Cultivating Conversation in the ChairFor the young or inexperienced stylist, initiating and maintaining a sophisticated conversation with the client of a high-end salon can be more intimidating than catering to her styling needs. Foster a culture of communication between your staff and your guests by teaching your team communication skills and guiding their conversation topics. Consider this:

Keep it Professional. The majority of the chair-side conversation should be focused on the guest, assessing her beauty needs and explaining the services and retail products that can help her achieve her beauty desires. Help your staff guide conversation in the right direction by suggesting a professional to personal conversation ratio.

Culture Club: Raise the sophistication level of the conversation on the floor by cultivating your team’s cultural experiences. Develop a cultural fund and once a month or once a quarter, cover the cost of a ticket to an art opening, play, indie film cover the cost of a team member’s ticket to an art opening, play, fashion show or other cultural experience giving the staff members community-based experiences to weave into their conversations.

Gossip About Trends, Not People: Ban staff from gossiping about clients, other team members and salon management—this can only lead to trouble. Instead, encourage staff to gossip about fashion, beauty and wellness trends they are observing in the news, on the streets and on the runways. Guests should look to your staff as go-to beauty and fashion experts.

Nametag Clues: At a recent conference, John DiJulius, salon owner and author of Secret Service, suggested including a team member’s passion under their name on their nametag: “For example, it could read ‘My passion is running,’ or ‘My passion is my three-year-old daughter,’” he says. “This simple strategy has opened up a rapport between guests and the team, encouraged the guests to ask team members questions about themselves, and helped them find common interests.”

Control the Flow: Not all clients are created equal. Some seek out the salon for its social scene, others look to it as a opportunity for a little R&R. Show staff how to follow their guests’ verbal and non-verbal cues and let the guest set the pace and flow of the conversation.


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