"Without clients, you’re just a person with scissors," says business expert Paul DiGrigoli, and he should know. After 30 years as a stylist and owner, he heads up a thriving salon. In this excerpt from his best-selling book and CD set, "Booked Solid," he waxes on the reasons clients choose to leave a salon, and what you can do to keep them in your chair.
Four Reasons Clients LEAVE:
1. Poor Technical Skills. "Even though I believe that 85 percent of your success depends on your attitude and only 15 percent relies on your abilities, that 15 percent is critical," Paul says. "If you don’t have confidence, experience and skill with the actual techniques of cutting, color and styling, your clients will leave. The solution is practice, education and training. Practice makes perfect. However, when you do practice, make it a perfect practice."
2. Poor communication. "When it comes to their hair and their look, clients need engagement. They need to feel like they can tell you anything and that you will really listen to them," Paul explains. "You must engage with them, ask the right questions, listen to their words and their needs. For example, if the goal is to texturize the hair and remove the bulk, and a client says, ‘Paul, it’s too puffy on the top.’ Great, easy, I can fix that without a problem. If you don’t open clear lines of communication, the client can’t get what they need and they’ll leave. They’ll find someone who can hear them and help them."
3. Unprofessional. "Your client’s experience should be positive," says Paul. "If you show up late and unprepared, you’re wasting their time. If you’re not dressed appropriately and you’re chewing gum in their ear, it shows bad taste. And if you don’t listen and you have a negative attitude, you’re turning them off. The end result will be that you’ve ruined the relationship. The client won’t feel safe or good in your chair. If you’re running behind, it creates stress, and stress will not allow you to do your best work."
4. Self-centered. "If you haven’t figured it out yet, the way to be booked solid is by treating your clients like royalty," he says. "Listening, understanding, asking the right questions—the appointment isn’t about you. Your clients have come to your chair to be pampered. Not understanding, or worse—not paying attention, to their wants and needs will likely send them running from your chair."
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