Several times a month I get emails asking how to find the confidence to build a clientele. I have a love/hate relationship with this question because it isn't a simple answer, yet I love that new stylists realize that this is a crucial part of becoming successful. For some of us confidence is a very natural quality, but for many it is a skill that has to be learned and mastered.
I coach on gaining confidence on a daily basis and I've really found few great secrets that help new stylists to feel much more secure and ready to build. Once you've mastered the confidence and have a clientele building game plan, the path to success as a stylist is clear and you can press on full speed ahead.
Educate yourself-A solid educational foundation is the single most important step in becoming a confident stylist. Once you have the skills you need to achieve any desired look with ease, your confidence will happen naturally. I highly recommend programs like the Toni & Guy or Vidal Sassoon educational experiences. There are often free or low cost educational programs through your local beauty supply store and at annual hair shows. For more information about the advanced educational program I offer click here.
Play to your strengths-I had to do this a lot as a new hairstylist. As some of you know, my dirty little secret is that I am not good at cutting hair, like not good at all. I knew that wasn't one of my strengths and I didn't worry about it. I focussed on delivering excellent hair color and blowdries and decent haircuts. I also knew that I was a great conversationalist and was fun to be around so I focused on connecting with my clients and building a bond through my personality instead of my skills.
Have great questions ready-There is nothing worse than being ten minutes into a visit with a brand new client and you run out of things to talk about. This doesn't ever have to happen to you again. Sit down right now and list 15 good questions that you can ask to open up conversations. My opening question with every client is "so, am I your first stop of the day or have you been out and about already?" 80% of the time just this question alone will actually spark conversation as my client starts to discuss her plans for the day. Some other great conversation starters are "do you have any plans for the Summer/holidays" and if somebody mentions they have kids it's like a gold mine! Clients love talking about their families so ask about ages, hobbies, interests, the list goes on and on from there.
Develop scripts for your consultation and close of visit-Most new stylists find the nerves kick in when they are first trying to connect and make a plan and then again when they try and close a retail sale or ask the client to pay. Do the same exercise as above. Sit down and write out all the questions you want to be sure to ask in your consultation and all the things you want to say at the end of the visit. Practice these scripts over and over and when that client sits in your chair those words that you wrote down will start rolling right off the tip of our tongue.
If you are still working to find your confidence as a stylist. Try these tips and you'll be amazed how much easier it becomes to hand out your card to new clients knowing that they'll be sitting in the chair of a prepared and confident stylist!