How-to Conduct a Winning Guest Consultation

The Guest Consultation is the single most powerful opportunity for the stylist to explore and determine the best service to enhance each guests image. All principles of design need to be addressed and salons should allow adequate time for each stylist to perform a thorough and detailed consultation for each guest. It would be of great value if the consultation could be performed in a quiet, relaxing, one on one environment, with a good balance of fluorescent, incandescent and natural light. The goal is to gather as much information about the guest as possible and I always say, “listen more, and talk less!” This is your guarantee that you are truly hearing what each guest has in mind for their hair.

To ease their fears, address each guest by their name often and find something you have in common to make an emotional connection. We certainly want to know how and why they came to know about us.

 The beginning of the consultation should focus more on the form (haircut) of the design, because it will be essential for all color decisions. Identifying the guest’s face shape will help in making decisions on form, as well as the perfect color to emphasize the best features of their face. Each design should create balance and harmony in the guest’s total look.

Another valuable design principal to explore would be the function of the hair at this particular moment of time. Life changes will always affect the design of the hair. The consultation should always explore the function of the hair, career, maintenance, cost, available time and the guest’s personality (funny, serious, trendy, conservative) to help determine the right look for them.

 Finally, attention should be turned to be more color specific. At this stage of the consultation, explore the guest’s natural hair, skin, and eye color in order to discover whether they fall into the cool or the warm category. This discovery will help tremendously in your final selection for the tonal quality of the design. 

 Guests in the cool category will harmonize with black, cool browns, cool blondes, whites, burgundies and even fashion shades such as blue, orchid and fuchsia.  Warm tones such as gold, red, yellow or bronze should be avoided. Those in the warm category will harmonize with deep chocolate, rich golden brown, auburn and warm golden blondes. Natural looking fashion shades such as coral, red and orange will harmonize nicely. Cool tones like jet black, blue, violet and white should be avoided. Keep in mind that every eye color will harmonize with every hair color, while skin tone won’t.

 This is just a small reflection of what an actual guest consultation might look like. Below is an additional checklist to use as a guide.

  • Analyze the scalp for sensitivities
  • Always check the porosity, elasticity and overall condition of the hair at the root, mid-shaft and ends
  • Determine the natural level of the hair to understand where you are starting
  • Determine the percentage of grey or white hair
  • Determine the desired level of lightness you are trying to achieve
  • Determine the desired tone of your color, considering the underlying pigment
  • Determine the volume of developer needed in order to achieve desired result
  • ALWAYS perform a 24 hour patch test at the end of every consultation

A thorough consultation is your guarantee that each guest will walk away feeling confident in your skill, leading to guest retention, rebooking and ultimately business growth! Using this guide means you will know that you have the perfect plan in place to achieve the total look best suited to the guest’s personal style.

 Peter Brokt is a National Trainer for Eufora. He is based out of the Kindle & Boom salon in Rockville, MD.

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