Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Consultant

I've noticed a recent increase in the number of sisters writing BlaqKofi with questions regarding their locks or locking situations. My first response is always, "have you discussed this with your consultant?"

Because crossing over to naturalness can be scary and somewhat uncertain, I seek to establish a comfortable atmosphere for clients to candidly discuss their natural hair transition - starting with our first contact.  This is reinforced through our dialogue during the consultation, installation and follow up visit. Why?  Because I'm passionate about Sisterlocks and guiding others to the freedom of naturalness.
“Passion is something within you that provides the continual enthusiasm, focus, and energy you need to succeed.  But unlike feel-good motivation derived from external sources, true passion has a more spiritual nature.  It comes from within."

            Jack Canfield
            “The Success Principles”

What Questions Should I Ask the Consultant?
I’m often asked and often see this question on line, “what questions should I ask during the consultation.”  The typical responses are:  “How long have they been doing Sisterlocks?  Number of clients?  Pricing?  Ask to see photos of their clients. Retightening fees, etc. 
Ask a Better Question
While this basic information is important, I suggest you ask a better question.   Other than a quality product, service and locking experience, THE most determining factor between one consultant and another should be: do I feel comfortable in this person’s presence and environment?  Is this someone I would want to establish a relationship with?  Would I want to spend 3-4 hours a month with this person?

You’ll notice that I didn’t include price as one of the determining factors.  Most consultants in a geographical region will have similar pricing.  I remind you, that you get what you pay for.  I’d gladly pay extra to be in a comfortable environment with someone I trust and enjoy.  If there is a large disparity in price, ask questions to determine why.

Limited Selections
Not every region has the luxury of multiple consultants from which to choose.  Some, states – like my new home of Oklahoma – had no trainees or consultants until I became certified in March 2008.  (We now have two Certified Consultants, (a warm welcome to Nycole!) and two trainees. I have clients from Arkansas and Kansas because they have few if any Consultant options.  This scenario makes the Consultant selection even more important – because you are investing travel time and cost each month.  Some choose to travel to receive quality service in a comfortable environment with a Consultant they enjoy.

Do Your Homework
After having your basic questions answered, and by the way, do your homework first.  You should know the answers to the basics prior to arriving at the consultation.  Otherwise, how will you know if you’re getting accurate information?  And, if the information you receive doesn’t jive with your research and what’s documented on the official Sisterlocks website – ASK QUESTIONS!  This can be done in a manner without causing offense.  If the consultant is offended, that should be a red flag.

Example:  “I noticed on the official Sisterlocks website that I should receive a Starter Kit with my Sisterlocks package.  Do you offer this as part of your package?”  (Notice I stated, “official” Sisterlocks website, not what BlaqKofi or Pookie or Chante ‘dem said on their blog.)

Perhaps she simply forgot to mention it to you.  Perhaps she’s temporarily out and waiting on her supply delivery.  If she doesn’t have a good explanation and if it’s not included in your package – red flag.

Other possible questions during consultation:

  1. Certified Consultant or Trainee?
    Check out the Sisterlocks Trainee web page….there are three to four times more trainees than Certified Consultants.  Have you ever wondered why?

    There are some really qualified trainees who have been doing Sisterlocks for sometime.  Some simply choose not to take the time, effort and cost to go through the certification process. Or perhaps Sisterlocks may be supplemental income to a full time job or household.  Some trainees simply want to be able to do their own, or their children's hair.

    Once when my regular consultant couldn’t fit me in I had a local trainee do my hair. She had been doing Sisterlocks for years.  In questioning her, she shared that certification “just wasn’t important” to her.  Yet, she had lots of clients and did an excellent job with my locks.

    I became certified before another consultant in my area, despite the fact that she had been doing locks a year longer than me.  Her delay was a mix up in the paperwork at the corporate office. What’s important is the timeframe that they have been a trainee and the
    WHY they aren’t certified.
  1. What hours/days do you work?
    Be sure your Consultant's schedule will work with yours.  Some Consultants work part-time or limited hours.
  1. What are your rescheduling guidelines?
    Life happens, however, if there are consistent cancellations, missed appointments, etc. without calling, a Consultant may choose to charge a fee or simply not reschedule you.  That’s why it’s important to discuss hours of operation and any specific scheduling challenges you may have (i.e. a doctor, flight attendant, on-call work, rotating shifts, etc.)
  1. During the follow-up visit what service will I receive?
    The follow-up visit, part of your installation package, should include a complimentary retightening.  If not - red flag. 
  1. How long will my retightening appointments last?
  1. What if I have problems with my locks requiring extra time during retightenings; is there an additional charge?Sometimes there is lock slippage, not uncommon in some of the sensitive areas such as the nape, front hairline and around the ears, which may require additional time during the retightening session.  Normal slippage is typically repaired during the session.  However, I charge an hourly rate for repairs due to negligence on the part of the client (i.e. not braiding and banding before washing, using unauthorized hair products, etc.)
  1. What tool do you use to install and retighten locks?
    The answer should be “the official Sisterlocks tool.”  I have read accounts of Consultants using other tools.  However, to have “official” Sisterlocks only the Sisterlocks tool should be used.

  2. Why did you choose to become a Sisterlocks Consultant?
    There are a variety of answers to this question.  Whatever the response, trust your intuition.
The best consultants are those who truly embrace the essence of Dr. Cornwell’s dream of sharing the beauty of naturalness through Sisterlocks.  If the Consultant has an innate passion, you’ll feel it and know that you’re in good hands on your journey to natural hair freedom.

Certified Sisterlocks Consultant
Hair:  Two-week old braid out.  Haven't done much with my locks during the winter weather of hats and scarves.


Anonymous said...

How are your Mother's locks coming? Would love to see an up dated photo as well as how many more seniors have decided tp cross over...

Silverlocks said...

What an awesome post. I asked most if not all of those questions before deciding on my consultant. I am proud to say that between her professionalism and your blog it inspired me to take the class this December, and I have alreay installed my four year old daughter Chloe. I too would love to see updated photos of your mom's hair. Please visit my blog and see my babies hair
I tell everyone with doubts to check out your blog. Thanks girl

BlaqKofi said...

I don't get home quite as often since I started my Sisterlocks business. But will get some updated pics of mom's locks in January when I travel to Texas. Her locks remain beautiful and growing! Thanks for asking, she'll get a kick out of it.

Silverlocks, thanks for the love and congrats on taking the class.

Happiest Nappy said...

I love this post Blaq! Perfect timing for me too.

knatural beauty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brunsli said...

Very good advice!

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