Course 3: Consultations 101
The importance of having a well rehearsed and consistent consultation process is one of the key cornerstones, or foundations of success for the beauty professional. It
could, in fact be argued that the consultation as the most important part of any beauty service!
For the beauty professional, the consultation process allows them to build their value in the eyes of the client. It is the time when trust is established. The consultation is
about control, creativity and confidence. This course is designed to help you develop and deliver a consultation that will address all areas necessary for artistic and
“This is the first day of the rest of my professional life” Laura thought to herself as she took a seat. This was Laura’s third day of working at her new salon and
she was just beginning to get comfortable. Her cup of coffee shared desk space with her employee handbook, pens, paper and a copy of our consultation
course, which is what we would be discussing today.
“Good morning, Laura” I said as I entered the suite of rooms within the salon I had converted into classroom space. “Are you ready to officially begin your
journey to success?” I asked.
“I am ready” Laura replied. “I was wondering when I would be seeing you again”
Once hired, I like to give new staff members a few days to get to familiarize themselves with the salon, the staff and to get used to their new surroundings
before their training officially started. This allowed Laura time to see that the entire staff followed the same system she was about to learn. It was a system I
had perfected over the course of nearly 25 years. A system that practically guaranteed massive success for any hair stylist (or beauty professional as I
preferred to call them) who chose to invest the time and effort into making it happen. During the first three days I made myself scarce so that Laura wouldn’t
feel like she was under a microscope.
“Well Laura, I try not to overwhelm people with too much too soon, especially during their first week. Today, I would like to share with you how we go about our
consultation process with our first time clients.”
“Okay,” said Laura. “I’m all ears!”
“But before we dive right into consultations Laura, I have a question. Today we have 15 new clients on the book. 15 clients that have never been to this salon.
15 clients that have had hundreds of haircuts from other beauty professionals at other salons. WHY are they here today? Why did they choose to change
salons or hair stylists? What are clients looking for when they go to a new stylist or salon? These are the biggest questions in our business that are also the
hardest to answer! What do clients want? What are they looking for? What will keep them coming back time after time?” I finished. My mouth was smiling but
my eyes were laser focused on Lauras.
Laura cocked her head to the right as she pursed her lips and furrowed her brow. “They want a good service” she said. “They want to walk out feeling and
looking good! They want their stylist to listen to them!”
“Hmmm” I said. “I think all of those things you just shared are true, but maybe not the whole truth. Want to know what I think?”
What Do Clients Want?
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what a client expects from you? Have you ever stopped to think what makes a client go to a new salon? What are they looking for?
Why did they leave their last salon or stylist?
What in the world do clients really want?
Remember the first time you tried a new place to get your nails done? Or receive a massage? Or go to get your brows shaped?
How about the first time you took your vehicle to a new mechanic?
Why were you there for the first time?
Every client is searching for the same thing when trying a new place. I don’t care if they are there for a pedicure or manicure or massage or an oil change.
They are looking for competence. They are looking to trust someone. They are looking for an expert.
But what do most of those clients that walk into a salon for the first time want more than anything else?
They want to be able to put the responsibility for their beauty needs into the hands of a trusted professional.
They want to abdicate, or give away the power and responsibility for how they look and put that power into the hands of someone who is an expert in their field! Someone
they can trust!
They want to be inspired! They want to feel safe! They want to look good!
They want you to be the boss of their beauty! To lead them! To take charge of how they look because you know better than they do! You are the professional. You are
When you are able to understand the motivations, or reasons why people decide to move from stylist to stylist or salon to salon it allows you to build a consultation that can
satisfy what your client wants most in this world! To feel safe and trusting enough to turn over complete responsibility and control of how they look to the beauty
“So my consultation is supposed to make my client comfortable enough to let me do whatever I want to their hair?” Laura asked.
“”That's part of it” I responded. “The bigger part is that your consultation will make your client feel safe. It will allow your client to feel safe trusting you. It will
allow you to use your expertise to influence what the client gets, rather than depending on the client to tell you how to do your job.”
“How in the world do I get my client to give me that kind of control?” Laura wondered out loud. “How do I know what to give them to make them happy unless
they tell me?”
“Easy, Laura” I replied. “You’re going to take charge right off the bat”
Who’s The Boss?
Remember when you were “taught” how to do a consultation? If your experience was similar to mine, your beauty school teacher taught you that the “correct way” to
consult with a client was to ask a lot of “open-ended questions” and to ask your clients “what they want” to do with their hair. You were taught to do exactly as your client
wants and to follow their directions without question. There was no real rhyme or reason to the questions you might ask and no firm direction that the consultation would
So you decided to do that.
You would ask question after question after question. You would ask about anything and everything hoping that at least one of those questions would connect with your
clients needs and lead to giving you enough information to start forming an idea of what to do. You would ask the client what they wanted. And after anywhere from 15 to
30 minutes you (hopefully, maybe) had a clear idea of what you were supposed to do.
At the end of the appointment, maybe you were successful. Maybe you weren’t. And if you were not successful then the excuses would begin. “She didn’t know what she
wanted.” or “She wanted something her hair couldn’t “do”. Maybe your client’s expectations weren’t realistic but you decided to try to make them happy by proceeding with
the service anyway.
Does any of this sound familiar?
The reason we fail in anything is because the process we are using doesn’t work. It does not give us the result we desire! The consultation you learned was flawed to
begin with! And if something doesn’t or isn’t working what do we do?
Ask yourself some honest questions. Are you experiencing failure more often than success with how your services are turning out? Are you struggling, or too shy or lack
confidence to communicate with your client or have your ideas taken seriously? Do you spend your time during an appointment fearing how your service is going to turn
out? Do your first time clients not return for a second visit? Does the thought of talking to a new client before you even meet them make you feel tired and unmotivated?
Guess what. Your consultation is to blame. Rather, the way you are approaching your consultation is to blame.
It’s time to elevate the way we approach the business of beauty with our clients!
The right way, the best way, the only way for a consultation to make any sense is for there to be a leader and a follower. When it comes to the relationship between a
beauty professional and a client, which is which? Who plays which role?
The better question, actually, is who is more qualified to lead a consultation regarding your clients beauty needs? Who knows best? Who is going to take responsibility?
If you went to a heart doctor, would you expect to tell him how to do his job? Of course not! After all he’s the doctor! He’s the expert.
So why in the world would we set ourselves up for failure by allowing our clients to tell us how to do our jobs? Does your client know everything you’re capable of? Do they
know what their hair is capable of? Does your client spend as much time training and practicing the art of beauty as you do?
THE GOLDEN RULE OF CONSULTATIONS: I CONTROL THE CONSULTATION. I control what is discussed and when it’s discussed. I will not deviate from my
“So as you can see Laura, taking charge does not mean that you don’t listen to your client. It means that you set yourself up as the expert. As the person the
client can feel safe and comfortable putting their faith in. People love leaders. The consultation is where you show that leadership!”
“I control the consultation” Laura said to herself as she was writing the Golden Rule of Consultations down in her notes.
She looked up to me with a brief smile. I think Laura liked the idea of taking charge of her clients and by extension, her destiny.
“Ok, so I’m the boss, the leader, I’m going to pretty much just tell my clients what I think they should have because I know best, right?” Laura asked. “I can
totally get on board with that because I love to create! Should I be worried that my client will think I’m being bossy?”
“There is a difference between being a leader and a dictator Laura” I chuckled. “I’m glad your sails are full, but before we let the boat leave the dock, let's
make sure she’s fully stocked and ready for the voyage.”
“Let's start with the obvious question Laura” I continued. “What is a consultation? Why do we consult with our clients? What is the purpose in doing so?”
“A consultation is when I get the client to trust me and to make them feel safe with me” Laura replied. “It’s about taking charge, right?”
“That’s what the ideal result of a consultation is, all right. But Laura, what is the purpose of the consultation?” I replied.
“I thought that was the purpose!” Laura replied, surprised.
“Close, but no cigar” I responded with a grin.
What Is The Purpose Of A Consultation?
The purpose of any consultation is to allow the beauty professional to discover what is important to their client while at the same time allowing that client to feel safe
enough to place the responsibility for the way they look into the beauty professionals hands.
It’s about give and take!
The consultation allows the beauty professional to influence the future behaviors and habits of the client.
The consultation is the time for the beauty professional to put their expertise on display in order to set themselves above and apart from any other stylist that client has
ever been to!
Consultations are about discovering, educating, impressing and inspiring. They are about problems, possibilities and solutions!
The right consultation will allow you to take control from the moment you meet your client all the way through the completion of the service. And our job today is to help
you build a consultation that never changes! A consultation you can use on anyone that sits in your chair regardless of age or gender!
Imagine that! A consistent consultation that works with everyone!
“That makes sense” Laura said. “This past week I’ve overheard the other stylists here doing consultations out on the floor and they sound similar. So if I
understand correctly, my consultation will pretty much be the same regardless of who sits in my chair?”
“That's exactly right Laura” I replied.
One Size Fits All?
The beauty of a “one size fits all” approach to consultations is that the beauty professional only has to learn and practice one consultation that has been designed and
built so that it could be used on any man, woman or child, regardless of age.
Standardizing your consultation allows you to follow a process that includes all of the parts that are needed to ensure a successful outcome to the service. A standardized
consultation will put your client immediately at ease because they will sense that you are confident in the information you are sharing (and they will be correct because you
have shared it before - many times!!). You will be confident because every important measurable part (or metric) of what it takes to be successful financially (rebooking,
powerbooking, retail sales) as a beauty professional will be included and utilized in your consultation!
And as you practice the same consultation over and over, you will get better and better at delivering it. Eventually, with enough practice you will not be focused on what
you are saying, but on how you are saying it!
Let’s Build A Great Consultation!
We are going to build an amazing consultation from the ground up using a formula that has been proven to work in salon settings over the course of 20+ years.
Any part of this consultation can be changed to meet your particular desires. After all, we want you to make it your own and have fun with it! You could also use this
consultation we teach “as is” and be extremely successful. All it takes is practice!
Remember, every single step of this process will be repeated with every single client on every clients first visit. Every consultation will be delivered in the exact same way
every time regardless of who is sitting in your chair.
At the end of this course we have included a complete script of the consultation we will be using as the example in this course. You can refer to that script to better
understand how the consultation works as a whole and as a guide if you need help designing your own, custom consultation.
“So, basically I’m going to learn the consultation you teach me first and I’m going to practice it over and over.’ Laura asked. “When will I be able to build my
“That depends on what part of the original consultation you learn is working well for you and what isn’t” I replied. “We have to start with mastering a single
process first. Then, over time we replace or refine the parts that don’t work as well as we would like with new ideas. We then test those new ideas over time to
see if they work better or provide us the results we are looking for.”
“WOW” Laura's eyes got big. “It sounds like the process of refining the consultation never really ends!”
“It doesn’t, Laura!” I said. “A professional in any business never stops attempting to find better and more efficient ways of doing things. Because the better
and more efficient things are the easier they are! And sometimes it takes a bit of effort and work to make things easy!”
“The good news” I continued “Is that you see immediate results from working on your consultation. And that consultation belongs to you. No one can ever take
it away! Regardless of where you work or who you work for that consultation will be your best friend! For example, if you decide to move across the country to
a brand new city where you don’t know anyone and need to build a clientele quickly it will be your consultation that plays the biggest part to how fast your
success takes root!
“I’m ready” Laura smiled. “Let’s do this”
HairdresserU.com & eBeautyschools.com