At a recent MBC Austin event, the running joke was about a hair stylist, and what she knew about the people in the room.   One gentleman even said  ”I’m going to see her tomorrow, so she’ll have new dirt on me next week!”

Last week I asked a group of people how much they know about their Hair Stylist.    The answer:  not much.    Then I asked:  what does she know about you?   Without fail, every person I asked told me some things they had told their hair stylist:  their kids, their jobs, their pets, etc.   My unofficial research spanned 90 miles, and the people visit different stylists, some only go to walk-in places like SuperCuts.  Yet, each had the same response.

WHY is that?            HOW does  ”The infamous Hair Stylist”  know so much about us?


Imagine this scenario.

You walk in to the hair stylist.   She asks  ”Do you want your hair cut short?”  No.  ”Do you want to leave it long?” Yes.  ”Do you want to color it?”  Yes.  ”Do you to die it black?”  No.  ”Brown?”  No.  ”Blond Highlights?”  No.   “A little red spunk?”  Yes.     That’s exhausting!

What’s the better question?   “What type of hair cut would you like today?”

YET…  I hear those types of interrogations by sales professionals with few or many years of experience, and almost any industry.    A sales person with many years of experience recently argued that if he doesn’t ask pointed questions, the customer will go places he doesn’t want to go, and he may not get the opportunity to tell the customer everything there is to know about his fabulous product.

My response:   STOP SELLING…. START HELPING!!   If you don’t know what the customer wants, there’s no way you can help them.  Or, what John Maxwell said  ”People don’t care how much you know… until they know how much you care!”

 KEY #2:  active listening skills.

Hairstylists  ”DIG DEEP” to get to the “root” of the question as they get to the “root” of your hair follicles.

Next time you ask a prospect or current customer a question, Stop. Truly listen.  Then ask 2-3 more follow-on questions to get more specifics on their answers, and truly understand what they want.  More on Active Listening here from Intuit.

On, July 5th, I went to HEB.  The bag boy asked me about my holiday, to which I replied briefly and politely, and then asked him about his.    He relived the day telling me moment after moment of his 4th of July celebration.   Now, to his defense, I sometimes ask too many Open Ended Questions.  I could be a hairstylist… if only I wasn’t banned from using sharp objects.


ACTION STEP:  Next time you’re at your Hair Stylist, count how many open ended questions (s)he asks.

If you find that you’re pushing your product too hard, and somehow not Maximizing your Return on Effort (ROE),  give me a call.  We can formulate a conversation guide that will be more likely to yield positive results for both you and your clients.   512-222-7317.   My goal is to help you EXCEED yours!

Make great things happen,  Kerry

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