Wording 2 comments


I am an inquisitive, skeptical guy by nature. I had a good time with the product rep from the largest Canadian hair care line when she was in the school giving us all an introduction to their line. I won’t get into details – suffice to say by the end she was probably crossing her fingers behind her back hoping I wouldn’t ask anymore questions. “This is our flat iron spray, and it smells just – ” “Does it contain glycerin?” “I…umm…I’m not…entirely…sure… but just smell the wonderful smell…”.

Everyone’s selling something in this industry and wording plays a big role in whether you perceive someone as a salesman or an educator. I’m going to use an easy example to demonstrate how insidious the wording and the renaming of “salesman” to “Educator” can be. I’m sure we’ve all heard this “fact”:

“Clients are 60% more likely to return when you have sold them a product.”

It’s the kind of thing that rolls off the tongue of salesmen, and rolls right into the brains of little hairdresserettes across the country. It’s got statistics! 60% is a lot, boy, I bet you never  realized that the type and amount of retail you sell is so key to your client retention!

The hairdressers then proceed to disseminate this quote among their co-workers, with the authority of having heard it from someone who is paid to travel around and talk about products.

Pretty soon it’s one of those things that is just taken as self evident among the hairdressing community.

But correlation does not imply causation. Maybe 90% of all the serial killers in the world eat bread regularly. Does that mean eating bread will make you a serial killer? Would you jump off a bridge if a product rep told you it would get you more business?

For instance, I can pull a random statistic out of my arse too:

“Return clients are X% more likely to buy product from you”

Makes sense – they know and trust you, like you enough to keep coming back, so of course they’re more likely to buy product from you, right? And I basically just reworded “Clients are 60% more likely to return when you have sold them a product” to take the bias out.

The snake oil salesmen of this industry bug me sometimes.


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2 thoughts on “Wording

  • Jus

    I read that statement somewhere on hairbrained too. I was going to ask the guy to prove it or at least where did he get his statistics from.

    I also wrote a blog post on that topic too when I read some other blog post on referrals. Like I said there, the market is finnicky and moody. Create loyalists and you’ll always have a paycheck. Create evangelists and you’ll never need to ask for a referral. How do you create loyalists and evangelists? Service. Obviously if a hairdresser/stylist wants their clients to look and feel awesome all the time, then they had better tell me to buy the same product being used at the time of service. That’s selling. Or is it? So many things about the business side of anything perplex me. I can’t imagine that women, who apparently are the biggest twitter users, are scoping twitter for advice on the next anything. I’d rather have those women in my chair than tweeting to them.

    This is a good post. I can’t wait until I can actually start cutting hair, then all this nonsense I spout out wouldn’t sound so blah-zay

  • mikeb2mr

    The difference between an educator and sales person one is selling, one is giving you the facts to make an informed choice,a sales person works on commission of said sales, an educator does not get that incentive, sales stimulates investment in education, with out support education sales would fall flat.so it’s a union that works both need each other.
    Suggest that at this time you need them more than they you doors open in this industry working with a sales man can get you on to artistic team or a platform artist!!!
    Clients who buy products may well come back. But it is Service, skill , honest , knowledge, and that consultation that builds up a reputation and loyal following.
    Mike B2MR