Articles > Business > Unfiltered with Robert Cromeans – Consultations
February 9, 2015

Unfiltered with Robert Cromeans – Consultations

John Paul Mitchell Systems' Global Artistic Director, Robert Cromeans, knows what it takes to give a successful consultation. It's a groundbreaking innovation called "talking." Find out Robert's tips for effective communication before going behind the chair! 


If you’re looking for business advice sweetly wrapped in a politically correct bow and delivered with a scoop of vanilla on top…um, turn the page. ‘Cuz you’re not going to get anything like that from John Paul Mitchell Systems’ Global Artistic Director, Robert Cromeans. What you WILL get from this owner of the insanely successful A Robert Cromeans Salon in San Diego, Tulsa and Las Vegas, is stripped down, no bull, unvarnished truth—carved out of years working in…and loving…the beauty industry. You’ll get dollop of reality in back-of-the-napkin-sized portions that, when you stack them up, equal a virtual master’s degree in salon business.

So let’s start at the beginning. “I don’t care if you’re texting your ass off all day—a consultation is about talking to your guest!” declares Robert. And so it begins. This month, Robert Cromeans and BTC come together for a rant on the importance of consultations.

1. “Consultation is often the part that’s missing in every salon experience. Today, I was watching a kid in my salon and I saw the guest’s confused look, and I realized the little sh#t had no idea what he was going to do. That’s why our industry retention averages are so low—1 in 10. Can we change that to 1 in 5? A great consultation will help.”

2. Be Yourself
“If you’re not a firm handshake person, there are other ways to communicate. And, not everyone likes to be touched. If I have a more introverted guest, for example, I might hold my chest in a gesture of respect, which might be more comfortable for her.”

3. “Consultation is the beginning of outstanding service. Before the guest sits down, think about what you want to make happen. A rebook? An upgrade? A product purchase? Make these parts of the consultation.”

4. Play the Name Game
“I coach my kids to use the guest’s name at least 12 times during a visit. That’s not me being Rain Man. Nothing is more powerful than using someone’s name. ‘This is the smoothing product I was telling you about earlier, Mary, and this is what I recommend.’ It says you took time out of your day to focus completely on her.” 



5. Great consultation questions
“‘What are your goals and what are your limitations?’ Answer: ‘I want to keep it long.’ That’s your first limitation. You’re not going to talk about short cuts if her husband will kill her for cutting her hair. Another one: ‘How much time do you have today?’ If she’s crunched, honor that and she’ll love you. If she’s open, say, ‘Mary, I have a treat for you and you deserve it!’ Offer her an unforgettable salon experience.”

6. “Ask yourself every day—are my guests in love with me?”

7. “Treat each new guest like she will become your favorite guest. Treat each existing guest like it’s the first time.”

8. #@*% Language!
“Not, ‘What are you having done today?’ Instead, ‘What services would you enjoy today?’”

9. “The industry you chose is interactive human experience, so learn to talk to your guests. If you truly like people and get fulfillment out of making them happy, this is the pirate’s life for you!”

10. “For selling products, ask, ‘What do you like in your hair, Mary, volume or control?’ If you say volume, I’ll hit you with Extra Body. If you want control I’ll explain how Marula Oil or Super Skinny products are refining. If you’re ‘bilingual’ and want a little of both—music to my ears! I get to recommend two beauty regimens! It’s all about getting down to what’s most important to your guest.”

11. “Some people like to script the consultation. But I’m not a ‘welcome to Hardee’s’ guy. The language has to be comfortable for you, and it has to suit the person in your chair. I’m 52, and there might be things a 20-year-old in my chair has no idea about. Same with males vs. females. Don’t talk to guys about layers, for example, talk to them about bulk.”