A question I get often when teaching is how to do more creatively fulfilling work. Spend just a few seconds on my Instagram and you might be under the impression that every single client in my chair gets micro bangs and short bobs. But that couldn't be further from the truth. If you're like me I work with people from all walks of life and levels of bravery in their personal style. Let me share how I've built a killer clientele and lots of creative freedom.
The first stage of a great stylist/client relationship is to build rapport. When I meet a new client for the first time the main goal is to listen to the challenges, short term and long term goals, and solve as many of the problems within the first visit as possible. Building trust is important when working with someone for the first time. Our ability to listen and deliver results are important if we want to retain new clients. It's difficult to ask for a referral, a future reservation or to make a product recommendation if the client leaves feeling like their needs were not met. Get to know your new guest by making small talk, educating, and solving problems. Aim to get people to relax, open up and see you again in the future.
The second stage of a great relationship is one where the client asks for more advice and guidance. I aim to reach this place by the second visit but understand that some people need more time, so in some cases, I will still follow the guidelines I've set for myself when building rapport. Now sometimes a client will skip the first stage altogether and open with this level of trust. I find this to be the case with referrals and people who have spotted my work on Instagram or a review site like Yelp. This is where I may start to make recommendations and open up the possibility of multiple services. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. So if you haven't established a solid trust yet, tread lightly. It's in bad taste to treat people like numbers and eventually they'll catch on. Aim to get people to try new services, prebook future visits and maintain their look by taking home product.
The place most of us creatives want to live in is stage 3, one where we've earned the privilege of having creative freedom. You make get lucky, but in most cases, it takes a lot of time living in the second stage to get here. But you're not out of the clear yet. The new challenge is keeping a steady flow of new ideas to keep the relationship fresh and exciting while maintaining continuity in chair-side manner and business practices. This can be made easier with a healthy diet of education and inspiration. Make it a point to take one or more premium classes a year or go to as many trade shows as possible. Trade magazines and social media platforms do a great job of putting you in touch with awesome work. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to improve. Not only will it show in your work, but I've found that my clients really love hearing about all the new stuff I learn.
When building a dream clientele start with your base. These are the people who are already sold on you. A few things to consider in closing:
Photo: Shutterstock | kievstock
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Proud hairdresser. Passionate educator. Follow me on insta - Christianawesome
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