May 2011

Charlene Abretske

Beauty Business Buzz | Charlene Abretske


Help Clients Color Their World

As a woman who noticed her first small gray streak in high school, I consider myself a typical haircolor client.

I have had almost every color applied to my hair in an effort to cover my prematurely arriving "silver threads."

Going from platinum blonde to jet black and everything in between, some looked wonderful and some have been horrific.

Even though I cannot afford to go to the salon every three weeks, and do my own roots most of the time, I do have my color professionally done between four and six times per year. I love being pampered and having beautiful results; unfortunately, professional haircolor is not always in my budget. I suspect many of you have color clients who fall into the same category and you feel frustrated with them.

I know everyone wants a book full of color clients that show up like clockwork every four weeks and go for the blonde highlighted "beach babe" look. Yes, you can find those women; they do exist but they are probably not the majority of your clients.

If you are not capitalizing on the clients who are like me and do some of their color at home, you could be missing out on a steady source of income. You have nothing to lose by asking them to book a color appointment. How many clients have you given up on that do their own color?

If you notice they are using an inferior product, they need to be informed and it is your duty as a beauty professional to do so. You will not hurt their feelings by giving them this information. They will want to come to you on occasion for color because they know you, no matter what, will do a better job and use a better product.

If a client only goes to their stylist for haircuts, the stylist would be losing $90 per visit for a full color, at five visits per year that is $450.00. If you begin asking those clients who are using inferior color at home and explain what professional color would do for them, some of them would take you up on it.

If you had five more clients, that would be an extra $2250 per year. If you had seven that came in three times a year, you would be looking at an extra $1890 per year. Combine those two groups, $2250 + $1890 = $4140. This results simply from adding "at home" color clients for touch ups.

Here are some truths and misconceptions about clients who do their color at home. Use these points to help open up a conversation on why clients should utilize your color services a few times per year.

Truth — These clients are likely to purchase products from you if you educate them.

Open the conversation by explaining your products. Let them know that, even though there are sulfate-free shampoos out there that will protect their color, you carry highly concentrated forms that have other ingredients that will improve their hair quality. Give them the education and the option to purchase a bottle of shampoo and conditioner. The cost will seem minimal to them when explained properly. These clients especially understand value.

Misconception — They do not care what they look like or they wouldn't be using "at home" color products.

The economy is getting better, but some costs are rising and people have had to cut out some luxuries. This does not mean this will be the case forever and ever. With unemployment still at 12 percent in many states, many of your clients are feeling the pinch. They will find new jobs and find their way back to your chair more often when they can afford it. Many clients who use "at home" color products are doing so because they have to have some recourse to correct what Mother Nature has handed them. If they did not care, they would not be interested in color at all.

Misconception — If a stylist helps a client in any way with "at home" color, they will not come back to the salon.

This is a huge misconception. Your clients will appreciate the help with many parts of the process. If you know they are using the completely wrong color, tell them what color to choose instead. You are the one who has to deal with the bad haircolor aftermath when they have been using the wrong color for years. Keep in mind that, when people ask them where they are getting their hair done, they may not always admit they do their color at home. In this case, sharing information is not a bad thing. You could be shooting yourself in the foot in the referral client department because of this. Always close the conversation with, "Your hair could look amazing if you let me do it as a professional, with professional quality products."

Most clients are not worth giving up on and they will pleasantly surprise you in the future if you keep looking out for their well-being and their beauty needs. Remember, your professional knowledge and expertise carries a lot of weight with those who depend on you to help us do our best to look and feel great.

Charlene Abretske is an independent business advisor. To reach her email or call (760)453-1882.