You may have the gift of being able to do great hair, but that's going to get you only so far. According to hairdresser extraordinaire Sam Villa (in photo), becoming an expert communicator is what will really put money in your pocket. "Communication builds wealth" has been one of Villa's major themes as he's traveled the world educating stylists for Redken and, now, for his new company Allvus, a strategic partner of Redken.

you're the commodity you're selling

"The skill set complements the communication," Villa explains. "People buy people first, and then they buy things. Sell yourself as a person. The opportunity to do that is in the consultation, the first time that clients meet you. The consultation sets up your knowledge, sincerity and integrity. If clients don't buy into a certain process or technique you want to do for them, it's because you're not presenting it right."

In the consultation and throughout the visit, your verbal language should indicate confidence and consistency, Villa continues. "Walk in that door, and focus on the task at hand," he advises. "Be present for that client in the chair."

Body language is crucial, too. Through the way you hold yourself, you can strengthen your image by showing honest interest in the client and establishing trust in your opinion and skills, or you can undermine it by sending the message that you're bored, arrogant, distracted or not quite sure of yourself.

shift the balance

Villa recommends practicing until you trim your actual cutting time to 20 minutes. "Do a 20-minute haircut, but still book 45 minutes," he suggests. "Then you'll have time to show your guests how to do their hair and which products to use. The guests feel satisfied because they're not rushed and they get out of the salon in time."

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