The Hair Loss Industry From a Hair Loss Consultant’s Point of View

Meeting someone new the other day prompted the usual question about what I do for a living. I knew exactly what the follow up question would be, when I mentioned I was a hair loss consultant, because it’s always the same. “Does that really work?”It’s a valid question for someone to ask. It does however indicate how little is known about this industry that has been around for decades. Often the ensuring conversation reinforces that what the public does know, is not all that positive. From my experience the general public perception seems to put hair loss consultants slightly higher on the credibility scale than car salesmen – not too flattering but it is somewhat understandable.After speaking with clients and having experienced consultations with unknowing hair loss studios, I have had firsthand experience of some of the tactics used to make a sale. I’m sure this is where a lot of the negativity surrounding the industry is initiated.

The position of a hair loss consultant is mainly seen as a sales position by employers and so that, and the fact that earnings are predominately sales based, can change the focus from a consultation about a personal issue and it’s causes and treatment, to a situation where the key objective becomes the sale with the client needs being secondary. It also comes about because there is no code of conduct for the profession at all. Shonky hair loss studio’s stories are well covered in the media with very little if any publicity being given to the credible clinics and the good work they can do.

The truth is consultancy really is a profession. Clients come to the consultant needing reassurance about a medical issue that can be life changing for them. The impact of hair loss from either Androgenetic Alopecia or illness should never be underestimated. So with the consultants position comes the responsibility to make a correct diagnosis and offer the client the answers they are hoping for.

As with all cosmetic industries, which is where the hair loss seems to fit even though some are medical clinics, profits can be lucrative. This opens the door to anyone without any medical background or reputable technical training being able to promote hair regrowth products. What is little known is that the causes of hair loss are medically based, but because the general public are unaware of that fact, it’s easy to be lured into misinformation and deception if you don’t do your homework.

This in its self can be problematic because the majority of male clients will not talk about having hair issues to anyone – so getting first hand feedback on a hair loss programs and results can be difficult. It’s definitely secret men’s business because there appears to be a stigma attached to men who care about their appearance. To do so debunks the male gender persona of being rough, tough and buff!

It is pleasing to see however that Gen Y males are starting to change the trend and recognise that caring about how you look and feel is OK and good for self-esteem. This is why the majority of males wanting information on hair regrowth are much younger than most would expect the age demographic of a hair loss client to be.

Regardless of age however the expectations for results are usually the same. The difficult thing about the diagnosis is that whilst results can be good if a creditable program is followed correctly, there is no way of predicting exactly what they will be for each individual. Often the client may be expecting the impossible, and this is where it’s up to the consultant to be as honest as possible about what they see as a good result. If a consultant exaggerates results then it will come back to bite them through lost business or an irate client. So whilst a sale has been made an unhappy client can do more damage than the best advertising can repair.

Some responsibility does lay with clients though. There are clients who have achieved excellent results that never seem to be satisfied. A good understanding of what is desired and what is achievable needs to be communicated well by both parties’ at the time of the initial consultation or once again the industry’s reputation goes under scrutiny.

That’s where the training of the consultant comes into play. As with any business based around sales of a product the information given to training consultants will always be that our product and the way we do things is better than the competition. From my experience training frequently comes from other consultants – who may even be the one being replaced, to share their knowledge about hair loss. Depending on the employer once again the emphasis may be on the sale not the actual technical knowledge and process of regrowing hair.

Consultants need correct training and access to credible up to date technical information that is backed up by someone with experience in the field so working in a clinic that has a resident doctor available for advice is a real bonus. Understanding all facets of the industry is necessary to be able to advise clients accurately about all choices available to them. Often clients want to discuss hair transplants at their first ever consultation. This is simply because they believe that this is the only option available to them, so having an understanding of all options available, even if this is not a service your clinic offers should be standard.

What often distinguishes the standard of clinics is the follow up service that is offered. A reputable clinic will be in regular contact with the client to make sure routines are established with the products and that the client is feeling supported. Service should be offered for the length of the program with measurable results being the desired result.

So with a lot of negativity surrounding the industry what does the future hold? The time is here for those in the industry to lift their game and work at improving their reputation through their own practices. Long established clinics should be focusing less on the bottom line and more on building trust and improving their image.

It is a valuable medically based industry in respect of what it offers for those who are looking for the answer to their hair loss problems and one that will continue to grow. So let’s strive to be respected for what a difference hair regrowth can make to our clients lives – not what we can sell them.

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