Shutterstock photo

Note from the KeraGirls: This post is part of our Skill Sharpener series to help professionals become more adept at the craft of hairstyling.

As the holidays quickly approach, Keratin Complex® stylists have geared up for the busiest time of year—from stocking up on bestselling retail products, to reviewing the latest color-trend formulas, to gathering styling ideas for updos and other party hair.

But one thing that stylists sometimes neglect is boning up on their people skills, especially when it comes to the all-important consultation—which can make or break any professional hair service.

We asked master colorist Deb Gavin, Keratin Complex’s International Artistic Director for Color Therapy™, to give us some of her best tips for having a successful consultation and service.

According to Deb, it’s all about guiding the conversation based on client “types.”

Consultation tips from Deb Gavin

Here are some specific strategies, in Deb’s own words, for each type:

The know-it-all client.

“For the type of client who is empowered with too much information but not enough to be correct, I find that the way I communicate with them makes all the difference. I speak about ‘lift color,’ ‘non-lift color’ and ‘the value of color,’ to name a few things. Typically they have read too much, or another colorist has over-shared. Taking them out of that mindset allows me to create the best end result.”

The unsure-of-everything client.

“I like visuals. I ask them to show me what they like and then I can customize it for them. The challenge with these clients is to get to the crux of what they really want in their service. It’s when we need to pull out our best consultation skills to home in on their desires. I find the customization aspect is especially important in this case.”

The “whatever you want to do” client.

“Again, this is a tough client to pinpoint their true wishes. It’s as hard to service this client as it is to do the above client. In this case, I ask them to tell me what they do not like. That narrows them down and guides me.”

The same-old, same-old client.

“This is the client who is so loyal and then one day disappears from our book. They may not express their boredom; but knowing that monotony is the No. 1 reason clients leave us, I am always mindful of offering them a change. For these clients, you also must be sure to modify their color formulas as needed. For instance, they may have a higher percentage of gray, and the formulas should be adjusted for that.”

For career insights from Deb, check out our Career Counsel post!