Beauticians have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. Sharing this information by advising customers about beauty tips and ‘how-tos’ not only benefits your customers but also the image of your salon. In this article I will explain to you the best ways you can get your customers interested in the advice you have to give.  

Customer value

When you take time out of your busy schedule to share something with your customers, they will begin to feel appreciated and noticed. Each customers needs are different, therefore you must individually personalise your advice to meet these needs. This will also build strong customer relations based around trust and honesty. Just remember to be subtle and helpful with your advice and not too personal that you offend someone.  

Customer loyalty

When you aim to build strong customer relations through personalised advice, you’re inevitably forming strong bonds with them. When customers find your advice valuable and feel they can confide in you about their beauty concerns, they will begin to feel loyal towards you and your salon. This means that soon enough your salon will have regular customers that always return for your services, and also lessen their chances of canceling or not showing up without notice. 

Product sales

When customers feel like the advice you give them is very personal to them as an individual then they are more likely to purchase that product. Pushing a customer to buy a product will only annoy them and create an overall negative, awkward and desperate vibe. However, if your customer brings up the fact that their hair is often dry for example, you can give them some helpful advice about how to care for dry hair and smoothly hint at the fact that you have a product that is extremely moisturising that’s been known to have excellent results. You could even use some of the product on the customer’s hair as a taster. This creates a win-win outcome. 

Additional treatments

Some customers will come in for a treatment that needs numerous sessions, for example laser hair removal or acne scar treatments. Explain to your customer that you are going to cater this treatment especially for their skin type and progress of the results. If a customer comes in for just one specialised treatment, but you notice they could benefit from another treatment also, then kindly advise them that you have this service available that could benefit them. An example from my personal experience is when I went in to a salon to get a facial, and the beautician asked me if I normally pluck my eyebrows myself. This made me laugh as my eyebrows were particularly bushy and out of control that day, so the beautician mentioned that she does eyebrow waxing and since I was already there I asked to add the extra treatment. Again, make sure that you do not offend someone by commenting on something deemed too personal, but ask indirect questions, plant the idea in their mind, or start a general conversation that could lead to the topic of your choice.  

Reviews and referrals

When a customer leaves your salon feeling like they received some really good advice, they are more likely to recommend your salon to their friends and family. Nowadays, when someone is looking for a service and doesn’t know which company to go with, they will look online and read reviews from other customers. Online reviews can either make or break an image of a business. To ensure you’re doing everything you can to ensure this valuable feedback from your customers, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does every customer receive helpful advice with each visit?
  2. Do you ask your customers if they were happy with results and the overall experience of their visit? 
  3. Do you tell customers about the products you used during their visit?
  4. Does the customer receive enough advice when he / she is away from the salon, e.g through your newsletters and social media?
  5. At the end of each visit, do you ask your customer if there were any problems or if there is anything they are wanting to know or comment on? Consider doing this at the cash register. 

Now that you understand the importance of giving good advice and how beneficial it can be to you and your customer, we can move on to how best you can structure your initial consultations to meet customer needs.

#1 Listen and learn

The best advice starts with good listening skills. My mother used to say that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, I hate to say it but she is right. There will come times when you think you know best as you are the professional and you don't always have the time to listen to everything your customers say. However, finding the time to listen to what you customer has to say is very important in deciphering how exactly to tackle their problems and concerns. Giving each customer as much of your undivided attention as possible is vital in building a strong customer relationship, shows you are generally interested in them and their satisfaction, and also allows you to offer them services or products that could really benefit them individually. For example, if you have one customer that always comes in for a haircut and they mention that their hair tends to break a lot, this is your opportunity to ask more questions and get down to the bottom of their problem. Perhaps find out their day to day hair care routine to see if you can give any advice on how to improve it, this is also a great opportunity to recommend products that you sell that could solve the issue. 

# 2 - Recognise your body language

Many people do not realise the power of body language. You could be saying all the right things, but if you’re giving off the wrong body language then it could ruin the customer relationship you’ve been trying so hard to build. Consider the following points.

  • Both sit down for the consultation. When a customer has to look up to you, or if they are standing and not relaxed, they may feel intimidated or uncomfortable.
  • Sit at the same height and avoid a closed position. So avoid crossing your arms or legs and give the customer enough personal space by not being too close. 
  • Be aware when talking into mirror reflections. Although it is tempting and easier when you are giving a treatment, some customers feel this is impersonal. If you need to explain something or if the customer is talking, give as much eye contact as you can or position yourself in front of them when talking. 
  • Use words and explanations that the customer will understand, avoid using complicated terminology and professional jargon. 
  • Read the vibe your customer is giving you. If they seem upset about something, frowning or turning up their nose, ask them if they are comfortable and if there is anything they are unsure about. If they are having a really good day and have heard some great news, mirror that positive energy. If they seem to be looking at their watch a lot or tapping their fingers, they may be running late for something, be open with them and see if they need to finish the appointment at a later date.  
  • Customers love it when you remember their name, don’t you? It makes them feel valued and like they are not just another body through the door.

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# 3 - Ask the right questions

A good consultation can only be given if you know enough about the customer. So don't be afraid to ask questions that require a personal answer, as long as they are not offensive. In addition, ask as many open questions as possible.

Open question: "What do you think about the condition of your skin?"

Closed question: "Are you satisfied with the skin around your eyes?"

You can also consider creating a questionnaire that your customer goes through with you during the consultation. This allows you to go through specific questions in a structured way but also catering to the individuality of each customer. Once the questionnaire is completed, you can file it online and create a customer profile to look back on when you want to see progress or remind yourself of what a customers needs and goals are.

# 4 - Go through what you have both decided on

This doesn’t necessarily need to be long and in depth, just as long as you are both certain of the decisions made. Check with your customer that they understand everything about the treatment they have booked, so they know what results to expect. The last thing you want is a customer to have high expectations and then be unhappy with results after a treatment because the procedure was not explained to them properly by you or your colleague. In addition, avoid pushing your customer to make a rash decision, no one likes to be rushed. Have your customer take a seat and make them a drink, so you can both go over the procedure again and you can answer any concerns they may have. 

# 5 - Sell them what fits 

Once you’ve gathered enough information to understand what services, products or treatments would benefit your customer the most, then you can begin to give your best advice. Be honest and clear in your advice. It may be tempting to try to sell a customer something that you know deep down they don’t really need or will benefit from, but they will be able to see straight through it and be less likely to trust you in the future as they will believe you are only interested in their money. It is also okay to discourage something. For example if a customer has weak, damaged hair and they are asking you to bleach it lighter for them, you know what is best for that customer and what they will be happier with at the end of the day. When you are confident about the advice you’re giving, your customers will be confident in you too.

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