There is a huge misconception in our industry, which is that success is tied to technical skills. In other words, the more technically developed our students are the more success he/she will have in the salon/spa. In fact, according to research conducted by Harvard University, only 15% of job success comes from technical skills or hard skills and 85% comes from having well-developed soft and people skills.
Since soft skills are so important to the success of our students, we must take time to reflect on what is considered a soft skill. Soft Skills consist of those skills that are not technical. They are the skills that involve communication, teamwork, collaboration, conflict resolution, time management, business etiquette, customer service, and visual integrity, just to name a few.
As educators, we must look for opportunities to bring soft skill training into the classroom and student salon. After all, students can master technical skills on mannequins, however, they can only practice and develop their soft skills while working with people.
Here are just a few ways to integrate soft skills training:
Goal Setting: Have students set daily, weekly, and monthly goals, such as number of clients, number of retail products, re-books, referrals, and up-services. Have students track their results daily and review successes and areas of opportunity.
Customer Service: Teach students what it means to exceed client expectations and how they can personally provide WOW customer service. After all, customer service begins when we exceed our client’s expectations.
Effective Systems: Educate students on effective systems such as consultation scripts, re-booking scripts, and referral scripts. When we teach students effective systems it will ensure they provide their clients with consistent service experience.
Knowing the Numbers: Students need to get comfortable with numbers and knowing their daily service/retail totals and average service/retail totals.
Marketing: Incorporate daily activities around marketing themselves while working in the student salon. This could involve business cards, getting referrals, marketing on social media, and/or re-booking.
By focusing more of our attention on the 85% of the business, students will be more well-rounded and will possess the skills he/she will need to become successful.
Patti Wanamaker brings 21 years of experience to the Milady team, where she currently serves as an Academic Training Specialist. Her intimate understanding of the salon, school, and beauty industry comes from 18 years of hands-on experience as a multi-faceted training specialist, including 8 years of salon and spa ownership of 3 salons with annual sales of $5 million. Her experience in all 3 areas of our industry allows her to think outside the box and develop innovative trainings that not only inspire, but empower educators/trainers to create the most effective learning environments for their students.