June 2009

Rules Your School Didn’t Teach You

By Jenny Hogan

Congratulations. You have graduated and are now a working beauty professional.

Yet your education is still incomplete. You need to learn the rules your beauty school didn’t teach you.

It’s time to go beyond the chair from simply having a job to designing and creating your career.

Lauren Gartland, founder of Inspiring Champions, a business and coaching company offering live training seminars, coaching and leadership services helps thousands of salon and spa professionals each year to dramatically increase their incomes while keeping a work-life balance.

When Gartland first started her training company, she realized that you cannot win a game that you don’t know how to play. “There was an epidemic in the beauty industry,” Gartland noted. “Few cosmetology schools teach business training. Our goal is to bridge the technical skills of technicians with business skills.”

Here are a few beginning rules to learn and start implementing in your business:

Rule Number One – Believe in Yourself

The first step towards building a successful career is simply to believe that you can. “Sometimes our biggest obstacle to overcoming challenges and reaching our goals is simply our belief in ourselves and our abilities,” Gartland stressed.

Consider this: in 1954 in Oxford, England, Roger Bannister became the first man to break the four-minute mile. Doctors said it was physically impossible. Yet once he broke that record and the world saw that it was actually possible – within 45 days, 16 other runners had broken it too. Once the belief was there, others soon overcame the obstacle.

The most valuable lesson for salon and spa professionals may simply be that once you believe in yourself, you can achieve any goal, once you take action.

Rule Number Two – Envision Your Career

To begin your career plan, create a vision statement for your life. Write down in very precise language your ideal day and the type of business you desire. Include details.

Exactly how much money do you want to earn? “Often, salon and spa professionals don’t yet see the true potential of how much they are capable of earning or they may have the subconscious belief that they aren’t worth it,” exclaimed Gartland. She urges beauty professionals to aim high when they estimate their earnings – with the goal of doubling their income, or specifically to earn $100,000 or more.

Now what type of client do you want to attract to your salon chair? Make a list of their qualities. Once you do this, you will soon start recognizing your ideal clients all over town. Much like when you buy a new car and you start seeing that car everywhere – when you identify your ideal client, you will start to notice them. When you do, make sure you are ready to invite them to visit your salon.

Rule Number Three – Market Yourself

Instead of waiting for clients to come find you and hoping that your appointment book will suddenly fill up – take the steps to attract those new clients.

Gartland advises: “Your first marketing tool is yourself. Your image is everything; we all know we get one chance to make a good first impression. You never know where you might bump into a great potential client. If you are giving out the message you love what you do and you want to serve others, then clients will start finding you.”

Dress like the type of client you would like to attract and always have business cards ready to hand out. They should be professionally printed and have a “WOW” factor that makes you stand out. Remember to give them out to people you meet in your everyday life, to your waitress when you’re eating out or the nurse at your doctor’s office.

Rule Number Four – Take Action

“Arrive at work half an hour earlier and go over your schedule,” explained Gartland. “Look at the openings in your book and see them as opportunities to create multiple services.” If a client has a gap after their booking, could you up-sell them for a glossing treatment? If you feel a particular client is a good candidate for highlights or haircolor, could you take the extra time to add a consultation and advise them, perhaps looking through some stylebooks? They could just go for a haircolor makeover on the spot, or maybe you’ve planted a seed that will result in their wanting haircolor on the next visit.

Think about which clients will buy products and what would benefit their needs; then you can plan ahead to up-sell them. If you have cancellations, don’t just take a break. You could send out emails to your other clients with a special offer; “Today Only – 25 percent off your haircutting service,” to fill the empty spots.

Rule Number Five – Work Smarter

Get training to learn how to conduct the client consultation, how to implement upselling, how to properly retail professional products and how to successfully pre-book appointments. This instruction shows beauty professionals how to increase their incomes. Yet what they are really learning is how to work smarter, not harder, while also providing more benefits and results for the client.

By creating ways to be of greater service to your clients, you are increasing your client loyalty and altering their perception of your commitment.

Rule Number Six – Fail Often

“The greatest failure is being afraid to try. If you’re not failing – you’re not playing the game full out,” says Gartland. You will always be putting yourself on the line when you are marketing yourself, offering new services to clients, advising them on products or pre-booking their appointments.

What if they say no? “A no today could be a yes tomorrow,” she said. “Do not let your excuses steal your dreams. People who have failed the most end up succeeding the highest. Keep on trying. Trust the process. The results will come and it will become effortless.” Gartland emphasizes that if clients say no, what that really means is that you haven’t shown them enough value. Educate your clients on your services and products and offer them more value during their salon visit.

“Ultimately, you should be giving an experience to clients instead of just a salon or spa visit,” concluded Gartland. “You can provide them with real solutions instead of just products and services.”

Now is the perfect time to learn the rules your school didn’t teach you and begin implementing them every day. Start designing the career and life you’d like to live. You will earn more money, yet money is simply a reward for achieving the real goal of having your dream career and life.

Inspiring Champions is a business and coaching company offering live training camps, coaching and mentoring services, webinars, audio tapes and educational resources. For more information call 800-496-9305 or visit www.InspiringChampions.com.