Where Salon Consultations & Thinning Hair Collide

Let’s talk salon consultations. It’s widely held belief that having a solid consultation practice is the cornerstone of a successful salon. After all, from a well-executed consultation springs not only the “plan of attack” for the appointment but also product recommendations and most importantly of all, the building blocks of a strong relationship between stylist and client.

When planning the “flow” of the Master Guide to Thinning Hair ebook series that we are creating for our friends at NIOXIN, I got to thinking about consultations and how they all seem to fall into the same basic script. How could that script be modified for a client with thinning hair or hair loss?

There are a lot of unique challenges for both stylist and client alike when it comes to dealing with hair loss. The trick was finding a way to adjust the salon consultation to not only identify thinning issues but more importantly understand why consultations are difficult for thinning clients and what the actual stumbling blocks for stylists are and find a way to navigate around them.

Research to the rescue!

I got very lucky here since NIOXIN had recently commissioned a full-scale study that sampled data from both clients and stylists. There were a lot of really interesting tidbits in the study—like the stat from the cut-out tent card on page 5 of this volume that states “37% of Americans said that they would rather lose some of their friends than some of their hair.”

That’s A LOT of potential thinning clients 😉

The overarching message of the study—which, you have to be careful about looking for one of these, or you run the risk of pulling data that supports your theory, not sifting through research to find a common thread, those are very different things—was both interesting and alarming:

  1. Salon Professionals feel that they are the best authority on identifying and treating hair loss and thinning.
  2. Clients do not think that their stylists know about thinning hair. They view hair loss/thinning as more of a medical issue, best suited for their doctor.

What this tells me is that there is a big communication gap happening. A communication gap that could potentially be bridged by a more effective consultation.

We first identified some of the more common points of a salon consultation and then addressed some potential challenges with incorporating “thinning talk” into these areas. We first tackled the overarching issues of stylists not appearing to be experts on thinning in the eyes of their clients by offering some ways of presenting information and question, borrowing tactics from doctors and politicians, to convey a strong sense of authority.

Next, we pulled data from the provided research on how male and female clients viewed not only their own hair loss issues but also how they communicated their concerns (or didn’t!) to their stylist. We presented some of the main findings and finally, offered a sample consultation “script” for each type of client.

All in all, this second volume in our series was designed to address a very specific and important part of the thinning hair life cycle. An effective salon consultation, specifically tailored to client’s’ experiencing hair loss sets the stage for the proper treatment and at-home care.

Additionally, by addressing these clients’ specific needs and concerns and taking the time to truly understand their perspective, it creates a much more tailored and personal service.

The fact that we can work on this issue from a really granular level—getting down to the real reason why people are so reluctant to tackle this topic and how we can put good research to good use and make it another tool at a salon pro’s disposal—is what this project is all about.

Stay tuned for Volume 3!!

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