We all have had moments in our life that we are overcome with a joy like no other, that stems from sharing with someone we care about, or a complete stranger. Maybe we saw that they were struggling and we offered a hand, or someone reminded us of what we mean to them. This moment lights up our world and we feel joy at a deep level, the kind you can’t get by buying a new jacket at Zara’s.
Many obstacles can get in the way of feeling gratitude, or having an attitude of acknowledging a benefit we have received or will receive. In fact, we can feel downright upset for what we are not getting? Can you identify with that? I sure can. And this road gets real lonely after while. Everything that comes out of our mouth is negative, and soon, no one wants to hang out. Negativity begets negativity.
Our “monkey mind” needs to be reigned in sometimes. The part of one’s mind that wants to go down the same old track and take over, needs to be put in place. Train it! Gratitude can be cultivated in a daily practice, and for those of you who resist the discipline, remember that no great thing comes easily. The process takes all of five minutes.
Daily practice means getting up before your official day begins, and when distractions are at a minimum, and writing down what you are grateful for. They can be small, or large, long ago or current. Choose a lovely journal, or a simple pad, and a beautiful pen. Keep it in the same place, so you can come back to it. Develop the routine.Write down whatever comes to mind, and you will see your list gets to the real essence of your life, and the people that matter, the aspects of your life that matter.
[tweetthis]”Journaling gratitude brings you to the essence of your life.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]
Since practicing myself and formalizing the writing down of gratitudes, the tension in my own body has lessened, my heart feels more accessible, my appreciation for my family has increased so much that there is more ease in our relating, more joy. My clients are not irritating, I feel more appreciated by them, and as a result I feel more in service to them, less like I have to get something from them, but more give to them. In general, I feel softer.
So much so, that I have made it my mission to finish off this year going down my list of friends and family that I have incompletes with and completing with them. Let them know I appreciate them, and the lessons learned. It is never to late to let people know just what they mean to you. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. All of the witholds take up space in our hearts and minds.
When you can begin this practice you increase your own experience of happiness, and you feel more connected. Notice the difference.
Question: What are you grateful for today? Share your answer on Facebook, and Twitter.
Sifting Through The Sea of Distraction
Would you agree that the distractions are at a all time high? From phones that never let us turn off, to work and clients demanding of our schedule, to family, friends, to do all that we want to do, to media, the street etc. As hairdressers, the consequences are staggering when our attention gets so fragmented.
Tune Up Your Listening Skills
Listening may seen passive, and something we can do while performing other tasks. In fact, we fake it day in and day out, pretending to listen, nodding our head in agreement, or exclaiming, “Really?”, while you stack 30 foils in place, when we should be stopping and saying, “I’m sorry,” and look at her, because she just told you her Aunt Martha just passed on and she is upset.
123rf.com/ Eric Isselee
Or, our client has told you a million times she doesn’t like a wet towel on her neck, or she doesn’t like to have her head massaged, or she doesn’t like it when her hair gets too short, and you do it anyway, because you are on automatic, and not performing a consultation because she is a regular client. Or her hair turns carrot red, when she said she wanted auburn, and you didn’t take the time to really listen to her words. Does thais sound familiar?
We’ve all been on both sides of ineffective listening. We are not afraid to let our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and even the copy center down the street, know when we haven’t been listened to. We get furious, and indignant, because it is frustrating, and it doesn’t feel good. Imagine our clients then.
The notion that we can rest on our laurels is no longer relevant when it comes to truly listening to our clients, and delivering fabulous customer service. We cannot take them for granted. I don’t know if you have noticed, there are many talented hairdressers out there that are performing stellar consutations and would love to take care of your clients.
[tweetthis]”We all want to be heard, so do your clients.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]
Listening, to pay attention to your clients words and to what she is not saying. Listening effectively and accurately is a skill worth building upon, as it is what will keep your client returning to you for years to come. It’s surprising that we haven’t had more training in this area. Because truly, we can teach anybody to cut hair, but what makes a hairdresser successful in the salon and her or his life, is listening.
Training ourselves in this arena gives us the following:
Clients are happier
Better sharing of ideas
Listening is active and requires using other senses as well. We listen to their words, watch how they say things, and perceive what they are not saying, and repeating back to them what you think you heard. You are watching their body language as they say what they want. You need to be able to interpret these cues accurately.
When a client says she describes her wishes or complaints with her hair in how it “feels”, that tells me, I want to use the same language when I describe what I will deliver. Or she may describe her desires and complaints with, “I don’t like the way it looks. I want it to look full and like it has body.” I know then, that I am going to repeat back, ” I want your hair to look full and look like it has body, and in order for that to happen I’m going to address the cut in this way, and it will require you use these products at home, which I will show you how to do when we get into the finishing stage.
Listening also gives us time to pause, to catch up with ourselves, resting our arms to our side or clasping in front, but in a restful position, or sit in front of them, eye to eye. Listen for inconsistencies in what they are saying as well. This is frutiful to explore, as it helps you and them articulate what the issues are and what is ultimately important to them. Seek clarification.
During this whole process, it is necessary to keep our own ideas, biases, opinions, judgements, assumptions out of the picture for now. This is exploration phase, and thier time to reveal themselves, and if you cut it off, or insert strong words and opinions, you will shut down the whole process, and rid yourself of opportunity to get to know them, and better serve them.
Breathe and enjoy the journey. These are the moments of building trust with your clients, the meeting is about them, and there will be nothing more satisfying to her or him.
Question: How has listening or not listening to your clients affected you? Leave your answer on Facebook, or Twitter.
Every thorough consultation begins with a hand on the shoulder which offers a sense of grounding your client in the chair, and letting her know you’ve got this. This simple gesture allows you to get present as well, and focus.
123rf.com/Wavebreak Media Ltd
These moments before the clients’ service allows your client to warm up, and open to you, revealing her vulnerabilities and insecurities, allowing the relationship to unfold in a respectful way. If done correctly, this client could last your whole career. This is true mastery in our profession.
There are hundreds of questions you could ask, and as you move through your career, your questions will get better and better. Let’s not be fooled, even the most veteran stylists need to be reminded of how to offer a stellar consultation.
Equally as important as the questions and answers, is you listening. We will get to that on another post. If your client feels heard, she will stay. If she doesn’t, she will leave. It’s that simple. Allow time to take in how they are responding with their words, body language. Look at what they are wearing, their shoes, their handbag, their glasses, not in a sizing up manner. This is a subtle style type assessment. Look for hints of who they are. Listen for what they are not saying. This is wisdom consulting.
Preferably be seated, or lift them up in the chair so that they are at eye level with you. How many of you tower over your clients back and reach over their shoulders? This can be very intimidating, and it’s done all the time! Stand in front of them, make eye contact, arms unfolded.
[tweetthis]”A successful client consultation directly affects your client retention? How would you rate yours?” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]
- In order to tailor this haircut, color or style for you, I will need to ask you some questions for you, is that okay?
- When is the last time you loved your hair?
- When was the last time you were in the salon?
- What did you have done?
- What chemical services have you had done in the last year?
- Are you aware that I guarantee my work only when my product recommendations for home care are followed?
- What worked in this last haircut, color or style?
- What didn’t work in the last visit?
- I assume you are here because you want a change, how open are you to a new look?
- If you could choose a celebrity that you think represents your style, who would it be?
- How do you want to feel in your new look?
- Have you ever had your colors done? (More on this topic later.)
- Have you had surgery, or changed medications in the last year?
- If you could describe the best salon experience, how would you?
- May I touch your hair?
Now I let them know I am going to take some time to look at them. Assess the hair, feeling head shape, assessing density, texture and porosity, test a strand of hair in different areas of the head. Look at the features you want to hi light and those you want to detract from, considering what would help to balance their face shape, and bring the best quality of their hair.
Present your offer, your guarantee, maintenance and price. Ask for their buy in.
In the end, what can you do to bring them closer to expressing their essence? Clients just want to feel relevant, and good inside. They want to feel like they can go back out there in the world and be themselves again. Continue to develop these skills and you will become the Master Hairdresser that people will wait in line to see, and you will be able to give yourself a raise.
Question: What consultation practices have you found successful? Share your answers on Facebook, or Twitter.