November 2012

LeAnne Velona

The Beauty Professional| by Fred Jones

 

Building Relationships of Trust

As an attorney … wait … don't stop reading just because I started out that way … trust me, I'll bring it back around to you. Where was I? Oh … that's right:

As an attorney, I have the highest legal responsibility to my clients, known in legal terms as a "fiduciary" obligation.

Contrary to popular sentiment, lawyers owe a higher level of diligence and commitment to their clients than any other profession.

We can be sued or disciplined for failing to honor that serious relationship. So we are trained to make our client's legal conflicts or challenges our own, becoming empathetic advocates for them.

Okay … what's this got to do with the stylist's line of work? And how does this have anything to do with this month's theme about retailing? Bear with me a little longer …

I specialize in only a couple areas of the law (as most attorneys must do with the ever-increasing number of statutes, regulations and case law), and as a result, I find it uncomfortable when I am unable to address all of the legal needs of my clients.

My displeasure only amplifies when I am unable to refer that client to a trusted attorney who specializes in the field that will directly address their legal concern. In sharp contrast, when I do know an experienced lawyer whose expertise is on-point with what the client needs, it is a very satisfying feeling to be able to direct that client to a trusted source for appropriate legal counsel.

This kind of commitment to clients should be at the heart of a stylist's service. Beauty-service professionals have the privilege of helping their clients feel better about themselves, following an expert cut, a perfect coloring, or providing them helpful beauty-related insights as to how they can maintain that salon look for the next six to eight weeks between services.

That final level of professionalism — educating your client about beauty tips beyond the salon — is where a skilled stylist becomes a truly valuable counselor to their clientele and a great retailer.

The satisfaction I feel from being able to refer my clients to a trusted attorney who can help them when I cannot, is the same satisfaction you feel when you can inform your clients about applicable beauty-lines that will directly address each of their individual hair, makeup, skin and/or nail needs beyond the salon.

And much like the satisfaction I feel from — and their appreciation for — being directed to someone who can directly respond to their specific legal needs, providing your clients with relevant and quality products to maintain and enhance their self-image on a daily basis forms an unbreakable bond between stylist and client.

If your salon promotes quality beauty products that span the needs of all of your clients, then you have a valuable and powerful resource to aid each of them, and, in turn, strengthen your relationship of trust with all of them.

I hope this different perspective will provide you an incentive to introduce your clients to relevant, helpful and reliable product-lines your salon has readily available for them.

You see, retail sales aren't about commissions … it's about providing your clientele an added value to your trustworthy service.

Think about it from one other perspective: Do you shrug when your trusted auto-mechanic recommends a specific brand of motor-oil that would work best for your particular vehicle, or informs you of a particular make/model of tire that would maximize the performance and safety of your car? No! That's why you have a trusted auto-mechanic in the first place: to provide you with helpful insights about something you use daily but know little about.

As a well-educated and experienced cosmetologist, barber, manicurist, or other beauty professional, you have valuable insights into the attractiveness and vitality of your clients. Why would you settle for just providing them a good service in your salon, when you could give them the advice and direction to maintain their sparkle for the weeks between their salon visits?

What's more, providing them this counsel and specific beauty products that will work as if tailored to their individual needs will only strengthen the valuable connection with your clientele.

While you may not owe each of your clients a fiduciary obligation, the more you feel like your client's beauty advocate, the more comfortable you will become as a retail salesperson.

You make a living off of the quality services you provide in a salon setting; the money your clients give you in return is done so voluntarily and gratefully, they feel the dollars they tender are worth the service they were provided. The same goes for the beauty products they decide to purchase from you, based upon your expert advice.

This is how a free-market economy thrives, and how individual service providers — like YOU — prosper. So don't feel uncomfortable recommending products to your clients … it's an opportunity to build lasting relationships of trust.

Fred Jones serves as Legal Counsel to the Professional Beauty Federation of California, a trade association singularly dedicated to raising the professionalism of the beauty industry. To learn more about the PBFC and receive further details about the subjects contained in his column, go to www.beautyfederation.org.