with my method and then working together teaching balayage, so we can hold bigger classes and reach more people because at the moment I can’t meet the demand. Its wonderful to see my little dream grow.
As much as I like a balayage look all soft and natural, there is no denying that I love a cool white all over blonde, I don’t know about you but I seem to be doing a lot of them at the moment, and loving every one of them. The trick of course is getting the hair pre lightend up to a very very pale yellow and even, before then glazing . I love platinium for Balayage but prefer the new studio blonde powder lightner for an all over blonde . For me I use either 20 or 30 volume developer depending on the base colour and try to encourage clients to come back at monthly interval because as we all know as soon as you go over that half inch regrowth then its time for a long regrowth application which is time consuming and annoying.