Business Management

The Art of Asking: The Nail Tech’s Guide to Getting What You Want

From minor inconveniences to major requests, learn to ask in a way that yields results.

Have you ever wondered the “right” way to ask for something? Whether it’s something small, like (politely) asking a client to make up her damn mind!, or something serious, like getting a business loan, there’s an art to asking in a way that will yield results. 

Here, we cover some of the most common nail tech requests and the most effective way to communicate them.

How to Ask a Nail Professional...

For Advice: Asking for advice is a good way to begin building a relationship with a more knowledgeable nail tech. You can simply send her a text or email! Don’t overthink it. Most people will be more than thrilled to help answer your questions. 

Tip: Compliment her skills and explain why you are specifically asking her instead of all the other techs you know, making her feel special, and will likely improve the odds of her saying yes!

To Be Your Mentor:

If you are asking for a relationship beyond a bit of tip-trading, try to get to know the tech first. Ask her for some advice, and feel out whether or not she may be willing to take you on as her student or trainee. Grab coffee or lunch with her and see if your personalities match and are compatible both in a professional way and as friends. If someone is going to be your mentor, it’s important that you both enjoy spending time together.

To Knock Off the Gossip:

Gossiping is unprofessional, especially when in front of clients who will likely feel uncomfortable listening to you air the dirty laundry of others. If you work near a tech who can’t seem to keep her mouth shut, try redirecting the conversation or ignoring her when she makes inappropriate comments. Hopefully, she will get the hint. If she doesn’t, bring up your distaste for gossiping in private. Say something like, “When we’re working, I prefer not to discuss our opinions of fellow nail techs or clients. Is it OK if we stick to topics like activities, pop culture, or fun family stuff?” Hopefully once it’s brought to her attention, she’ll realize she’s been unkind.

To Stop Borrowing YourStuff: Approach her calmly and explain that there have been a few occasions where you spend time looking for your own belongings or that you had been saving that last bit of glitter she used for a special client. Whatever the reason, do not attack her. Instead, patiently explain that you’d prefer her to use her own supplies.

How to Ask Clients

For Social Media Favors:

Chances are your client will check her phone while in the salon. This can prompt a casual request for an Instagram follow or a “Like” on Facebook. If you don’t make it a big deal, she won’t see it as one. Say, “Do you follow me on Instagram? Search my handle!” Make sure your business cards include all your social media info so clients can find you easily.

For something a bit more involved, like a Yelp review, try to incentivize clients with a special discount. But make sure they’re happy with their service first! You can also offer an additional service, like a free five-minute hand massage or quick accent nail art if you don’t want to lower your prices.

If she reposts your photo to her social media and a friend of hers becomes your client because of it, show her some gratitude by upgrading her service, throwing in a free (low-cost) retail item, or even just reaching out to thank her.

Be careful not to pressure a client to re-post something she doesn’t want to. Either subtly suggest it and then let it go, or wait for it to occur organically.

 

To Be More Respectful of Your Business:

Whether it’s requesting a pre-payment for no-shows, demanding chronically late clients to show up on time, or encouraging an indecisive client to make up her mind on color, always approach the situation with sensitivity and respect, even if you feel you have been disrespected. Patiently explain why her lateness or other behavior negatively affects your business, and hopefully she will understand and change her habits. Avoid a negative, aggressive, or condescending tone in order to truly get through to the client. If she doesn’t understand the issue, or if she says she does but continues to repeat the behavior, it might be time to ask her to find another nail tech.

To Refer Friends to You:

Tip: Don’t exaggerate your appreciation, but do let them know you value their business.  

Most clients will genuinely want to help you out when they can. It may simply not occur to them to send their friends your way — which means you have to ask. At the end of the service, hand your client three business cards and says something like, “I’d really appreciate it if you could let a few friends know about the service you received today.” You can also offer an incentive to get current clients to spread the word about your talents, like 50% off their next service when they refer someone.

About Their Health Information:

Before beginning a service, ask your client if she has any conditions you should know about. Ask somewhat quietly as some people prefer privacy with this topic, and ask with a smile, as some people get nervous discussing their personal ailments. She may be diabetic, undergoing chemotherapy, or have eczema. You will never know until you ask. Even better, ask all your first-time clients to fill out a written medical questionanaire and update it periodically. Find a sample client consultation form at  www.nailsmag.com/handouts.

How To Ask for Serious Business Stuff

Like a Business Loan: Of all the asking you will do in your career, asking for a loan may be the most overwhelming and complicated. This is because your business venture is likely dependent on your available funds. This can cause additional stress to the already intimidating environment of a bank. It can be in a bank’s interest to offer you a loan because they profit as you pay it off. However, not all loan applications will be accepted due to reasons like poor credit or a history of late payments. When asking for a loan, ensure you have prepared your documents in a professional manner and that you are asking for an amount that is realistic. If you have poor credit, it may be complicated to get funding: You may not qualify for the amount you asked for, if at all, and your interest rate will be higher than others with spotless credit will pay. Consider asking for the absolute minimum you need so you have less to pay off. While you may have to make some sacrifices with your vision, it’s more important to ensure your future financial stability. Also consider asking close family or friends if they are willing to invest in your business. Explain why you need the money, ways in which they will benefit from lending it to you, and most importantly, the conditions under which you will repay them. Perhaps they will own a portion of your business, or perhaps in addition to paying them back, you will offer them free services for life! Respect their decision if they do not want to give you a loan. If they do agree, clarify the loan terms between you and your family member or friend, as a broken promise can ruin relationships, especially when dealing with money. For both your sake and theirs, put it down in writing. Lastly, if you can, try to make it work with whatever money you already have. Investing in a large fashionable salon on a busy corner is great, but it’s also OK to start out small in a studio if that’s all your resources will allow until you save more money.

Or Help With a Trademark: Getting a trademark gives you exclusive rights to your salon or product name and logo within your industry throughout the country. This means no businesses will be able to imitate yours without legal consent (like franchising). A lawyer will help you through the process, so don’t get too caught up in knowing every single technicality. But do as much research as you can for a good trademark lawyer in your area and prepare before meeting with them. Be sure you will want to keep the name and logo for many years to come. Print out necessary documents and have all the information needed to complete the forms. Especially when dealing with legal matters, portraying yourself in a more professional light will likely improve your experience.

Whether asking for a favor big or small:

Always respect those you are working with. Politely accept someone’s answer if it is no, and show gratitude when the answer is yes! Simply having a delightful personality can get you far in life. 

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