There’s a woman I know, who although she doesn’t have any real trouble with her eyes, pays more and waits longer to get an appointment in order to see an ophthalmologist instead of the normal, easier to get an appointment and less expensive optometrist. When I asked her why she said he spent longer on his consultations with her and that he would really listen. I said “listened” not “hear” because if you’re looking to stand out from the rest as an artist you are going to want to really understand what that means.
“Listening”, in this industry, dose not mean you are going to be patient till your clients done blabbing so you can then tell them all the great ideas and newest looks you have to show them! If that’s your idea of listening then please get off now and find a blog on the latest techniques on highlighting or something else. The word “Listening” is the most basic concept but by far the most difficult to put into practice. “Listening” involves tuning out what you naturally want to think or say and means watching the other person as you sympathize, empathize and try to get into that persons head. It means watching the body language (eyes, tone, posture, etc.) to see if they are telling you everything. I know it sounds like you need to play detective and the truth is sometimes you do.
In the book “How To Win Friends And Influence People” author Dale Carnegie said “When you ask someone a question there’s the first thing they say and then there’s the truth.” Don’t lie to yourself and say you don’t ever do that. The fact is 99% of people today are stressed. Stressed about jobs, family, health care, world peace and saving the whales. And these are the same 99% that come to you as a colorist or stylist and they want you to make them feel better and once they feel better they want you to make them look better. To accomplish that takes more than the latest techniques or seasons colors, it takes someone who actually enjoys helping people. We as colorists and stylist in the industry have to realize that people, out of a “knee jerk reaction” will say things they don’t mean. Many people will tell you that they’re doing fine, they’ll tell you that they’re family’s fine, they’ll tell you they love the color, love the cut, that its ok you’re running late and that life is a box of chocolates. Then you’ll never see them again. And most likely the reason is they didn’t feel a connection, that you really cared. Cared enough to tactfully probe a little more when you asked how they’re doing, they said “fine” but they’re body, tone and eyes said “not good.” The mistake is that as an artist we think a great color and a few highlights will make them feel better but it won’t!
A great man told me, “Treat everyone like they’re going to have a nervous breakdown because most are.” Not all the clients you meet are going to need this kind of consultation but you can’t go wrong when you give it. What’s the worst that can happen? So far I haven’t heard a client say I cared too much.”
This is the first of two blogs. This first part is intended for the colorist and the client. The second part will cover several techniques for a great color consultation only. I will recommend three books that can help you as an artist and as a person to really get to know and understand people. The first is the bible of communication Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends And Influence People”, the second is “Be Nice Or Else” by Winn Claybaugh and the third is “A Little Off The Top” by Michael Cole.
For those who want to stand out from the rest these books may change the way you think.
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