One of the highlights from the Phorest Salon Owner's Summit held recently in Dublin, Ireland, was a presentation from Industry insider, salon owner, coach and author Tabatha Coffey. Coffey shared tips on branding, social media and servicing the client but her chat about the consultation had people taking furious notes.

“People want to be led,” she says. “People want a smaller option.” Coffey pointed out that hairdressers must learn to lead into their strengths so they can follow through better. According to Coffey, “It used to be that clients would give us five times to get it right. Now it’s one and done.”

It all starts at the beginning, says Coffey who adds that the consultation sets the tone for the service. “7% of clients say that are not being consulted. The way we are having conversations are not working. Clients don’t believe they are being heard. 84% of guests say their last interaction did not exceed their expectation.”

Coffey shares her top five tips on giving the best consultation possible:

  1. You must be totally engaged. The client wants to be heard. Put down the phone or tablet and make eye contact. Repeat what she says and make the consultation a conversation.
  2. Change what you say during a consultation. A great question to ask at the beginning of a consultation is “What has no one ever been able to do for you?” Also ask, “What do you love about your hair?”
  3. People are overwhelmed by choice. Part of the reason is because they want an expert. My life is 1000 decision a day. I want someone to make decisions for me – the expert. Limit the choices for her.
  4. Do not discount. Clients want value. Throw in something for free but don’t discount.
  5. Finally, make the retail conversation part of the consultation. Approach retail like you would an insurance policy. “By getting clients to use your products, you protect yourself from them returning and blaming you for the bad color when in fact, they could have been using a product at home that damaged the hair or the color.”

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