learn to say no

The hardest challenge a hairstylist could face with salon etiquette is learning how and when to say no to a client.

As a hairstylist for more than thirty years, I can honestly say that one of the greatest hurdles I have had to overcome wasn’t a color technique or the art of cutting hair but learning to say no.

From my own personal experience, I can tell you when I was a new stylist, I wanted to make every client happy. I felt as if this meant saying yes to any request. While I still want to make every client happy, I have learned that sometimes the best way to get there is by saying no.

We have all had a client who requests a service that’s not ideal for them—a  client with dark, frizzy hair wanting to be platinum blonde or who has dyed her hair black and wants to be golden blonde that same day.

It is more than just saying no.

So, how do you respond when you are confronted with these situations? Do you smile and say yes? Do you try to talk them out of it or suggest alternatives?

Knowing not just when to say no, but how to say no is an important part of your job. There will be times when a client gets an idea stuck in their head and can’t see the reality of the situation.

The best way to steer a client away from a service that you know is not right for them is to first explain why you feel the service requested is not right for them. This includes explaining the maintenance required, the risks to the condition of their hair, and why it might not suit them the way they think it will.

It is also important to offer a compromise during this conversation. For example, offer a more reasonable shade of blonde that will not damage their hair in an unnecessary way.

If a compromise cannot be reached, you might have to be willing to walk away from the task all together. It is better to stand by what you believe in, then settle for something you know is wrong.

saying no to clients

You are the voice of reason.

Although, offering professional advice comes with being a great hairstylist, so does offering real-life advice.

There will be times when a client needs to hear that they are valued and appreciated. It’s simple human nature—no one enjoys disappointing someone else.

There will be times you will not be able to fit every client in on one day. Ensure you are providing the utmost quality with every service, so your clients leave your chair happy.

You have the power to put them at ease and make them feel special, even if they come in at an irregular time. If you practice the art of appreciation and communication, you will become a better stylist and an overall better person.

Clients need for you to be the professional. Being the voice of reason, you are the one who spends time learning more about the trends of your craft and keeping up with your education. You can be firm while still being kind and understanding with your client.

In the end they will thank you for that.