Lyndsey Ford, IdHAIR’s Head of Education for the UK, tells us about the importance of structure and depth in consultations.
When delivering a course on the importance of the consultation process, the impact of social media is one of the main things that is always discussed and how to utilise your consultation time to manage client expectations that they may take from social media.
Of course a traditional consultation is still very important and this is documented everywhere, but this is a new age of hairdressing, where everything is accessible to everyone. Clients walk through the door and ask for balayage or foilayage or the latest new trend they have seen on YouTube. As stylists, we need to be aware of the trends beforehand, as well as the social media platforms.
Clients can sometimes expect to be able to go from black to silver white in one go. Why not – the Kardashians can! Taking the time to manage those expectations is really important. Always under-promise and over-deliver. Social media is great for building our business and it certainly has a positive place in the industry. I love how it makes education accessible for everyone, but it has its pitfalls too. Most clients come into salon with pictures on their phone of how they’d like their hair to look. This really helps as it gives a true visual of what they would like, but what we as stylists think of as the new mushroom brown shade isn’t always what client’s see it as.
In my salon and when I’m on the road I always have my iPad with me, any tablet would do, just so the images are bigger and it’s easier to see the detail. Pinterest is a great source to look at images and to share with your client and make sure you are both on the same page for their colour, cut and style.
With colour especially I take the swatches out of our chart and can place them on the image for the perfect match, then place them against the clients forehead to make sure the tone will work with her colouring. This works really well, and the client is included and feels part of the process. I don’t ever give the client the full chart to browse through, as it’s information overload and it’s all so pretty, it makes it harder for them and you.
When the client is in your chair, you are the professional and should always take the lead in what is best for their hair. I find with young stylists especially, they are afraid to say what they really think and can feel pressured by the client to deliver the next new look. In techniques classes we talk about this all the time. A client could walk in and ask for a full head of baby lights with a face frame. All that really is, is a very fine highlight, with heavier slices at the front. I try to encourage the stylists I work with not to get too hung up on the fancy name of things and to bring it back to basics and the traditional techniques we all know. Sometimes just the amount of names for the same thing can be daunting.
Lastly, during the consultation process it’s important to always sit with the client – don’t stand over them. If you are on their level they are more comfy and relaxed and you are more likely to get the information from them that you need to deliver beautiful hair.