Business Tips that only my hairdresser knows for sure

Unlike a lot of guys, I go to a hair salon to cut my hair. I believe that women do a lot better job on hair than men do so I prefer to entrust the care of my scalp to a female. For those of you thinking that Travel’n Person is stereotyping, just look around at the men and women in the office. You will probably find that one gender tends to take time and care in their appearance where the other usually runs a fast comb (and sometimes that’s a finger comb) through a messy mop and runs off to work. Of course hair is not really the subject of this article but I was explaining why I went to a salon rather than a barber. The relevance of this information will make itself clear as the story unfolds.

Being a consultant I am often interested in how people do their jobs so I tend to ask questions everywhere from the grocery store to the hotel check-in desk. One day, as I was getting my hair cut, I observed the other people in the shop (mostly women) getting everything from nails polished to hair color to perms. Some of the colors and styles being done were pretty far out of the ordinary.

I asked my stylist if she ever did one of those extreme styles and had a customer not like the outcome. Her answers were enlightening and I got some very good lessons in how to handle my CCI clients in the process. She said:

“First, I talk to the client about what they want and never take the first description as final. I make sure we talk about it a lot so we both understand exactly what is desired.” I also try to advise them away from something that does not fit with their body type or personality. What they think they want may not be right for them. If I can’t talk them out of it, then I know they really want it and I get a better picture in the process.”

“Next, I try to make them understand the impact of what they want to do and how easy or difficult it would be to undo. You don’t want someone asking you to cut hair that they want back or going with a color treatment that has to be grown out rather than washed out. They have to know that can live with it for a long time.”

When I used to go to barbers, they just sat you down and started clipping away, often with a machine that took great chunks of hair at a clip. I noticed that my stylist used scissors instead of the big machines and clipped little bits of hair at a time, looking it over between snips. I asked her why she didn’t just go to the desired length right away with the buzz cutter instead of pruning little by little.

She said“Cutting small means you can correct mistakes along the way easier than cutting everything at once. That way the client can see their hair getting shorter and give feedback on when to stop. If you make a mistake, it won’t be a big one. Besides, you should avoid making drastic changes to a client’s appearance all at once.”

These are some good guidelines for making changes to how my clients do business. We are often quick to change things before we fully understand what they do and why. If we talk them through it multiple times, get a good understanding, do better planning and prototype a solution, then make smaller, incremental changes to see how they work, we can make adjustments rather than taking giant steps backwards or making huge mistakes.

The old carpenters say “Measure twice, cut once”.

My hair stylist says “Once you apply the gel, it’s all over.”

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