Natasha is sharing with us today her experience of that important first impression and how easily it can damage your business if you are not successful at getting it right
BY NATASHA DU PREEZ
It was our first visit to this hairdresser and like every other visit to a new hairdresser we were very wary and anxious. This is quite a normal feeling for us women. Any woman will tel you that hair is very important – I would actually go so far as to say it forms a huge part of who we are. It’s our showcase to the world and if our hair gets messed up it can really feel like the end of the world, so to speak. Especially if you are a teenager whose whole appearance rests in the hands of the hairdresser!
My daughter, Zani had an appointment for a professional stylized cut, wash and blow dry. She really looked forward to this and was super excited to get the new look. I dropped her off, parked the car and before I could say hair, she was back at the car with a REAL scared look on her face. “Mom, this is an old lady (well old for a teenager is anything from 30 upwards!) and the salon is smelly and Mom I really, really do not want this lady to cut my hair, because she will not know how to do it hip and funky.” Calmly I thought this situation through and decided to go check it out. It really did not smell nice. It smelled like wet cats and dogs. The interior was old … very old. Nothing appealing to look at and not any attempt at interior design at all. I also wanted to leave and let bygones be bygones. So while the hairdresser was busy with another client I told Zani to just have her hair washed and blow dried and then we can leave. Not really convinced she reluctantly agreed to the wash and dry to at least get our money’s worth for the fees already paid via the internet booking.
Now for the surprise twist – the hairdresser had a consultation with Zani explaining exactly what she was going to do, how she was going to cut and feather her hair into the style she wants. She also gave her some pointers on the style and how it would bring out her eyes and features. It was clear that this woman knew exactly what she was talking about. I just knew she had oodles of experience! Zani was hooked on every word and I could see it dawned on her that she should maybe trust this stylist and have her cut her hair. So she put on the brave jacket and gave the go ahead for the cut as well. Wow … this was the first hairdresser ever who actually cut my daughter’s hair exactly the way she wanted. She could not stop babbling about her hair and she kept on looking at herself in the mirror over and over again! “Mom, I will never go to another hairdresser as long as we live here in Brisbane”.
So here’s the thing … I actually needed to have an experience like this. Just to be reminded of how important certain principles are in business. It is so important to look at this situation and learn from it. A couple of important lessons were affirmed for me:
It’s a strong word and often something people tend to forget, overlook and underestimate most of the time. It’s something one always expects from any service provider unconsciously and therefore will not really think twice about the word and its meaning. So here’s my take on it … Experience is something that cannot be bought AT ALL, like in never ever. There is no price tag on experience. Experience comes with time and lots and lots of practice and constant nourishment. There is no quick fix for experience. It is not transferable and it cannot be exchanged for anything in return. One can buy lots of things and probably even happiness to some extend, but experience is the one thing that everyone wants, but can’t buy. You have to be prepared to walk the bumpy road and part of the learning will come from making mistakes and quite a few of them!
We have been doing photography for 15 years and started our business in the days of film. Most photographers reading this won’t even remember a time before digital. Film gave us lots of experience which I would not change for anything in the world. I really appreciate and value my experience. Things that used to be challenging before are just not that big a deal to us anymore. With our experience I know we will be able to pull off most shoots even before we see the location, couple and weather. We know how to make it work and we know to not get all worked up about the weather/venue or body shape. WIth wedding photography you have to use what is available to you – location wise, weather wise and time wise. This is where experience comes in to play big time.
Getting back to my story from earlier… if you are in the beauty industry, you kind of have to look the part in my opinion. This is probably the most important thing for a first impression that the hairdresser got wrong. I always tell my children that a first impression is the most important part of any person or business. Our first impression of this salon was negative to the extent of wanting to get out of there as fast as possible. But because she managed to convince us of her experience as a stylist, we decided to stay. Imagine how many clients this salon might have lost or have lost just because of negative first impressions. If we decided to leave, we would have lost out on this woman’s experience and talent and we would have been none the wiser. I wish I knew her well enough to actually tell her this, because she will have a thriving business by making just a few small changes.
So to sum up our experience … analyze the first impression that you think you are creating when meeting with potential clients. What do you present and how do you present it. Dress according to your business so that you will appeal to all ages. Respect, admire and value the experience you have … it cannot be taken from you ever! Happy gaining experience to all!