Helping Shy Stylists Connect with Clients
Have you noticed a certain type of stylist who is often avoiding the floor?
Stephani Wolfe, a stylist at Breeze Salon and Day Spa (four locations in the Austin, Texas area) always struggled with an important part of her career—talking to clients.
A naturally low-key, quiet person, Wolfe found starting conversations with strangers to be awkward and uncomfortable—a big problem if you spend all day cutting the hair of clients from all walks of life.
“I felt forced into conversations about things I didn’t know about,” says Wolfe. “When I had a new client coming in I felt anxiety ridden, especially if they had a strong personality.”
Connecting With Clients
Wolfe has been a stylist for about four and a half years, and last year, she found the tools to help her overcome her dread of awkward client conversations and more importantly, how to guide these conversations herself.
After going through the Qnity program, Wolfe embraced tools like the 9Grid and Q cards to write down what she wanted to achieve.
“I’ve always made goals,” she says. “But I had them in the back of my head—I never wrote anything down. When I started doing this and looked at them in written form, they became achievable and I saw things happen at work.”
One of Wolfe’s issues at work was the client consultation and ensuing conversation through the appointment.
“Before, I felt awkward and strange,” she says. “Now I’m guiding the conversation about things I know—products and hair styles. Sometimes this leads into conversations about their lives and I let them talk. I’m a really good listener, but not a great talker.”
Sometimes a client tells her something about herself and Wolfe connects with her on another level and is able to chat comfortably about topics other than nails and hair.
“But I’m very laid back and don’t like to push subjects—especially when I sense a client doesn’t want to talk.”
A specific area Wolfe struggled with was talking to clients about pricing during consultations.
“I’ve always had a problem talking about money with clients, but I’ve gotten over those fears with the right dialogue.”
Now, instead of asking what a client wants to spend or surprising her at the end of the service, Wolfe lays out the plan for the client’s hair during consultation, and then says, “Let’s go over pricing before we get started so you know what each service costs.”
She then shows them a menu and both the client and Wolfe are more comfortable with the dialogue as opposed to simply telling them what it will cost or being surprised at the end of a service.
“I think the communication has gotten clearer on both sides, and I’m finding my client retention is much better because of it.”
Wolfe is also noticing a lot more referrals since she went through the Qnity program.
“Before I would have to beg for referrals, now my clients are always handing out my referral cards.”
She has also received a lot of positive feedback from guests on her confident, professional attitude.
One guest in particular took Wolfe by surprise with her reaction.
“I did a nice consultation, a cut and blow out—the whole service—and the client started crying.
I asked her what was the matter and she said, ‘Does anybody ever tell you that you do life-altering haircuts?’
“She then went on to say she had never felt so good about herself—not even on her wedding day! That was an experience for me.”
Even new clients, who Wolfe has only seen two or three times, have been known to approach her on the street and say they are ready to come in and see her again.
“From start to finish, I feel more comfortable behind the chair,” she says. “At my recent review, I found out my service sales have jumped about $10,000 over last year.”
Wolfe’s retail sales and prebooking have also started to soar. “This time last year I was averaging around 35-40 percent, and in the past couple months I’ve been averaging 60 percent,” she say.
To others struggling with growing their business, Wolfe offers this advice: “If something isn’t working for you, be open to other avenues. Think about what you want out of life. If writing goals down for you helps, do it. If not, find something that does help you.
“You can be given tools, but they won’t work unless you use them,” she adds.