There's one rule of thumb that we don't discuss when it comes to consultations and it is this:
When consultations last longer than 15 minutes, the client will be unhappy with the service.
Why is that?
Indecision, indecision indecision. There is a difference between offering options to a client, and a client having too many ideas and is unwilling to decide on an option. You will know these clients from their behavior:
- Shows multiple pictures each with a different look. Includes phrases such as 'I like this but I also like this.'
- Needs constant reassurance about their choice.
- Fusses with hair while talking, doesn't meet your eyes.
- Indecisive even after agreeing to a look.
- Might use industry terms to describe their goal but those words and what they want do not match up.
What is the best way to work with these clients? When the clock is ticking down and an agreement has still not been reached, remember to stay in control. Sometimes these clients will require you to reschedule their appointment. There have absolutely been situations where the client is so indecisive that they talk their way through the entire color application period and the next client is waiting. Stay in control and let them know that because a solid agreement has not been reached in a certain period, they have used up their appointment time and will need to reschedule.
When they question their choice in the middle of the haircut, put the shears and comb down and move in front of them to make direct eye contact and come to an agreement before proceeding. If they seem indecisive before a color service, document their options and require them to sign an agreement that states what the goal is, and make it clear that if they change their mind, there will be additional fees. Repeat this: use a contract, use a contract, use a contract.
It's not called being a hardass. It's called being a professional. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness, even the indecisive clients. There is also a difference between being reasonable and being a doormat, and we give you permission to be open and honest with the client in your chair.