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Last updated: July 06, 2018

8 Questions You Should Be Asking In Consultations

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A good consultation can help you create a gorgeous look for your client…but a GREAT consultation will keep her coming back. Up your consultation game with these questions from Vivienne Mackinder, an industry icon who was an artistic director for Vidal Sassoon and international creative director for Trevor Sorbie. If anyone knows how to deliver a great consultation, it’s her!


We caught up with Vivenne at at Joico’s Global Destination Education, where about 1,000 hairdressers from 28 countries spent a week in Punta Cana with the Joico team for education and inspiration. She explained that while every good hairdresser consults with the client before the service, it’s necessary to get more detailed to deliver a truly exceptional experience. Keep reading to see what she means!




Take an honest assessment of your current consultation skills.

“Have your consultations improved over your career?” Vivenne asked. “Are they the gateway to feeding your heart and your pocket—or are they at a high school level?” In other words—are you going beyond the minimum in your conversation with your client? Are you using more descriptive language to determine what she’s really asking for? Are you giving her suggestions based on your expertise and what’s in fashion, or are you just delivering the same look she’s always wanted?


This cut, color and style are examples of a look for a woman who considers herself to be cute, feminine and classic.


Use Vivienne’s Three Wheels of Fashion to pinpoint what your client wants.

Visualize these three different topics as “wheels” to see where your client falls.

  1. Is she an introvert or an extrovert in her speech and personality? On the wheel, she can fall from conservative to edgy to rebellious. Let this determine how you speak to her (don’t use words like “bold” on a client who considers herself conservative).
  2. How does she describe her fashion and lifestyle? Is she minimal? Preppy? Elegant? Romantic? Flamboyant? This will determine the words you choose to use when communicating with her.
  3. How does your client describe her own beauty? “A great look completes a woman—it doesn’t compete,” Vivienne said. So does your client consider herself cute? Glamorous? Sexy? The words she uses to describe herself will help you complete her look.


This edgier look is ideal for a client who believes herself to be bold and trendy.



Develop a questionnaire that includes these eight questions.

You’re probably used to completing a verbal consultation, but Vivienne likes to give clients a printed consultation while they wait in reception. “I ask them to fill it out because it gives them time to think,” she said. “Then I’m able to interpret what they say—and what they didn’t say.” Her consultation form includes these eight questions.


  1. Why did you leave your last hairstylist?
  2. On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you with your current look?
  3. On a scale of 1 to 10, how open are you to change?
  4. How much time are you willing to spend on your hair each day? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 15 minutes or more?
  5. How often can you visit the salon to maintain your look? Every four weeks? Six? Eight? 12 or more?
  6. What role does your budget play in choosing services and frequency of visit? Does it matter at all? Is it very important?
  7. What magazines and blogs do you read?
  8. How would you describe your style? (For this question, the guest can check a variety of boxes, including trendy, classic, sporty, eclectic, vintage, cute and glamorous).


For a client who believes herself to be soft and romantic, this style would work well.


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