5 Considerations in Mastering the Client Consultation

Industry graduates are taught from the get-go the importance of conducting a thorough client consultation. 

The consultation forms the backbone of any effective (or potentially ineffective) treatment. It serves as one of the first touchpoints a client has with a business and with their therapist. So while the onus is on the therapist to get to know their client during a consultation, so too will a client seek to get to know their therapist.

Salon owner and beauty therapist, Melissa Young has just short of 14 years experience in the industry. She holds an Advanced Diploma in Beauty Therapy, and today operates her own namesake business out of Sydney’s bustling Glebe.

Melissa’s treatment menu is extensive – a culmination of advanced skin, brow, lash, wax, cosmetic tattooing, and tanning treatments. Alongside her multifaceted skill set, Melissa’s consultation process is most impressive. Thorough, reciprocal, and realistic, Melissa is conscious not to take from a script, but to apply her years of industry knowledge to the unique needs of the client that sits before her.

Inside Melissa Young Beauty

Learning to conduct a consultation

Melissa commenced learning the art of the client consultation during her college training. She says having gained practical experience collaborating with other industry representatives, including dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, and then transitioning between clinical settings and spa environments provided her “invaluable insights” into the diverse approaches to consultations across different fields. 

“These experiences have transformed my perception of consultations from a mere preliminary step to a vital opportunity to deeply comprehend my clients’ needs, preferences, and concerns. I now view consultations as a means to establish trust, tailor treatments, and deliver optimal results for each unique individual.”

The salon owner sees learning as a “continuous journey with room for growth and refinement”. Taking time to update and refine the consultation with her team is of great importance to her. She’s learnt to be observant, and to analyse each client interaction thoroughly. “By reviewing the client’s journey, questions asked, photos taken, and feedback received during appointments, emails, and phone calls, I continuously refine and enhance our consultation approach to better serve each client.”

When it comes to conducting a consultation, time is no object, as Melissa believes that understanding a client’s needs and expectations are paramount to achieving their desired end goal.

Melissa breaks down the client consultation process into five key pillars:

1. “Client Expectations: Understanding what the client hopes to achieve from the treatment is essential. This includes discussing their desired outcomes, concerns, and any specific goals they have in mind. 

2. Medical History: Knowing your client’s medical history, including any underlying health conditions, allergies, medications, or previous treatments, is crucial to assess their suitability for the procedure and identify any potential risks. 

3. Skin Analysis: Conducting a thorough skin analysis helps determine the client’s skin type, condition, and specific concerns. This information guides the selection of appropriate products or treatments tailored to their needs. 

4. Treatment Options: Explaining the available treatment options you offer, including their benefits, risks, and expected results, allows the client to make an informed decision based on their preferences and budget. 

5. Home Care Products: Recommending the right home care products for the client’s skin type and concerns is essential for maintaining and enhancing the results of the treatment. Providing guidance on skincare routines and product usage ensures optimal outcomes.”

Avoid client consultation mistakes

According to Melissa, therapists should ensure they practice active listening in order to make the most of their client consultation. “Some therapists may rush through the consultation, focusing more on promoting treatments rather than truly engaging with the client to understand their unique requirements.”

Additionally, therapists should ensure they ask a substantial number of probing questions, as outlined above. “Without a thorough understanding of these aspects, it can be challenging to recommend the most suitable treatments and products for the client,” Melissa says.

The routine a client takes home with them is just as important as a treatment to their results, so educating on correct aftercare instructions, including product information, is invaluable. She adds, “failing to set realistic expectations with clients regarding the outcomes of treatments, potential risks, and the need for follow-up sessions can lead to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction. It is essential for any therapist to be transparent and honest with clients about what they can expect from the treatments offered.”

Melissa Young

“Building trust with your clients is key to a successful clinic. Be honest, transparent, and always communicate openly with them about their skin concerns and treatment options. Never hesitate to seek guidance or second opinions when faced with challenges, as collaboration and learning from others in the field can lead to better outcomes for your clients and advance your knowledge.”

“And, take care of yourself! Practicing self-care, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and staying passionate about your craft will not only benefit you personally but will also reflect in the quality of care you provide to your clients. Beauty therapy is such a rewarding profession that allows you to make a positive impact on people’s lives, so approach your work with dedication, empathy, and a commitment to continuous improvement.”

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