I never expected to be writing about lessons learned from a hair stylist. But, my last visit at a hair salon in Colombia was probably one of my most enlightening and educational experiences.
Rossy had turned the downstairs of her house into a hair salon. When I got there, she asked me to take a seat and began running her fingers in my hair. Her voice was filled with excitement and enthusiasm about working with my hair. I told her I just wanted a simple, natural color to cover my roots.
She went silent for a few seconds with her fingers still going through my hair. I could see she was lost somewhere in her thoughts, imagining what she could create with my hair. Looking at me in the mirror, she began proposing the plan she had envisioned for my ‘new’ look.
“These orange highlights don’t accentuate your green eyes. This dark color in your roots does not compliment your skin tone. I have the perfect color combination that will do both.” I’ve never been one to fuss over my hair. I still have the same hair style as my high school days. This whole color combination thing sounded a little too radical for me. Normally, I would insist on keeping it simple. But I agreed to the change which resulted in going from a brunette to blonde.
So why would I consider this an enlightening and educational experience?
There are a few things I observed about Rossy, which I believe are strongly related to building trust and achieving success with clients, employees and personal relationships.
Being Passionate an Dedicated About What You Do
Rossy has been a hair stylist for 27 years. That day, she spoke about hair color like she had just discovered gold! When I asked her about the whole ‘color combination’ she ran over to grab a color chart. She explained the amount of effort, research and experiments she has done to be able to visualize a perfect match for each individual person. By pointing out colors on the chart, she went on to tell me about my own features and how excited she was about bringing them out with the prefect hair color combination.
Her obvious passion and dedication to hair color gained my trust. Although, I had no idea of the outcome of the change, I was comfortable and at ease with letting her do it.
Think about it, how can others care about what you’re talking about, if you’re not passionate and dedicated to it yourself?
Show You Care About Them
Did you notice how Rossy explained WHY she recommended a color combination and personalized it to me? She never tried to sell me the idea or try to impose it as a mean to get something from me. Her focus was not on convincing me that she knew best. Her attention was on the best thing for ME to ‘look good’ and took the time to explain the WHY. At this point, she captivated me in going for the change and had gained my trust further. Even though this would require three hours of her time, she ensured that my experience would be a comfortable and pleasant one. While I waited for my color to sit in my hair, we sat together in her kitchen over coffee.
Stepping away from the spotlight and your position to think and care beyond yourself is a strong trust builder. Sincerely caring about others needs, concerns and interests commands loyalty.
Being Real: Authenticity and Vulnerability
This one has always captured my attention. It’s incredible how many people have a hard time with this with clients, employees and especially with people they don’t know well. Rossy had just met me. She shared how 30 years ago, in Manizales, Colombia, it was not easy for a woman to have a dream and start her own business. She told me about her struggles and the struggles she still faces today. I bring this one up, because her having opened up to me in this way, made me trust her more. She no longer was a random hair dresser, she was ‘real’ human being. Being real doesn’t necessarily mean telling people your life story. By acknowledging you don’t know and asking for help or admitting your mistakes and taking ownership or saying, “I was wrong and I’m sorry,” will bring out your human side.
Like it or not, it’s our human side that gains people’s trust, the side that will get people to do anything for you or want to follow you.
True to Your Word
When it was over and the towel on my head was removed, I was blond! I was not used to it, but she was right. It actually looked good and she had done an amazing job!
Remember, words are not enough to maintain a long lasting relationship build on trust. It’s our ACTIONS and behaviors towards delivering on our promise that will make a difference.
Success in both our personal and professional lives depends highly on our ability to be effectively interdependent. Building a strong foundation of trust from others is key. By being passionate about what you do, caring about others, being real and being true to your promise will be a major leap towards achieving this successfully.
I’d love to know what you think about these 4 things. Would you add anything to this?