Articles > Business > What Would You Do: Turning Away Potential Clients
Last updated: October 19, 2017

What Would You Do: Turning Away Potential Clients

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You’re never one to turn away a potential new client, but something about the consultation just isn’t sitting right with you. Do you welcome the new client anyway? Or refer her to another stylist who is a “better fit?” One stylist reached out to us with this question…


“For the first time in 17 years of doing hair I had a referral come in for a consultation and I knew we would not mesh. She was great but scared to have a new stylist cut her hair. She booked ahead, but two days later she asked me to call a specific hair care company to special order her specific products. I have such high anxiety over this kind of stuff.”


So what advice did the BTC Community have to offer? Check out some of the best responses below.


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Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
“I had the exact same situation. My client was anxious to not have her stylist of 12 years anymore. She asked if I could get the same products, color, etc. I felt sick to my stomach at first and was about to refer her to someone else, but I turned around and told her that she would have to accept that I am not the same stylist. I do things my way and use the products I am familiar with. She has since become one of my best clients, and we get along so well that it’s hard to remember the beginning!” –


Step out of your comfort zone. It might be an exciting new adventure for you, and you can always fire her as a client later. Take a deep breath, then take the plunge.” – @manetostay 


“Give her a chance because it will help you grow as a stylist by mentally learning how to deal with tough clients while also giving you a chance to prove your talent. Take a deep breath (or five) and remember the basics of what we learn in school and at classes. She’s just as nervous as you are it sounds. I like to ask the question, ‘What have you not liked in previous haircuts?’ If they can’t answer then it usually means they did not like the stylist, not the cut. Don’t let your nerves ruin an amazing opportunity!” – @hailey.brick


“I say give her a chance! I’ve had similar experiences and most of the time the client is just as nervous as you, and they usually chill out by the time you are done. If they like you, they will come back. If the don’t, at least you made some money. But for the most part they turn out to be great clients, especially if it’s a referral. And if everything goes wrong fire them ASAP.” – @mycosmoart


“If it’s a referral it means that she obviously can appreciate your work and should know if she wants something amazing she has to trust you and not tell you how to do your job. If she can accept this I’d say give her a chance.” – @stevie_scissorhands 


“I think you should go above and beyond, doing whatever she needs. Fussy clients also tend to be the most faithful—once they are happy they aren’t going anywhere! Just make sure, financially, it’s worth your while and give it your all. If it does not work out, you tried. You may find she is not as bad as you feel.” – @vipz_yorkshire_mua


“I had this happen. My client was so demanding and picky that she made our nail tech cry. We had to work out some things but in the end she’d drive 2 hours every 6 weeks to have her color done by me. She recently moved to California and I live in Tennessee, so she now flies in just to have her hair done. She turned out to be one of my favorite clients and she treats me so well. Take the risk.” – @brandace_britney




Trust Your Gut Instinct
“Eliminate anything that doesn’t help you grow. It’s an awkward conversation to have when you tell people that you don’t think you’re the right match for them, but what’s worse is you spending time and money only for her to be left unhappy and asking for a refund. For every bad client, five better ones will come along. I know that feeling of anxiety and it will eat you alive.” – @nc_artistry


“I say go with your gut. It’s not worth your anxiety, her anxiety or her possible bad review of your work (because you know it’s coming if she’s that nervous and picky). If you don’t feel comfortable using the product she requires, suggest she look up stylists who use that specific product line from the company’s website (if it’s a professional product), that way you don’t have to come across as a jerk rather than concerned for her complete satisfaction as a customer.” – @kristinareneehair


“I’ve been there, and the best advice is to listen to your gut. Tell her exactly what you told us, and if she doesn’t feel good for you let her go somewhere else. You both will be happy that way.” – @kelira


“Not worth your time, energy or money. She sounds like someone who will never be happy. There are clients that sadly are not happy with themselves or some part of their life, and they take it out on not being satisfied with their hair, hairstylist or salon experience. Like others suggested, listen to your gut instinct. There are wonderful people out there who will fill your appointments while appreciating your time and talent.” – @sharkyberenz


“No one should ever make you feel uncomfortable in a place of peace. You are not the stylist for her, and it’s OK to refer her to someone else.” – @nitahouze


“Last time I felt like that and took her on anyway I literally wanted to lock her in the salon and run screaming! She is a referral and I love the person who referred her. She continues to book with me and even referred other friends, but I feel like I have to talk myself down from the ledge for a whole day before she shows up!” – @hairbender5488


“The most important thing is to over-educate your client. At the end of the day you are the professional and you know what you’re doing. Most clients, at some point in their life, had a bad experience. Don’t take it personally. Clients want to know that you are experienced and know what you’re doing. Use cosmetology vocabulary and explain why you use the products you use. Don’t be afraid to tell a client no because you have the education to back up what you do. Your clients are your biggest advertisement. You got this!” – @btybyri


See all the responses!