Well, the idea of holding hands is nothing new in our profession. We hold hands with strangers all day, everyday in the salon. Isn’t it great! But, that isn’t the kind of hand holding we are going to chat about today.

Nail Professionals who want to be successful need to contemplate what it means to be a hand holder. We are in the service industry and it is our job to teach clients. Think of your clients as infants. They need to be taught how to schedule an appointment, how to sit properly in your chair, how to hold their hands, when to move, when not to move, why we do what we do, why picking their nails off is naughty, etc. The list is VERY long and in the end, we need to hold their hand every step of the way.

First contact is crucial. You need to be clear when informing your potential clientele how to schedule an appointment with you. You also need to professional in your conversations with them. If you prefer a phone call, speak clearly of what they should expect from you and the services they will receive. If you prefer text, text in a professional manner. Some nail professionals may argue that texting is very unprofessional. I disagree as long as you remember that this person is a potential client. DO NOT — USE abbreviations or text shortcuts. These clients are not your friends. Text them as if you were speaking to them. R U wanting a gel mani? No. No. NO. Are you wanting to schedule a gel manicure? Much better. I know.. buzz killer. It’s so much faster to text the other way, but it isn’t professional and these clients want to pay you their hard earned money, not hang out at the mall.

Next is their first appointment in your chair. Such a fabulous moment! You have a new client…. and you need to teach them everything from the start. When I have a new client, I ask them if they have ever had a gel service before. (I only offer gel services, but you can adapt this scenario to whatever services you offer) If they say yes, I let them know I may do things differently than their previous nail professional and then I explain EVERYTHING as I do it. If they say no, I welcome them to the world of gel and let them know I will explain EVERYTHING so they will understand why I do what I do. Hand holding at its finest. I explain eponychiums, hyponichiums, healthy nail plates, what cuticle is, what the free edge is, why we remove shine, how many layers of the nail plate they have and how many I remove, why I score the nail file, why I cleanse the nail, why it’s important NOT to touch ANYTHING (give specific examples) for the rest of the service, where the lamp is, when I expect them to go in and come out, why it is not a good idea to turn the lamp on over and over, why they have to hold their hand still while I paint fine lines, why I prefer a certain shaped manicure free of bumps and how I achieve it with top coat, what to do if the top coat feels hot, why the top coat feels hot to some and not to others, how having regular manicures will improve the health of their nails, why picking is so awful for the health of their nails, what to do with the nail file I give them at the end of their service, why I remove the tacky layer at the end of the service and lastly, … Gosh, that was a LOT of hand holding. (I know that may seem like TOO much to tell a new client, but it happens slowly over the course of an hour to an hour and a half) BUT! My clients leave my chair knowing I know my stuff, with a plethora of knowledge they won’t remember and return knowing I will tell them everything all over again until they are trained. And a trained client – is a fabulous client!

Lastly – did you notice how I didn’t tell you the last thing above?? The last thing might be the most important part of hand holding. Scheduling your clients before they leave. By doing that, you let them know that you want them as a client. You also begin the process of pre-booking which helps us as nail professionals have a view of upcoming income. My key phrase is: would you like to schedule your next appointment? Easy as that. They have the opportunity to say yes or to say they will let me know. In the end, they leave my chair feeling like a million bucks with a beautiful manicure that is a walking billboard of my work. And if I did my job right, they send their friends which gives me the opportunity to do it all again!

Holding hands. Who knew it was such a process?

Set your goals… crush ’em and then set some more!