An important part of doing business is speaking your customer’s language.  

Depending on where you are located, you may be in contact with people that speak several languages.  But language can be non-verbal. Clients will speak to you in your language but are asking for something else entirely!

Over time as a new hairstylist I came to realize that speaking your customer’s language also meant it was

my job to manage client expectations.  Sometimes they did not know what they wanted  and as the stylist, you would be taken along on the ride to figuring the answer.  Here are a few scenarios to explain:

A client with long, thin, frazzled hair wants a particular style, for example a bob cut. 

In order for the cut to look proper, it would require you to remove at least two-inches of hair..  However, the client informs you that she is growing her hair out so she does not want to lose any length!  As the stylist, you know the hair is going to look terrible if she doesn’t get the two inches off.  I find, if you do not spend the first 10-15 minutes making the client understand this, your appointment is going to turn ugly.  The loss of two inches of hair will be far more important than the most supreme haircut.


Clients who eat lots of junk food and use bad products  but expect to fix the problem in one salon visit.

They are great for retail sales.  However, you will have to put your hairstylist cape on and explain how hair growth really works.  When they start becoming verbal about  the hair not being repaired promptly, I like to go over their daily meal plan. Most times they have not changed their habits and need you to speak like their mom.


Clients for hair extensions services who fail to follow the guidelines for caring and maintaining the extensions. 

Some people think stretching the replacement date is okay because it is too costly/they do not have the time.  For this reason, many people have thinning or hair loss from the weight or tangling of extensions.  You need to lay out all they will be required to do  and all the costs going forward before starting the service.


In school we are taught to do consultations so you are speaking your customer’s language.  It is the most important part of the appointment.  If you skip this part, you are not only gambling with your income but you will not become a better stylist.

By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design

Call (613) 789-2179 For An Appointment If You Are In The Ottawa, Ontario Area.