Consultation Tips

1: Provide a Conversation-Building Consultation

Always start a service by making your client feel comfortable. Whether this is your first appointment together—or 100th—you should always ask how your client is doing. How has she liked her hair since her last appointment? Has she had any concerns? By building a relationship of trust, the client will always feel like his or her best interests are at the heart of your recommendation.

Before you make any recommendation, find out what he or she wants. Let him or her do the talking. “I’ve trained my hairdressers to not speak until the very end of the consultation,” says Jo Blackwell-Preston, a stylist and the owner of Dop Dop Salon in Manhattan. “I ask questions, listen, and then repeat the answers back to the client so he or she knows I heard what they said. Once I have all of the information [a good consultation can last between 90 seconds and 15 minutes, advises Blackwell], then I make my recommendation.”

For stylists who may have trouble letting their client lead the conversation, take Blackwell’s advice: ask questions. Asking questions allows you some control of where the consultation goes (after all, you’ll find many clients have trouble articulating what they want), but it also allows your client the chance to voice his or her opinions and concerns.

“For current clients I always ask the same four questions. [For new clients, she requires they schedule a 15-minute consultation before their service for a complete diagnosis.] The questions include:

  • What do you like about your hair?
  • What don’t you like about your hair?
  • How often are you willing to maintain it—both at home and with salon visits?
  • For today’s look, would you like it to whisper, speak or shout?

Once your questions are answered, carefully touch the hair to feel the quality and brush through it to see how the hair moves. Part the scalp to assess for signs of stress or damage.

#2: Perform an In-Salon Service

Not all hair concerns can be solved with a haircut or color service. As stylists, we know this, but many of our clients do not. During your consultation, clearly explain the importance of in-salon treatments. Their professional concentration of ingredients target the hair’s unique needs as well as restore the hair to its natural structure after a cut or color and before a styling service.

Choose a treatment that elevates the client’s experience. L’Orèal Professionnel just introduced a new in-salon treatment, Serie Expert Powermix, that puts the client experience (and hair!) first, with personalized options and an interactive application.  

The treatment is composed of a base liquid and an additive liquid that are mixed together to instantly transform into a creamy mask. With 5 different additives, the stylist has the option to choose one based on their client’s main hair concern- whether that be dryness, color radiance, repair, strength or unruliness. After applying from mid-lengths to ends and allowing it to sit for up to five minutes before rinsing, the hair is transformed. Your client is pampered and relaxed. Win, win. 

For clients who are wary to try something new, Blackwell offers this advice.

“I offer my clients the first Powermix treatment for free and then they’re hooked. I tell them to feel their hair before and after the treatment to see the difference.”

#3: Finish Their Service with Take Home Products

To maintain your service, recommend at-home products during the consultation. Use your client’s recommended regimen throughout the service (at the shampoo bowl and the stylist station) to trial the product and allow him or her to see the results firsthand.  

Recommending retail products shouldn’t feel like a sales pitch—instead, provide options to promote long-lasting benefits and treat long-term concerns. Remember—you’re the expert!