Most of my life I've been pretty introverted. My default is still set to being quite reserved; I’m more of a people watcher than a social butterfly. But I knew that if I wanted to make an impact in my career I needed to learn the soft skills just as much as the technical stuff. Holding a conversation with any substance did not come naturally to me, so I set out to learn. I spent a great deal of my earlier education next to the loudest, most social of my classmates to try and pick up on the answer to life's greatest mystery...What should I be talking about?
Small talk is fun and is a great way to blow off a little steam. Believe me, I certainly have my fair share of talk about the weather, what I'm watching on tv, and what my plans for the weekend are, but more often than not, I'm steering the direction of my conversation towards building a great professional and personal relationship, and building my business in the process. Being a hairdresser is fun and light hearted most the time. But if you really want to create a solid career for yourself, think about having here conversations.
1. Take notes- One habit I am fortunate to have established early on is record keeping. Most hairdressers won't hesitate to keep tabs on color formulations and any changes to them. I document everything from birthdays, family events, vacations- you name it. I've got a terrible short term memory and this helps me to stay in the know on what's happening in the lives of my clients and they like that I make an effort to know more about them. People love to talk about themselves and their interests and I've found that the more people are willing to share the greater their trust in you. This business is built on trust and relationship as people won't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
2. Know a little about a lot - One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was “be the type of person you would pay a premium to spend time with.” It helped put into perspective how important it is to make a connection with people beyond hair. You have to consider that the time spent at the salon may be a client’s only time to be themselves, so talk about things that spark interest. I keep up on news, listen to tons of podcasts, and research anything my clients share with me that I might not know very much about. It allows me to connect with most people on just about anything. Become a professional student as there will always be something to learn.
3. Grow your business- A great place to focus attention would be the conversations that build business. How often do you get your haircut? What does an average day of styling your hair look like? Are you usually free at this time on this day? These may sound like pretty simple questions but each one is chosen specifically to get a read on the commitment level of the client. If I can't think of anything interesting to talk about then I'm going to build the conversation around training my clients to be great clients. The more my clients know about my abilities, the services I provide, my availability, and so on, the easier it is for me to make recommendations in their best interest. It's a win-win!
4. Talk about hair- If all else fails, educate on what you're doing and why. I teach mini, one-on-one classes to clients on how to work with their hair. I'm always amazed by how little people know about their hair, something that we often take for granted. Taking the time to teach people how to work with their hair positions you as an irreplaceable part of their lives. Teach them how they can reduce the time of their blow-dry, how they can wear their hair in simple upstyles, how to style bangs, how to keep their hair in great condition- you could go on forever.
People see their hairdresser because they need a haircut or a color, but our impact should not be limited to just that. Is it possible to build a career off of technical ability alone? Sure, but why put all your eggs in one basket? Can a hairdresser sustain a clientele on harmless, lighthearted small talk? Absolutely! But why not diversify? I love what I get to create with hair but my favorite part of the job is the people. And if I can build meaningful relationships and build my business in the process, I see it as a no-brainer. What are some conversation tips you would like to share? Drop them in the comments below!
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Proud hairdresser. Passionate educator. Follow me on insta - Christianawesome