Ever caught yourself listening to a client with crossed arms, jutting chin and a pursed mouth?
Or sneaking a quick look at your watch or phone during a consultation?
You could be saying more than you think.
Actions speak louder than words in successful salons
When communicating with our salon clients (and other members of the team) we use a combination of:
- Tone of voice
- Body language and non verbal signs
As you’d guess, the 3 elements are not of equal importance.
But how many of us understand the significance of non verbal communication when it comes to dealing with our clients?
Business body language needs thought
Younger team members in particular, often assume that because they work in a friendly, vibrant salon atmosphere it’s acceptable to use the same body language they do at home or socially.
But they are not at home, they are at work. And this communication misunderstanding shapes your clients’ salon experience. Often for the worse.
In this post, I look at ideas for a body language training session to ensure your clients enjoy first class salon experience.
Start by helping your team understand that even when silent, they still communicate their inner feelings and true thoughts to clients through their posture, facial expressions and other non verbal cues.
Positive body language tips for hair & beauty salons
 Express interest with eye contact
How many times have you sat in a restaurant and felt invisible? Waiters will avoid eye contact to send the non verbal message, “I’m too busy to deal with you right now.”
If you stop looking at your client, your eyes are telling her you’re no longer listening to her. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest in what hair and beauty clients have to say.
Body language experts recommend aiming for around 60-70% eye contact the salon consultation. Any less and you signal a lack of interest in your client and her problems.
 Avoid non verbal barriers
Avoid placing a physical barrier between you and your client.
Holding a hairdryer, mug or product bottle in your hands creates an obstacle in the space between you. Empty hands are best for a client consultation.
When you have to hold something, keep your hands around waist level. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, you’re likely to cradle the obstacle higher and closer to you, reinforcing the barrier and signalling your discomfort.
Think about it. A hairdryer clutched to your chest looks less relaxed and in control than one held loosely at waist level.
 Show you’re listening to salon clients
Demonstrate you’re friendly, listening and interested by:
- tilting your head to one side
- leaning forward.
These positive non-verbal signs confirm you’re engaged and attentive during client consultations, and actively listening when faced by a disgruntled client.
In contrast, leaning backwards or keeping your hands in your pocket signals a lack of interest, disrespect and even dislike.
Here’s a tip to encourage someone to continue speaking and open up to you. Perfect for client consultations.
Try nodding your head using clusters of three small quick nods. Research shows that people will talk three to four times more than usual when the listener nods in this manner.
 Hands and feet reveal true feelings
- Avoid pointing with an index finger or thumb as this appears rude. Instead, adopt open hand gestures with the palms facing up. Having your palms slightly up and outward says open and friendly.
- Comforting as it can be when faced with an awkward client, don’t cross your arms and legs as it appears defensive and sends ‘closing down’ messages. Think about this particularly when you are doing the initial client consultation and may be feeling apprehensive.
- Do your feet wiggle, waggle and fidget?
You’ve mastered the confident posture, your head is nodding and your hands open, yet there is one giveaway we often overlook when we’re stressed. Our jiggling feet.
Our feet reveal our true feelings as we curl, stretch and twiddle them disclosing our stress, boredom or apprehension.
So keep your feet still.
 Personal space is important for salon clients
Respect client’s personal space. Don’t get too close as this looks pushy and intrusive.
This can be a tricky body language area in the hair and beauty business when sometimes you need to get down and personal. A good topic for some team training.
A risky body language tactic…
I was looking forward to a blow dry in a top-notch London hairdresser’s before Salon International last October.
The stylist, a lovely bubbly girl, having plonked me in the chair proceeded to do the whole consultation standing behind me using the mirror.
Not once did we come face-to-face or make proper eye contact, and I had to shout to make myself heard to the stylist behind me. The blow dry was fine. But fine isn’t enough if you want to wow your clients. I was left with the impression she didn’t care and the whole experience felt very impersonal.
So always pull up a stool and sit facing clients.
 Bond with touch
The right touch can instantly create a bond with your client.
Research in the hospitality industry showed that being touched
increased the tips that customers leave their servers…
Customers who weren’t touched left an average tip of 12%.
Tips increased to 14% from those who were touched on the shoulders.
And to 17% from those touched twice on the hand.
The lightest touch builds bonds and trust…
- Leading a client through the salon – gently guide her with a touch to the arm.
- As you pop a towel around on her shoulders make her feel taken care of and secure by smoothing it down over her shoulders with three light strokes.
- A handshake or kiss on the cheek as she leave reinforces the bond.
 Posture which says I’m confident and an expert
Feeling intimidated or anxious? You’ll give the game away if you slouch, drop your chin and hunch your shoulders forward. Whilst fiddling with your hair, biting your nails or fidgeting with jewellery comes across as tense or nervous.
To disguise these emotions, and appear confident to salon clients, simply stand straight, keep your head level, relax your shoulders and spread your weight evenly on both legs.
A compliment to complement your body language
Giving and receiving a compliment isn’t strictly body language but the two go hand in hand as my mum made me realise last night on the phone.
She was bursting to tell me about her visit to the hairdressers yesterday. It was her second visit and as she walked in the salon owner admired how the colour of her outfit complemented her new hair colour. It seems such a simple gesture, but a sincere compliment is always a welcome boost to someone’s day. Mum was bowled over, loved the rest of her visit and her loyalty to the new salon is assured.
Specific compliments, like the one to mum, tend to be more memorable as they show you are paying attention.
Sincerity is everything and this is where your salon body language comes in. If your mouth is giving a compliment, just check your posture, facial expression or arms and legs aren’t delivering a different silent message.
Now, when you’ve finished reading this, pop your head around your salon door and have a look how your team are measuring up…