Friday, October 5, 2012

Sometimes it's What a Person Needs

After nearly 22 years of being a stylist I am still amazed at what happens when a person sits in my chair for the first time, and can't help but wonder if this happens to every stylist or not. Being that I do not advertise at all (except talking about my studio on Facebook from time to time), the only way I get new clients is through word of mouth referrals; I had two this week. Two complete strangers coming to see me in hopes of feeling better and looking better when they leave... I have never really thought of how vulnerable a client is on their first visit to a salon until this very moment. WOW!

I remember years ago when I took a class on growing your salon business. I always take classes, and often took advantage of local training; anything I could to become a better "me" at what I do. I recall being trained on how to give a great consultation... and my ears perked up because over many years in me trying to find a stylist to do MY hair (I am my own stylist now) what lacked was a good consultation. They never sat with me eye to eye and asked me what I wanted. I was vulnerable, with a cape on... and they were always standing behind me facing me in the mirror, which psychologically put them "above" me and caused the feeling that they were looking at themselves, not me.  (Hmmm... no wonder I paid attention when they discussed this.) Anyway, my point is that when you meet a client for the first time they are vulnerable and you need to know what to do with that to make them feel at ease.

Back to my initial story... two new clients this week, yea... that's where I was. (blame it on my A.D.D) The first new client was great, she had come in for a haircut and after I pumped her up a few pumps in the styling chair, I sat down in front of her in a chair lower than hers and asked her what SHE hoped to accomplish with the visit. (she was up, I was down... she was not inferior, I was.)We had an awesome time chatting and getting to know each other before I did anything to her hair. After we discussed her needs and wants we made our way to the shampoo bowl and I relaxed her with a nice cleansing. (Guard down, her relaxation had set in.) We walked back to the chair I put on her cape and all was good. We continued to talk and she really opened up. When the visit was over she had a smile on her face and was very pleased with the haircut, and made an appointment for the next day for color. See how that works?

If you are bored... hang tight, I have a great message in this story! PROMISE ;)

The next day she came back for her color which we had discussed the day before and it was like we had been friends for years. She raved on the haircut and we got started with her transformation; it was cool. I learned a lot more about her this visit because she was with me for almost two hours. She needed to talk and I was her listener. We talked about family... how she had a large one and she shared with me the good bad and the ugly between she and her siblings, one of whom she was not getting along with very well at the time and they were going to lunch after the appointment. I learned about SO much about her, the stories were fun to listen to, and here I was, practically a stranger yet it no longer felt that way. I had done my job and gained a loyal client.

My second new client of the week was yesterday, she was also referred and I did my usual thing... pumped her up and I sat down in front of her, we talked about her hair and what she wanted, we got to know each other, I relaxed her and we began. I was doing a color service on this client so she was with me for two hours. She asked me if I had kids... to which I said yes, four of them and we talked about them for a little bit. Then, of course, I asked her if she had any. She paused, took a deep breath and said "yes, I have two sons... well I had two sons"... she swallowed hard and said "but one of them died"... and she burst into tears. When this happens, and it has happened more than once over the years, I have to think fast. I immediately said to her, "I am so sorry, although I do not know what it is like to lose a child personally, I lost a sister and saw what it did to my parents and know how I suffered as her sister." We started talking about that... and it got her mind off of losing her son for a moment. I told her my story... then about my book and how it was healing to write it and I could see pain lifting from her face as she realized that she was not alone. It was nice to see; it's why I wrote my book, and I feel more and more each day that it was a good choice.

We had a long talk, I found out what happened to her son and found out that her other son is struggling with the loss even after 12 years. I told her that grief never goes away... how it simply "changes clothes" and puts on a new face over time. She smiled, agreed and I gave her a tissue to wipe her tears. It was a great visit, she was very happy with her color and I gained another loyal client. We became friends over that 2 hour span of time, it happened just like that.

Here is my message for today:

We are all connected; nothing happens on accident. Sometimes all a person needs is someone to listen to their story, a shoulder to lean on, cry on. laugh on. We have to realize this as we walk through life and STOP when it happens in order to become a better person. Sometimes when someone is bugging you, they just need you for a minute, give them that time, don't disregard them... be there for them and maybe when you need it someone will do the same for you.

Have an awesome weekend! See you Monday!