October 2008

Lisa Kind - Editor

The Mane Objective | by Marco Pelusi


Reach the Recession-Proof Client

Has your business been slower lately? Has it been a quieter summer than usual? Does it feel like everyone is complaining about the economy, inside and outside of your salon?

Well, to some degree, I’m quite certain we’ve all experienced some version of that scenario not just in recent months, but also throughout our careers and we all need to find a way to adapt and succeed.

One way to start is to become a specialist. Learn to accentuate your uniqueness, or your specialty, as a hairdresser, every day. Ask yourself, what do I offer? What services can I perform that make me stand out distinctively from every other hairdresser or hair salon in my area? If you can’t answer these questions definitively or easily right now, that’s OK, but it’s time to take a good, hard look at your work, and figure out the answers.

Begin with an honest list of your strengths and weaknesses as a stylist. Don’t worry about the weaknesses, though. Focus on the strengths and focus on what makes you exceptional. Once you discover your individuality, tell everyone, starting with each client in your chair. It doesn’t matter if it’s a client with whom you’ve worked for twenty years, or a new client—he or she may not even realize you have a specialty.

A great example is that recently one of my hairdressers had a male client that did not realize she could color his hair—until she told him that she specialized in color. Now, she has a new color client.

The goal of identifying your specialty is to leave your thumbprint, or your signature, on your work. The idea is to give your clients a service he or she cannot replicate anywhere else, or at least, anywhere else within your vicinity.

Once you’ve acknowledged your expertise, it may take time to believe in yourself as a specialist. For me, it’s always been about color, after working with chemists and manufacturers in their color labs for so many years. For you, it may be that you outdo everyone else in the area with wedding hair, which is a very special skill.

So if it’s weddings or something else, tell everyone about your unique service—advertise it, market it, put it on your business cards, and do as many of them as you possibly can, over and over. This repetition of your newly branded skill will only build your confidence and a common belief in your community that you are the best. That’s the goal.

And finally, the long-term objective is to attract that particular client who will come to you for the rest of your career, regardless of what is happening in the economy, the country or their personal life or finances, because you are so good at what you do. Achieving this goal will create the recession-proof client who will always learn to make room for you in their budget, even in tough times.

Make the transition from a Jack or Jane of all trades, “master of none” as the saying goes, to becoming a specialist and you will attract lifelong clients.

Marco Pelusi is globally recognized as a haircolor trainer and platform artist. Marco Pelusi Hair Studio, Inc. was named Best Hair Color in Los Angeles 2007 by KTTV Fox11’s “myfoxla Hot List” competition. Pelusi created the Marco Collagen Color Guard HairCare System, the collagen system developed for color and chemically treated hair. For more information, visit www.marcopelusi.com.