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Barbers First Thoughts with the Client

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Figuring out what a client wants out of their service is sometimes difficult, and always crucial. The terms you use daily can confuse someone who doesn’t, and the other side of that coin is being able to translate the language a client might use into an outline you can understand and execute. Educating your client on these descriptive words by using images, and showing them with their hair can get you both on the same page. First visits should leave out assumptions as well, confirming the smallest details to ensure what the client gets exactly what they want. Asking if they want a tapered or shaped neckline and sideburns, an edge or natural hairline, can make all the difference and makes your client aware that you’re really listening to their needs.

I find that speaking in terms of the shape they want, and where volume is desired, is a way to avoid confusing the client with technical terms. Using a pixie cut as an example, I’d ask if they want more volume at the top of the sides than over the ear. Do they want volume at the crown? On top? Would they prefer a tighter nape? During these questions, picking up sections and manipulating them with your hands can give the client a visual representation of what your question means. Seeing what the end result will be like lets the client answer questions more accurately and makes your job much simpler!

The same goes for bulk and heaviness versus texture. I like to refer to photos for things I cannot show the client by manipulating their hair. You can use key words when researching images that will produce examples to show clients what certain textures or patterns will look like on their specific cut. For example, I try to include the client’s natural texture when typing in key words for my search. This ensures the resulting images will be closer to the actual end result on their hair. Using words like, “fine, thick, curly, wavy, straight, dense,” will filter your search and weed out images with different hair types than your client. The hair type keywords are perhaps the most important part of your search. A number 2 guard will look quite different on fine versus thick hair and so on. Using an image search for specific styles can also be useful when a client presents a photo that makes parts of the cut ambiguous. Maybe they show you a photo of a shorter cut styled back and it’s hard to tell if it is an undercut all the way around. Searching for images that show undercut and blended options will help your client clarify which direction they prefer to go.

Once you feel you have a fairly clear idea of your plan, you’ll want to inform your client of any issues they may run into with what they have chosen. If the cut will require extra effort or specific tools to style, now is the time to let them know, before they commit to the cut. If the client has a thin patch of hair, or a difficult cowlick that may cause an issue or require extra attention during styling, it is your job to let them know. Leaving no room for surprises will make things easier on your client, and have them more likely to return seeking your expertise in the future.

Every cut is different and will behave differently on each hair type. If you have taken the time to think the cut through, include your client’s hair type, and addressed the specific styling, you have had a successful consultation! During the styling at the end of the service is the time to recommend specific products and inform the client when to return if they want to keep the shape of their new cut. Clients are the reason we have a job so make them feel special and take care of their specific needs to keep them coming back again and again.

-Lauren, THRPYsuites.


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