"Even stylists who are strong technically always seek new clients and want to retain those clients," observes veteran salon professional Ted Halone, who has launched a series of hairdresser-targeted business education CDs he calls Coach In Your Car (yoursaloncoach.com). The first in the series, "New Clients: How to Get 'Em, Keep 'Em and Have Them Spread the Word About You," helps stylists build future clients from their current client base.
"So many stylists have not learned how to self-promote," Halone laments. "New people just starting out in particular have that question: How do I promote myself?" Halone offers three wide self-promotion avenues that lead to the land of constant referrals, consistent upselling and successful product recommendation.
1. open communication
By communicating in a very open way, you're really displaying your own confidence. "That's what will convince the client," says Halone. "A doctor doesn't ask the patient, â€˜Which antibiotic should I prescribe for you?' But a doctor may do some research right in front of you before recommending a course of treatment and will still have your respect. So you don't have to know everything or â€˜fake it 'til you make it.' Just talk openly to the client until you get the communication going."
Don't ask: "What size perm rod would you like to use?"
Do ask: "What type of curl would you like to see as an end result?"
Show the client photos so that you know you're talking about the same type of curl. Then you decide what size rod to use. "After a full discussion like that, your recommendation will be much stronger," says Halone.
The big three of business exposure are printed ads, web marketing and word of mouth, according to Halone. "Unless you get exposure, you won't have clients," he stresses. It's up to the salon owner to run ads and maintain a website, but as a staffer you should be familiar with what the ads are promising and how the website promotes your skills.
The third piece, word of mouth, is up to you to generate. "Be able to present yourself in a one-minute description," says Halone. "I'm Vicki. I'm a professional hairstylist with a specialty in cutting." Mention something about your training, and then hand out your business card, which you should carry with you at all times. "You can't be sitting on your laurels waiting for the salon owner to send clients your way," he notes. "You must take responsibility for your own career; that's what will keep you in the industry."