Having diverse skills is valuable because you can handle any type of request without fear. Gain experience with as many different types of people and their hair so you don’t disappoint them with inadequacy.
Just last weekend a charming young man waits patiently for an hour, he just happened upon the salon. I noticed him noticing my make client before him as he left and when it was his turn he complimented my work and had confidence that he would be happy with whatever I wanted to do.
He mentioned, “don’t mind the blue glue behind my ears.” Well that’s odd-so of course I took the bait- what is it?
He happens to be one of the traveling performers for Blue Man Group, the show that evening and the next day was nearby. So here I have a well received actor and musician (drummer) in my chair trusting I do anything. He wears a bald cap for work so as long as it’s shorter he had no parameters. Being fairly mild in appearance I chose a much more mainstream haircut, one that the girlfriend back home certainly will approve he beamed. As a performer he has an outgoing nature so I worked a little funky magic in that can either be enhanced with product or ignored for modesty.
I certainly enjoyed meeting Steven, a pleasure to work with on all accounts. I am also grateful for all the training I have so I could adapt to the changing needs of my small towns client base
The best way to build your clientele is by referrals.
The only way to get referrals is by doing your job well.
What does it mean to do your job well?
In no particular order here are a few ideas:
Get technical skills: https://heididelmuro.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/secret-2-get-technical-skills/
People are busy.
They did their homework to find you, why do someone else’s too?
Free service or product you say? That just might work.
Offering incentives for your clients to spread the word costs much less than print advertising, and consumes less of your time than any other form of marketing.
Whenever your client comes in and says,
“I get so many compliments on my hair!”
That should be your cue to say,
“Great, I am so glad to hear that!”
But don’t stop there- next you could say,
“You know, for every referral you send me you earn ‘X’.”
I like the choice of words with earn, because it is work for them. They have to keep track of you, and make the effort to communicate with another about you. You have to keep track of their work, too. Because you already keep your client files up to date, note in your clients file who they referred so the next time they see you, their incentive is honored.
If you aren’t sure what type of incentive to offer, or what will work; think about your business.
What types of things can you afford to offer if you have 2 more clients in your chair?
There are two main things at your convenience; services and products.
Services cost you time (and money if chemical).
Products cost you money.
The incentive I have offered my clients since 2006- For every 2 new clients you send me, you earn the same service free. If you send two color clients, you get your color free. Two haircuts, free haircut. I do this to reward my clients who are loyal.
A lot of people offer an incentive for first time clients. I don’t usually do this because first time clients are more work for me, I can’t do more work for less. Also, there is less incentive for them to come back to you because next time is costs more. Besides, they can go down the street and get their hair done as a 1st time client with a discount, ahem. Notice a problem here? I can do a client for less who has been in my chair repeatedly, who is a joy to work with and who loves my work. They deserve an incentive because you don’t have to find them over and over again, they are coming back- so don’t gouge them.
In no profession can you get away without performing. There is an old adage “fake it till you make it”, and this is unfortunately true. In most cases, even a hairdresser that is a natural will fumble at first. On the same note, every seasoned professional will find a client in their chair that they will not be able to satisfy once in a while. On-going training is imperative to stay current with trends, and innovative techniques often accompany flashy new equipment.
If you are just beginning, this is the best thing you can do for your career. PAY ATTENTION!
Attend as many classes as you can afford.
Apprentice or assist in a salon you want to work in long-term, build a career instead of a job.
Learn how to use every piece of equipment you own, and learn it well.
Learn the difference between cutting hair dry, damp, and wet.
Learn the difference between razor, scissor, and clipper.
Learn the textures and densities of each client. Also, how weather affects the texture of each clients hair.
Learn the products that make your job easier. This will make your clients hair work for them, rather than your client work for their hair.
Practice, practice, practice!
When you are new, offer to do everyone’s hair you know. Make sure they are aware of your skill level, though.
Pay attention to what you are doing. Be present with the hair and build on your skills in steps.
Watch others and learn from them. Notice the details- tension, where to begin, systems, directional cutting, ask coworkers what color formulas they are using and take mental note of consultation, clients hair before, and results.
Color can be very tricky- stick to one line until you fully understand how color works. Once you get a few tricks up your sleeve, experiment with other color lines and see the differences. Once you work with different ones you will see which you prefer, and which your clients prefer as well.
Don’t trash the clients hair, be cautious if you are unsure.
ASK FOR ADVICE!!! Don’t be a know-it-all from the get-go, you will fail. You will get sued. You will lose your job.
In summary, know what you are doing. If you don’t know yet… learn!