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The initial assessment is a vital part of any beauty therapy.  All treatments are based on what you discover during the client consultation.  The correct way to accomplish a valid assessment during the consultation is to ask the relevant questions.  This in turn will enable you to recognise your clients’ needs.  Care and attention to detail is the key to a successful salon and the consultation is no exception to this.


A good therapist will use the clients’ body language, along with open questioning techniques.  It must be agreed mutually that the time and money involved suits both your client and yourself.  If either of these are unrealistic, then the client will eventually go elsewhere. 

Asking questions is a skill in its own right.  If you really want to find out what your client thinks then this is the only way.  How you ask, what you ask and the way you ask it is more important than you think.  So it is vitally important that you give as much care and attention to the questions as to the actual treatment. 


All the information you gather should be written on the client record card for future reference.  The card is also a good reminder of the questions to be asked.  There are only two types of questions and these are open and closed.  Open questions are ones like “how are you today?”  The client cannot respond with a simple yes or no, a more detailed response is required so these questions are a good way to break the ice.


Closed questions are ones like “have you ever had high blood pressure?”  The client needs only to answer “yes I have” or no I haven’t”.  Sometimes closed questions are needed but as a general rule try to keep them to a minimum.

A good therapist will use open or leading questions to put her client at ease.  For example;


·        How far have you come?

·        Where did you manage to park the car?

·        What’s the weather doing out there?

·        How did you hear about us?


Is much better than;


·        Did you get the bus?

·        Has it stopped raining?

·        Have you been here before?

·        Is this your lunch hour?
As you can see the first lot of questions start a conversation and the second requires only one word answers.  Always try to ask the first type of question.

After you have asked your question, the next step is obviously to listen to the answer.  Listening is a skill that is often understated.  Knowing when to stop talking and when to listen is a skill in itself.  Always try to follow these tips:


·        Provide encouragement and confirm you have been listening by nodding and agreeing with points raised.

·        Always try to keep eye contact.

·        Never interrupt while someone is speaking.

·        Do not formulate your reply until the client has finished speaking, you may not have all the facts.

·        By really listening to what is being said, you may pick up on what the client isn’t telling you.


The information recorded on a client's record card is completely confidential and must be stored in a secure place that is not accessed by any unauthorised person. The data protection act 1998 lays down the legal guidelines that must be followed in protecting client information.

Observation is another technique a good therapist will use when first meeting a client.  The way she sits, the way she holds her shoulders, the way she walks and the way she makes eye contact will sometimes tell you more about her than any words could. 

You should always clarify any details given to you by the client to ensure that they are correct.  It is especially important to do this with telephone bookings.  All the relevant details should be repeated back to the client.  Avoid doing this too loudly if you are standing at the reception as the information could be of a delicate nature (for example a bikini wax) and she may not appreciate everyone knowing about it.


Consultation tips

Always greet your client warmly and by name. If it is the first time you have treated them introduce yourself.

Make sure they are comfortable, provide them with a chair that has back support.

Make sure you have all the necessary records that need to be filled in during consultation

Maintain eye contact and use open body language

Use open questions beginning with the words, who, what, why, how, when, which and where?

Closed questions may be used when a simple yes or no is required and probing questions when you need more information than the client is providing.

Don't spend too long on the consultation just allow sufficient time to ensure all information is collected and given.  Never stand over a client when doing a consultation, as this can be intimidating.


It is always a good idea to have a copy of the salons price list to hand.  A good treatment list will have the cost, time taken and a brief list of what is included in the treatment.  Be sure that any claims you make about products are correct and that any sales you make are of benefit to the client.  For example selling a product for oily skin to someone with dry skin will only make the condition worse. 


Some of the issues raised in a consultation will be of a delicate nature, so try to ensure that it takes place in a private room, the middle of a busy salon is not the place to discuss a chin wax.  Be gentle and understanding of any problems the client may have and always reassure them that whatever the problem is, it is completely normal.  Never patronise a client and remember that however trivial the problem may seem to you, it could be something that your client is very concerned about.


Make sure your client has realistic expectations from the treatment (if you do find any miracle treatments please tell us about them).  Regular training and visits from manufacturers can benefit any salon by making sure that the information they give out is relevant and up to date.


A warm drink can be offered to clients who are having a longer treatment, although clients who are having a lay down treatment such as a massage should not be offered a hot drink until the treatment is finished.


Finally, the most important piece of advice.  Always smile.  When your client enters the shop, greet them with a smile.  When you are talking and asking questions, smile.  When you answer the phone, smile (yes you can even subconsciously tell if someone is smiling on the other end of the phone).  And when your client leaves, smile as you say goodbye.  A client is much more likely to come back for another treatment to a salon with smiley faces than one where everyone is miserable.

Please feel free to contact us on 07971 751222 with any enquiries or email us at admin@p4btraining.co.uk