Course 2: Success Fundamentals
Her name was Laura and I could tell she was nervous. She had a slight smile on her face but her hands were balled up and she looked very small sitting on the oversized
leather couch. A slightly wrinkled sheet of paper rested on her lap, “probably her resume” I thought to myself. I guess job interviews have a way of making even the most
experienced and successful person get stressed out. The thing is, Laura hadn’t been in the beauty business long enough to be either experienced or successful. I guess
that's why she was here in my waiting room getting ready to speak with me.
“My salon doesn’t look for the best people as much as we look for the right people” I had informed Laura over the phone earlier this week. She heard about our salon through
a friend of a friend. She was curious. She was young. She was talented. But was she right for us?
I greeted Laura with a handshake and a smile. As she followed me into my office and moved to the chair opposite my desk I noticed the sheet of paper slip out of her grasp.
Hurriedly, she swiped it off of the floor and took her seat, her face reddening ever so slightly.
“So Laura, it’s really great to meet you” I began. “Perhaps you can start by telling me why you’re looking to change salons”?
Laura looked at me and looked down ever so briefly. Then she began to speak. Softly.
“I have been at my current salon for three years and I’m just not getting enough walk-in’s. I work around 50 hours each week and I have a small clientele but I’m not making
enough money. The owner doesn’t advertise so it doesn’t feel like the salon is growing. I work on commission and at the end of the week I can hardly pay my bills. I’m looking
for a salon that's busy and has plenty of walk in clients so I can earn more.”
I heard Laura’s words. They were the identical words that cross the lips of virtually every young stylist, or beauty professional as I like to call them, at one time or another their
first 5 years in this business. In fact, most if not all beauty professionals equate “being busy” with making money. Then, they equate the amount of money they make with
success. I settled in to ask the important questions and to share the same information with Laura that I did with every person that interviewed with me. How Laura answered
those questions and how she listened to what followed would tell me whether she was the right type of person for us.
“I hear you Laura. And believe it or not I’m here to help, whether you ever work one day for me at this salon or not. Let me ask you a really obvious question: Do you want to
be successful in the beauty business?”
Laura answered immediately by nodding before she even spoke.
“I really do”, she answered. “I’ve been doing hair since I was little. I love it! I can’t imagine doing anything else. I watch videos online all the time. I really want to make this my
“Excellent Laura”, I replied. “I love your passion and enthusiasm. So in order for you to be successful in this business, I need to know one thing…...”
I left the statement hang in the air.
Laura's eyes got slightly larger as she waited for me to finish. When she saw I was waiting for a response she cleared her throat and said “what do you want to know”?
“Laura” I began, “every single client that makes an appointment with you picks up a phone. They get into a car or a cab or a bus, or sometimes they might even walk to their
appointment. They pass 1, 2, 5 or 10 other hair salons on their way to come and see you to get their beauty needs taken care of. My question is WHY? Why do they pass
those other salons to come and see you? What makes you special? What makes you different? What is your value proposition?
The Value Proposition
In business, a value proposition is the thing that sets you, head and shoulders, above and apart from everyone else in the same business. It’s what makes you different. It’s
the reason people choose YOU over SOMEONE ELSE. Your value proposition compels people to come in the first time and keeps them coming back each time after.
For instance, do you prefer shopping at the store with the lowest price or the store with the prettiest displays?
There is no wrong answer!
Most successful businesses understand that people have different priorities and definitions of value. Some people value the feeling they get from saving money at a store with
low prices! Some people like the feeling they get when walking through a pretty store and are willing to pay more because of that feeling!
The key word here is feeling! Understand that everything in life, EVERYTHING, is driven by the feeling you get from that thing!
And the feeling someone gets from any business lingers long after they have walked out of the door.
Feeling is why some people prefer fast sports cars and others like rugged pickup trucks.
It’s the same reason some people prefer the feeling of eating fast food (they know what to expect in quantity and quality) while others live for the feeling of mystery and novelty
of a gourmet restaurant.
It’s why some people feel a haircut is only worth $10 and others are willing to spend much, much more.
The right value proposition correctly delivered will allow you to build the clientele you want at the prices you want to charge. It will determine the type of people that become
your clients. It will determine how hard you work and what you can afford in life.
What's the easiest way to choose a value proposition? Simple! Pick the services you’re passionate about and specialize in them! Focus on them! Become an EXPERT on
Your career in the beauty industry is a journey! Begin your journey by setting yourself up for success by making a list of three to five specific services you love doing. Don’t
worry about becoming an expert in everything all at once! Start with the service you love the most and focus on that!
Your journey towards expertise begins by learning how to walk along a single road.
If your passion is cutting short hair then become a short hair EXPERT and let people know it!
Do you prefer highlighting long hair? Become an EXPERT in that and let people know it!
Do you love blowing out hair? Become an EXPERT in that and let people know it!
How does one become an expert you ask? Practice. And lots of it.
Let's say that your value proposition is to become an expert when it comes to blowing out hair. Let's break down this service into a 3 step process:
Step One: Seek out someone excellent to copy the physical act of providing the service
Your first step to expertise is focusing on delivering a technically good service. This means observing other technically excellent stylists & observing their technique. Then
you'll copy what they do, step by step. You will mimic them. You become technically excellent through practicing the same thing over and over and over in the exact way that
you have observed. Repetition is the key. Building consistency and speed is the goal.
As you observe, think to yourself, how do they prepare the hair for the service? How do they section the hair? What tools do they use? Do they approach the blow out in the
same way each time? Study them and write down each step in their process. The goal here is to create a step by step guide for you to refer to when you practice! A guide that
you can follow in the exact same way each time you perform a blow out service.
Step Two: The science behind the service
Your second (and most critical step) towards building expertise is to collect all available information on your topic from a theoretical standpoint. The science behind the
service. Your goal is to be able to speak intelligently to your client about the chemistry behind the service they are receiving and how it relates to the technical success of the
service. THAT is what is going to set you apart from the crowd!
Research the ingredients that make up shampoo and how they work, the ingredients that are in conditioners and the effect that conditioner has on the hair, ingredients in
styling products and what makes one product behave differently from another. Reach out to manufacturers or research ingredients online to discover their effects. Finally,
understand which styling methods out of all possibilities are appropriate for any desired result.
Step Three: Becoming an expert through educating your clients.
Once you understand the science behind the blowout & the technical differences with styling, then your job is to educate every client about the service they are receiving!
In the case of blowing out the hair, you’ll first focus on educating your client about proper shampoo habits at home. You’ll explain how shampoo works, how often it should be
used and the type of shampoo the client needs for their specific hair type. You can easily look like an expert by speaking of the effects that build up from styling products and
hard/mineralized water have on their hair (and how often that build up should be removed).
Next, you’ll explain what conditioner does, why it’s important, how it’s to be used and the benefits they will receive from specific active ingredients in the product. You’ll educate
your client on how often and how long they should condition their hair at home.
Then, you’ll introduce your client to the styling products you’re going to use and why you’re using those specific products. You can also address what each product does and
how it is being used.
Finally, you will explain the tools you are using to deliver their finished style (and tips on recreating that style at home).
And you’re going to share this exact same information (in the exact same way) with every single client that sits in your chair and gets their hair blown out. Every. Single. Time.
Your client is going to feel that you know what you’re doing before you every begin styling their hair! Then once you begin styling, they will feel at ease because you have
practiced this service so many times you can do it in your sleep! And it shows!
AS you can see, you're giving your client so much more than a service, you’re giving them an experience while at the same time setting yourself up as an expert in their eyes!
They would have to be a fool to want to go to anyone else!
In fact, as you educate your clients you will find that over time your delivery gets smoother and your confidence grows. Confidence is key!
As you gain experience, your value proposition can be expanded to include an entire range of beauty services. Whatever you choose to become an expert in, make sure you
can educate your client about that topic so you are an expert in their eyes! The bottom line, start by becoming an expert on one thing, learn it completely and expand your
expertise as you (and your business) grow!
Keep one thing in mind. Your value proposition has to be compelling. There has to be a need for it. Or, you have to be able to create the need for it! Most of all your value
proposition has to make you feel good about yourself. Only then will your value proposition make your clients feel good about you!
I could see the wheels spinning in Laura’s mind. I saw understanding beginning to dawn in her eyes. I asked her an obvious question. She was searching within herself for the
She began to speak.
“If I’m being honest, I don’t know what would set me apart. I mean, my clients like me because I’m nice, I guess. I can understand where you're coming from though. It makes
a lot of sense to focus on getting good on one thing. But the way you talk about doing it makes it seem like a lot of work!”
“It IS a lot of work, Laura” I said. “Anything that is going to make you successful will be! But think about it, does learning ever really end? Would you want to go to a doctor if
he hadn’t learned anything new since he graduated medical school? Let’s face it Laura, if success were easy to achieve then everyone would be successful. Do you want to
know an honest truth about business which is especially true about the beauty business?”
Laura looked me squarely in the eye. I could see she was a fighter. I could see she was hungry for success. Most importantly I could see that she was open to learning.
“Tell me” she said.
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