:) Whiskey at the Hairdressers - Discover 3 Surprising Lessons in Sales

My hairdresser (Elle) served a glass of whiskey on New Years Eve.  What a surprise that was at 11am!!  


I just love surprises in customer service.  I am a new customer of Elle's.  

As I usually share everyday experiences and link it to lessons in sales... this is my take on my move to a new hairdressers last year. 

I had to change hairdressers in July because Martina (my previous hairdresser) had to give up her craft after 25 years.  Her back just couldn't take it anymore.  

I was devastated (and shed a tear when she told me). Not only did she know how to do my thick and curly hair, I also had such a laugh going there. It was the real social hub of the village, and you could end up having a conversation on any topic and I met such diverse people when there, which I loved. 

The experience made me think about the complexities of changing suppliers – and the work salespeople need to do to “persuade” a buyer to make the change.  

It is a task many buyers will face this year – re-evaluating their vendors and the value they bring to the table.  

They may not want to change or go to the bother of exploring new vendors (or partners as I prefer to say) but perhaps they have to.   

The truth is that it is a lot more work for them to change suppliers.  They’d prefer to avoid that. 

There are 2 things you really need to do to help them make the move to you. 

  1. Make it really easy for them to change. 
  2. Prove to them in their buying journey with you that you and your team won’t take a lot more of their time if they do make the move. 

I first tired Elle out in August – and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with how she did my hair.  What I did like was that she asked me how I liked it done, she collaborated with me and listened.  She didn’t assume anything and do it her way.  My hair is hard to handle however, and it just didn’t hold. 

We tried it another way the next time and while it was better, it wasn’t what I was used to. 

I was starting to feel frustrated that she couldn’t do it the exact same way that Martina did it. 

3rd time – I went to a different hairdresser.  She told me she could do my hair in 30-minutes, and she was well used to thick hair.   I was hesitant and said it’s never been done in that timeframe before!  But I was stuck as I needed it done early on a Monday morning and no other hairdresser was open around where I live.  Guess what – 30 minutes is not enough time to dry my thick hair.  While it looked good leaving the hairdressers – it felt damp, and it all fell apart by lunch time.  I was frustrated that she didn’t listen to me. 

I would have been happy to pay extra for the 15 minutes needed to dry my hair fully - but their schedule wasn't flexible - they wanted to sell their services that way and it didn't work for me. So I didn’t go back.

4th time – I decided to ask for a referral. At this stage my hair badly needed to be coloured. I went to a very well-known hairdresser – who also had a very high price tag.  I decided I needed a change.  I got a blue streak put in. Overall, I had a good experience there – but I did feel rushed. He didn’t consult with me as to how I like my hair done.  I went with it as I trusted the person who referred me so I trusted in his expertise and hoped it would turn out ok.  

I loved what he did… but after one wash the blue streak turned green!!  He hadn’t explained that he put in a temporary colour and it wouldn’t last.   The overall cost of it was 3 times what I was used to paying.  This hairdresser is also a 45 minute drive from my house where as Elle is 10 minutes down the road. I haven’t gone back since. 

5th time – I decided to try Elle again. It was 2 weeks before Christmas.  I was sick the previous 2 weeks and hadn’t made my Christmas hair appointment!  Elle could fit me in.  She got rid of the awful green streak and made my hair vibrant and shiny again.  I was thrilled.  

She also continued to consult with me on how to best do it.  She tweaked what she did the last 2 times and this time it turned out perfect… and it lasted for a week.  Those of you reading this who get a curly blow dry know how fantastic that is. 

Quick Summary of the sales takeaways – 

What can we learn from the experience of a glass of whiskey at 11am and changing hairdressers?  

  1. Build in lovely little surprises on your buyer’s journey to make a decision.  If they aren’t loving you during their decision making journey with you – they’ll never believe that you will deliver amazing service and the results they want to get once they have signed the contract.
  2. Prove you (and your team) will be mighty to work with.  They are judging you from the first contact with your brand. What information is available for them upfront before they are ready to talk to you –  they are looking at your website, downloads, marketing and customer testimonials.  

If they have to wait longer than expected to hear back from you – that is a warning bell to them. Their fear is that it will take a lot of their time to “train you in” as to how they need things done.   

  1. Be a trusted advisor instead of a salesperson.  Collaborate with them.  Ask brilliant questions – “killer questions” as I call them.  Lead a strategic conversation with them.  This is Step 2 of my Steps to WIN™ Sales Skills Program. 

That’s it.  I am feeling relieved to have got this story and lesson out of my head and shared with you – it’s been stewing in my brain all year.  Phew! 

It being the week where the Christmas credit card bill arrives on Monday and a lot of people get paid on Friday – I am wishing you balance this week. 😊 

I am here to help.  Set up a conversation with me if “nailing your customer’s buying journey” is a priority for you this year.  This is a link to my calendar. 

Thanks for tuning in. Ciara

P.S.  I'll share tips and insights on a very important sales strategy for you this year - keeping and delighting your top clients.  Look out for that when I visit your inbox next.  Sign up for my Mighty Moves in Sales emails if you want it to land straight in there.  Click here to ensure you don't miss them. 


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