Bennie Pollard and Paula Henson of Cool Beauty Consulting
 Bennie Pollard and Paula Henson of Cool Beauty Consulting

People make a decision on you within 7-17 seconds and whether that instant reaction will be positive or negative can have long-lasting impact on your career.  Paula Henson and Bennie Pollard of Cool Beauty Consulting delivered a presentation at Eufora’s truly-excellent VisionQuest event at the Omni La Costa Resort, Nov. 5-6 entitled “Branding and Marketing Yourself.”  They spoke on the “lost art of personal branding” which allows for deeper connection with clients and salon team members, every day.  While the complete course includes so much meaty, important information, including a marketing portion, a short conversation with the two salon success experts has been excerpted into this list of top 9 actionable items that can be put in place immediately.  And they are...

Eye Contact

It is commonly understood in society that eye contact is necessary to build trust but that is false.  It’s not necessarily true, because people look you right in your eyes and lie to you, but you have to buy into it.  We believe that if you avoid eye contact you’re not to be trusted so look someone directly in the eye.  


You just have to smile, hold your head up from your phone and smile. It’s about the eyes, the face and the brightness.

It communicates to the person in the front of you and it also communicates neurologically to yourself and brings a better version of yourself to the table.


As stylists we are in the self-esteem business.  We literally change the way people feel about themselves by rearranging their hair. A firm controlled business handshake says you can trust me and I pass on my confidence.

It is the first true physical transference of energy of your in-person branding

Lots of hairdressers are huggers which is very appropriate once a relationship is established but we are also encouraging the beginning of that relationship to be a handshake.  You are their clients not a friend until a relationship has been established.


Dress for success is so true.  Do hair where the money lives, dress how the money dresses.   Your wardrobe is part of your packaging.  Be stylish and consistent.


We’ve all had that client who has the worst breath that is melting your face and we, unfortunately, end up nicknaming them and remembering them for their bad breath.

I’m in charge of people’s memories when they are around me and if I leave them with the memory of my lousy breath, I have failed.

Any fragrance that is overwhelming is to be discouraged.

Pollard illustrates the point with this story: "I had a customer who had been shampooed, waiting for me in my chair, and I walked up to her and she said, 'Come here I have to tell you something. I’m not paying you the kind of money I’m paying you to smell cigarette smoke.'  The young man who had leaned over her and shampooed her had destroyed her experience.”

Scent is one of the deepest memories that we possess.


This is your body language that speaks volumes. How you walk into the salon is just as important as what you say or do.  People size you up on a visual cue, immediately.  Stand tall and proud.

Dialogue & Delivery

Think of your language and style of speech as a musical score.   It has rhythm and rests and a cadence. It is the emphasis you put on words.  If you change the inflection on each word, it completely changes the meaning of the phrase and also helps to drive a point home.

We have a rescheduling dialogue and we train our people to deliver this information with words and emphasis: “Anne, (rest) here’s what I want you to do (rest) I want you to schedule your next TWO (emphasize and use fingers to illustrate) appointments.”


Time is non-refundable.  If I take someone’s time there is no way to give it back to them.  You must be on time for every engagement.  We all have that friend who is always late and many of us ARE the friend that is always late. 

By the same token, starting and finishing on time is equally important. If a stylist has one 45-minutes appointment with nothing before or after I have witnessed them taking 90 minutes to do the hair.  Now the customer expects that 90 minutes every time.  Consistency is very important.


Your attitude determines your altitude. The quality of your life will be determined exclusively by your attitude and by how you see the world.

It is definitely more than just being positive, it is about proactively looking for the solution in a situation.  When you work in a team based atmosphere, having that positive attitude helps show people how to respond back to you.   Remember, your very best thinking got you to where you are today. If you are happy with your success results, great, but if you’re not, you have to look back at the thoughts that got you to this place and work to change them. 

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