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Today we are going to talk about one of the biggest challenges for stylists. That’s right you guessed it, saying that dirty little word NO. Why is it that we can’t say no? Often, I hear of stylists who are literally being bullied by their clients into doing things that they don’t want to do. Then as stylists we wonder why we are feeling resentful, overworked, underpaid, and why we are working our butts off and not taking home any money. This often comes from the fact that we don’t have enough courage or the skills to just say no. There is so much power when you stop being a yes person and just learn to use the incredible power of NO to create a beautiful life for yourself. I know some of you listening to this are thinking that you are confident and have no trouble saying no. Even a confident person gets into situations where they feel awkward saying no, or they worry about what’s going to happen if they say no. It happens to all of us, and I want to give you a really strong skill set so you don’t worry the next time you’re in a position where you could totally say yes, but you want to say no. By creating some super simple guidelines, you can apply in your business today saying no is going to be super easy, pain free, and make your job a whole lot more enjoyable.

There are three major areas where stylists need to learn to say no, and we are going to tackle all three. The biggest ones I see are, saying no to discounts, saying no to schedule changes, and saying no within a consultation. You will be surprised to find out that saying no in a consultation is going to create more money in your pocket, less redo’s, and more referrals.

I want to talk about why we always hesitate to say no. It comes down to one core issue. Take a second and think about why you as a person say yes, when in the back of your mind you’re thinking I don’t want to do this, I shouldn’t do this I should just say no. Why is it that y-e-s comes out of your mouth instead? Generally speaking it’s because we are afraid the other person will be mad at us, and we’re scared of what their reaction is going to be. If you haven't done so yet I want you to go back and listen to module eight. It’s all about how to build your confidence because once you have that piece in place you won’t be worried about somebody else’s reaction at all. You have to become really in tune with yourself and who you are, and what makes you happy because even that alone makes it much easier to say no and be true to yourself. At the end of the day if that makes somebody upset, that’s a bummer, but all you can do is do good things for yourself.

So, confession. I am saying that I am good about it now, but at my core I really am a people pleaser. I have always been the fixer and the one who resolves problems. For years I struggled with the pressure of carrying the world on my shoulders, and the fear that if I didn’t do it somebody would be mad at me. This mindset made me a yes person, but it also made me resentful. It is not a great place to be. I made the decision to really change, to get in tune with myself and this past year I really became great at saying no when I knew that I was being asked to commit to something that wasn’t in line with my goals or that didn’t make me happy or that would have pulled me away from somewhere I really needed to be. I started saying no and no one was mad at me. Once you start saying no you will wonder why you weren’t doing this before. Today I am going to give you the skills so that you can feel confident about saying no in every situation you walk into. There are four key pieces we need to keep in mind each time we need to say no.

  • You are going to set a guideline.

  • You are going to communicate that guideline.

  • You are going to stick to your guns.

  • You are going to remember above all else that your happiness needs to come first.

 So, knowing that those are the four key pieces we’re going to dive into the three situations that most stylists end up in when they really should be saying no, but they end up saying yes.

Situation Number One: Saying no to discounts.

So many of us are guilty of discounting people that we really shouldn’t. We have all done it. It could be friends and family, it could be acquaintances, or people your friends and family send your way, if you end up giving discounts left and right everyone will begin to perceive you this way. This is a reality you could end up creating for yourself simply because you are unable to say no. This is a skill set that I want you to adapt so that you are no longer in that position where you’re giving free haircuts to extended family, friends, co-workers from your second job, acquaintances, people from high school who found you on Facebook and messaged you saying they need your help because they don’t have a lot of money.

The answer to all of that is no. If you don’t want to say no to that and if you like doing your friends and relatives hair for free then we need to have a reality check that you are a hobby hair stylist. You aren’t in this to make it a career and you’re in it to make people feel good which is totally fine. You have to think if you were trying to make a living doing hair right now the way you are running your business putting food on the table would be hard with giving everyone discounts. Until you stop being that person that is hooking everybody up you will be flat broke, and it’s really important for you to come to terms with that.

There’re a few discounts that stylists do that they don’t even realize is discounting. When you bundle services meaning a haircut is $50 and root touch up is $70, but when you get a haircut and root touch up combined it’s only $100. Why does somebody get a $20 discount just because they got two services? The time it would take you to both is the same, so you need to charge full price. When we think a client has been a client for years so she doesn’t get a price increase-you can’t do that. You are a professional and you need to be charging your worth.

Set the guideline.

The first place we are going to have to go if we are going to start charging our worth is we need to set the guideline. You have to have proper and set price points-this falls on you. Pricing is based on experience, it is based on market, based on your target market, setting your prices is not something you can get an answer to in a forum. It is important that your pricing is appropriate based on who you are as a stylist and that your set pricing isn’t something that flexes situationally. Services need to have specific amounts, and your pricing doesn’t flex depending on the person that it is, that is not running a proper business.

The second part of setting your guideline is deciding who if anybody should get a discount. For some of you your thoughts go to your mom, your siblings, their boyfriends, if you think about it this way your list could go on and on and on. At some point you have to say enough. You have to set the tone that you are a professional and not just the hookup hairstylist. You are a professional and your time is super valuable and that is why you need to charge for it. Anyone you decide gets free services, stick to it and do not go beyond that. In the salon I worked at we had a policy in place that two people out of your whole clientele could get free services and if a stylist did any more then that they would get a write up. This process wasn’t to be mean but because I wanted people to be running their business as professionals and not as the hookup hairstylists.

Communicate your guideline.

You should be communicating your guideline through published pricing. Your pricing should be published on your website. You should have some sort of printed piece that shares you pricing, it can be in the appointment confirmation. It should be very clear at several touch-points what the pricing is. It is your job to communicate this. If a client comes in and says they didn’t realize it was going to be so expensive, that is your fault not theirs. At some point you didn’t communicate the price to them. Your pricing should always be clear and always be published.

Stick to your guns.

Number three is always going to be stick to your guns. When you quote a price and someone replies with “oh my gosh it’s that much” your reply should never be to discount the price, but instead “that is what I charge for the services that you’ve selected, if you want we can take a look at the service package I’ve created for you and perhaps we can do a mini highlight instead of a full.” This allows the client to have a choice of how much they want to pay versus you discounting your prices. There are always options other than discounting your services. You set the guideline, you stick to your guns, and your price is your price. You also have to stick to your guns when you increase the price for one person, this means you increase the price for your entire clientele. You can’t charge different people different prices. Its unprofessional, people catch on, it hurts your referral business, and you end up building a discount clientele for yourself.  I know balancing prices is hard. I know it's hard to get out the discounts cycle. We have a whole module dedicated to it in our Thrivers Society program, but it's really important that you make this happen.

Remember your happiness needs to come first.

If you are going to make a go of this as a hairstylist and really make a career where you make great money, live a wealthy life, work the hours you want, and have a beautiful balance, you have to say no to discounts. You have to find the power in yourself to say no. Find the verbiage to make it happen and follow these four steps, set the guideline, communicate it, stick to your guns and remember your happiness and well-being has to come first.

Situation Number Two: Saying no to schedule changes.

The second situation we get is saying no to schedule changes. Many of you know how it is when you close at 5:00 PM on a Saturday and a client begs you to squeeze them in. You end up saying yes, you end up stuck in the salon from 9:00 AM-8:00 PM on a Saturday night, and maybe you’ve missed out on a night out with friends and family. You do all this for maybe a $20 tip. Some of you are happy to do that while others you don’t want to do that to miss out on your own time, it is not worth it to you. For those of you who think you can handle this for a short while, it will end up burning you out. It is really important that you stick to your schedule. Another thing about saying no to schedule changes is what you do when a client cancels at the last minute. This is not okay. You don’t force them to come in, but you put that person in a position where she either comes in or there’s a price to pay.

Set the guideline.

You are going to have a set schedule, that you stick to. For some of us the hardest part is creating the set schedule and sticking to your guns and saying no when a client asks you to do them a favor and come in early or stay late. I know many of you think that by not accommodating these requests that you will miss out on money. Once I started coaching stylists to say no we have found they are actually not missing out on any money. They are still seeing the same number of clients and they save their sanity. Their clients are less stressed out because they’re not booked so packed together, and the stylists aren’t burnt out because they’re working too hard. It’s the exact opposite effect, you’re not going to lose clients or money you’re just going to be carrying yourself as a professional, and it’s going to lift your business overall

The follow up piece to this is creating a cancellation policy. It doesn’t matter if you have created it if you are not enforcing it. Until you start charging people for the late cancellations and no-shows you are not effectively managing your schedule and you’re not saying no you’re saying yes, it’s okay to cancel with me last minute. There’s no penalty, it’s all good. It’s really important that if somebody cancels within your cancellation window they get charged. You can let them know it’s okay they can’t make it in, but because of the policy you have in place you will have to charge them the cancellation fee before they are able to book their next appointment. This is a business decision not a personal one. It is really important to respect yourself as a business owner and enforce those things all the way through.

Communicate your guideline.

Your next step is going to be to publish this guideline. It is going to go on your website, it’s going to go in print, it’s going to be communicated verbally to your clients at their first appointment. This is how you pre-say no is by letting clients know what your cancellation policy is, and letting them know cancellations are not something you tolerate in your business. This is a really healthy thing to have in your business and if you don’t already have it in place I want you to get it in place today.

Stick to your guns.

If somebody asks you to stay late it’s a no. If somebody asks you to come in early, it’s a no. If somebody is late or a no show you enforce the policy and you charge them. Something really powerful will happen when take the reins in your business and begin to do this.

Remember your happiness needs to come first.

When you start taking control of your schedule and don’t let your clients walk all over you, you’ll be seen as more of a professional. You will have more freedom with your family, you’ll be less stressed out and you won’t be working those long crazy days. Trust me, you will still be making great money.

Situation Number Three: Saying no in a consultation.

A lot of stylists get caught up saying yes when they should be saying no during a consultation. For those of you who don’t know, my experience mostly in the industry is as a salon director. I spent a lot of time dealing with angry and frustrated clients. When a client called in for a redo they always had to speak with me, because I wanted to know what was going on. Often times I would get that the person was crazy or unrealistic and a lot of times this would boil down to the fact that stylist made a mistake during the consultation. When somebody sits in your chair and wants something unrealistic or you get the vibe that they’re crazy or you’re going to label them as crazy or their personality type just isn’t a match for yours, it’s better to just say no. It’s better to say “You know I hear what you want, but I am getting the sense that we’re not a great match for each other. It’s nothing personal, I am very specific in the way that I do hair and I think what you’re looking for just isn’t something I can achieve. I am going to end the visit right here. I wish you all the best in finding a stylist who is going to help you reach your goals.”  Even though that person may be disappointed, how much worse is it when you spend three hours doing someone’s hair, and you are doing something you didn’t even want to do because you knew it was a bad idea, and she then comes back and wants a refund. If you had just said no in the beginning, yes you would have had a gap in your day but you also would have saved yourself the headache.

There are also scenarios where I have had stylists feel like everything went great and they are unsure why the guest might want a refund or a redo. After talking to the client, they will express they were really clear as to what they wanted in the consultation and the end result was not what I got. That is the stylist’s fault, they did not pull enough information out of the guest to be the same page so that the result could be achieved. So, either the stylists needed to say no, or ask more questions to get more defined picture on what was going to be happening for the day. In a lot of redo’s, it actually does end up being the stylists mistake because they ended up saying yes when they really should have been saying no.

Set the guideline.

Your consultation guideline is going to be more of a personal one. What’s going to help is if you have a consultation script that you run through some pretty standard questions and if you’re asking your questions and getting a lot of red flags, or you can’t get on the same page I want you to trust your gut and feel confident saying no.

Communicate your guideline.

What you can do is start off the consultation by saying “It’s so nice to meet you. Let’s talk about what you have in mind for today. I’m going to share my professional opinion as well just so that we can ensure you feel confident, gorgeous and happy as you walk away today, and that we’re on the same page.” This allows you to set the tone and take control. It allows both sides to communicate what they have to say versus a guest giving you their wish list and you making their dreams come true.

Stick to your guns.

When somebody starts to have a crazy plan or she’s a level one today box dye and wants to be a level 9, it’s not going to happen and you are not even going to promise you can get her to a level 7. You will maybe even under promise and say no. It’s really important that you don’t over-commit to something that you’re not going to be able to pull off. If your gut says this is not a good thing to do, don’t do it, it’s better to send the guest packing then to say yes and have disappointment and pain later on.

Remember your happiness needs to come first.

Are we bummed when we have to send a guest away. Totally. What makes us feel worse is when we have a redo because we weren’t prepared, or we over-committed, or we really didn’t know what we were doing. There is no pain deeper than that as a stylist.  I want to encourage you to just say no from the start, because I promise you it will be so much less painful than cleaning up the mess on the back end.

For you to do:

Make a list of all your personal guidelines, boundaries, or policies so that when you are at the crossroads and thinking you should say no, but feeling like maybe I will say yes, you have something to keep you in check.

Know which particular situations that you will always say no to, this allows your rules to be your rules. Having your own personal rules is really huge and will help you make important decisions in your life.

Sit down and make a list of all the situations you find yourself in where it’s hard for you to say no. Maybe some of them are in your personal life, but most will be in your professional life. Make you own set of policies and guidelines of times when you are going to say no. You have to have personal policies you set in place for yourself. Your time is your time. Once you do this you will find you can be so much happier.

I hope that by the end of this you are feeling empowered to say no more often and you realize it’s not such a dirty little word.

TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 9. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW.

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