Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 86. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, Phorest FM is a weekly show that puts forth a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, salon/spa marketing tips, company insights and information on attending Phorest Academy webinars. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.

Phorest FM Episode 86

In the spirit of the upcoming Salon Owners Summit 2019, Killian & Zoe welcome Melanie Icke to the show to get some insights on the workshop she’ll be leading, “Getting To Know You,” a session on DiSC, buying behaviours and how you can influence people based on their communication styles. Melanie Icke is the Head of People & Education at Phorest Salon Software, has over 25 years experience in the Beauty Business and specialises in the design and delivery of bespoke development workshops and materials.



Leave a Rating & Review: https://bit.ly/phorestfm


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM Podcast, episode 86. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer.  This week on Phorest FM, we’re all about understanding who you really work with and what makes your clients tick. Our guest on the show is Melanie Icke, Phorest Executive of People and Education and lifelong Salon Consultant. As always, we top off the show with our upcoming Phorest Academy Webinars.

Killian Vigna: So, grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning, Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Morning Killian!

Killian Vigna: So, it’s weird finally announcing workshop speakers for the Summit, which means it’s basically only just around the corner now at this stage. We’ve already had clients emailing in asking for recommendations of stuff to do, because they’re coming over from New Year’s. Coming over from the States and looking for things to do, so we’re trying to find stuff real quick!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, fall is going to roll over real fast and then it’s going to be winter, and the next thing you know, we’re going to be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s. And then it’s the Summit.

Killian Vigna: So, speaking of the Summit, we had two announcements. One was Steve Gomez, and then the second announcement was our very own, Melanie Icke. So, welcome to the show, Melanie!

Melanie Icke: Hi, thank you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s great to have you on, after all these workshops inside Phorest, now spreading the knowledge outside of Phorest.

Killian Vigna: I find it funny because you weren’t nervous about it, but you were kind of like, a little bit, I suppose excitable for it. And all the talks you do anyway, and the podcast is the one that makes you nervous.

Melanie Icke: Yeah, I think that’s because it’s with people I work with, and you’re being judged and held to a really high standard. So I don’t want to let you guys down.

Killian Vigna: No pressure!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’m sure you’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it. So, before we actually kick it off, I suppose, do you want to give our listeners a bit of background about yourself? Like, how long you’ve been in the industry? What role did you play being a consultant? How did you end up in Phorest?

Melanie Icke: Okay. I’ll try and keep it really, really brief, ’cause it can get boring. But I’ve been in the industry in lots of different ways for more years than I’m actually going to say. And I’ve worked in training in the industry. I worked for a long time in direct selling, running big sales teams, sales management, and all of my career seems to have taken me to places that are related to the hair and beauty industry.

So, some years ago, having done lots of work with different companies, I decided to specialize in the hair and beauty industry and the spa and the salon business, and start taking out some kind of business consultancy to salons who really knew loads about delivering brilliant service, but probably haven’t got the business knowledge that I wanted to share. And so I’ve done that for a long, long time, working with some big salon groups, working with spa groups, and working with independents as well.

And then really, it was just serendipity that brought me to Phorest. A mutual friend would have said to me, “Have you ever thought about going back and working for someone?” And I said, “No, absolutely not.” Then about two weeks later, I found myself sitting in front of Ronan, discussing becoming Head of Education here. So, yes. It was a chance thing that brought me here over two years ago now.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I actually remember. We were in the old office. I remember meeting you for the first time. Yeah!

Melanie Icke: That’s right, yeah.

Killian Vigna: And now she’s my direct line manager!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: There you go.

Melanie Icke: And I’m more nervous than he is, which seems mad to me.

Killian Vigna: So, yeah. I mean, you were saying that you came over, onboarded for Education. But it’s now People & Education. We’ve only seen that transition in the last year, since I’ve joined your department as well. So, what, to anyone listening out there, what does it mean People & Education?

Melanie Icke: Okay so, there’s always been an educational training function at Phorest, and that’s primarily for client training. So, one of the things we believe in absolutely passionately, as you’ll know Killian, from working with me, is that we have to provide really good support and education for clients buying the Phorest software because naturally enough, it really is only beneficial to them if they really use it properly and understand how it can grow their business.

So, having the Education team, that’s been in place a long time. And we’ve kind of gone from strength to strength increasing every year the number of trainers and the number of trainings that we provide. But as we, also ourselves are growing as a business – we’ve been scaling business for some time now – it’s become really clear that we also internally need some support. And so, the people function really has grown out of necessity because of the size that we now are. And, although it’s still in its infancy, it’s really a department, I suppose most similar in most organisations to an HR Department, but less structured than a conventional corporate HR Department would be.

And our remit really is to make sure that anything that touches the lives of employees and people in the organisation is taken care of and looked after. And we’re responsible for working with the other execs, to look at, how do we scale this business so if we need to take on, let’s say, another hundred employees over the next three years, where are those people coming from, how are they going to be trained, what does that mean about the culture of the company, how do we support people through that time? So, anything to do with people coming into the business, moving around the business kind of falls into our remit. Although, as I say, it’s very early days.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I’ve seen loads of improvements, loads of things that have changed just from moving back home, talking with you, meeting different people, organising remote sessions, and all that. It’s definitely had an impact.

Melanie Icke: And you make a good point, Zoe, because actually, the remote culture is a big part of our remit. As we expand and we’ve got people like yourself living all over the world in new offices, it’s really important that we don’t compromise the experience of working for Phorest and being part of that community, just because of where you’re physically located. So, that’s been a real priority this year. Glad to head that that’s having some impact.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, definitely. So, as Killian was saying, you were just recently announced as a speaker for one of our workshops at the Summit. I know you were at the Summit last year. Without spilling too much of the beans, what is DiSC? ‘Cause essentially, your workshop title is “Getting to Know You.”

Melanie Icke: Yeah, so DiSC is a phenomenal communication and behavioral tool. It’s something that I discovered many, many years ago, and I’ve used it in different forms and guises over the years, with lots of individuals and groups. I pretty much think it almost never fails to interest. It never fails to entertain. But it really does help people with communication and behavior, particularly in the workplace. So, it is a profiling tool at its most complex, I guess, but there are really simple ways that we can use it.

When I’ve done DiSC workshops that you guys have been to within Phorest, we’ve done the full blown workshop, and you’ve all completed the online questionnaire, and ended up with a really comprehensive profile about your own personal communication style and how to work with other people. Obviously at the Summit, we’re not going to be able to do that big of profiling exercise. But what I’m really wanting to do is kind of distill the essence of what DiSC is about and why we use it, and bring to the Summit some simple exercises that people can take away and do in their own salons if they want to do that.

That helps us understand the difference in people. And really, DiSC in its simplest form is that. It’s understanding that what’s important to me and what I value, and what motivates me, and therefore how I behave, will be very different to maybe Zoe or Killian, what motivates you. In fact, all three of us are quite different profiles, as it happens. And so, that means that we have a different attitude towards risk. We probably have different behaviours in the workplace. Our priorities are different. Our speed of working, our choice of words. Everything about us will probably be different.

And although we intrinsically know that about people, on the surface, we might put those things down to, oh, that’s not my kind of person, or we don’t really see eye-to-eye, or we always fall out in meetings, or whatever that might be. And that kind of can breed conflict in the workplace. It can make people feel uncomfortable with other people when it’s actually not the person that you have issue with, but maybe some of the way their behaviors are being presented.

So, I like to think of DiSC as a really fabulous secret decoder that helps us identify… DiSC is built up on a circular map of four distinct behavioural profile types, but there’s lots more than just four. And it helps us understand by listening to somebody, by looking at somebody’s body language, by hearing the words that they might choose to use. It helps us locate them on that behavioural map, and then knowing where you might live on the map and where the other person might live. Then, rather than taking issue with each other personally, you can start to understand why that person might be responding in a particular way because it’s about what’s important to them, what they value, what motivates them. Which as I say, might be quite different to you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, if we were to put a concrete example and say, just take Killian and I co-hosting the podcast. I was profiled as a C, Killian was profiled as an S. What does that really mean?

Melanie Icke: Okay. So, some real quick fundamental differences. ‘C’ is the conscientiousness profile, which you really embody that profile, Zoe. And Killian is an ‘S’ profile, which stands for steadiness. So, what that means is, you have some… Because you’re adjacent to each other on the map, so you’re the two bottom half quadrants, left and right. You’re the left quadrant, Killian’s the right. So, you do have some things in common, which are things like stability. Your two profiles are the profiles that probably least would like change. So it might take you longer to adapt to change or become used to new ideas than maybe somebody in the top two quadrants of the map.

But then the difference is, is that Killian is on the right-hand side of the map, which tends to be more about people, and he’s from a very supportive, collaborative place. So, it’s about working in a team, working with people, and really enjoying that individual contribution that you’re making to a group of people.

Your profile is more defined by the need to be accurate and to challenge things that you don’t agree with, or challenge the status quo, or look for ways to make improvements. You wouldn’t be necessarily scared to confront something that you didn’t think was right, Zoe, where Killian might find that very much more difficult. So, he, just to go along with keeping things happy and status quo, he might put up with things that he didn’t necessarily agree with. So you two are really good examples of being the opposite side. You’re driven much more by task, whereas Killian would be much more driven by team.

Then the other two profiles at the top of the circle: on the top left, so on the same side of the circle as you, again, a task-driven profile is the profile ‘D’, which stands for dominance. Then above Killian’s profile on the right-hand side of the map would be ‘I’, and that’s the influencer profile. ‘D’ and ‘I’ both share the need for action, so getting stuff done, moving quickly. But ‘D’ is very much more an individual profile, so it’s challenging and driving for results. Where ‘I’ sits on the people side, like Killian’s profile, which is about enthusiasm and collaboration. ‘D’ might just be about, get the task done and get a result. ‘I’ might be about still getting things done, but driving through people rather than task.

Killian Vigna: So, there’s four quadrants here and we already have pretty much 75% of it on this podcast here. Are you pretty much restricted into that quarter or could you flex into someone else’s personality? How would you use this now when you’re walking into a meeting?

Melanie Icke: Okay. So, yes. You can flex. The real key, which is what we’re going to be covering at the Summit is how to read somebody’s profile, and I’ve got a really fun exercise that we’re going to be doing together to learn how to use DiSC in its real simplest form. But DiSC only works when you, as an individual… So, my profile’s a ‘D’ for example. If I’m able to read that Killian’s an ‘S’, you’re obviously the furthest stretch away from me on the DiSC map. I know if I just behave in conventional ‘D’ behaviour, that’s going to be really difficult to communicate to Killian because his motivation, his vocabulary, his behaviour is very different to mine.

As an example, we’re going to work at a different pace, so we need to be able to communicate about that, so that that doesn’t build a frustration between us. The key to using DiSC effectively is being able to flex your behavior. Really, that’s what it’s all about. Reading someone else’s behavior and then working out how’s best to communicate with that person. So, I gave you some examples there of how Killian and I might work together. So, Zoe, if you take your profile, which is ‘C’, that is quite a fixed profile and it’s a profile that can be very individual in terms of working by yourself, being a senior individual contributor, that kind of thing. Less so a collaborative one than Killian’s.

But recognising that and then learning some ways to flex are really the keys to making it useful for you. Because it’s a communication tool, and what we’re looking for is to say, “Look, Zoe. We know your preferred way is like this, but if you need to communicate with somebody that’s like that, you need to learn some flexing tools.” Not so that you become disingenuous or lacking in authenticity. Not pretending to be someone else, so you’re owning your profile, but you’re using some language and some speed, and some ways of behaving that are accessible to the person in the other profile.

A really easy way that I describe it is, if you think of it as each of those quadrants. Suppose each of those were a different country and each spoke a different language. The fewer languages that you’re able to speak, the less you’re able to communicate with people. You might be really fluent in English, and that’s great, but that means you can only speak to people who understand English. If you then become quite fluent in, let’s say, German, then you’re doubling the number of people that you can impact with. And then you might learn a tiny bit of French and an even smaller bit of Italian, but each of the times you’re doing that, you’re expanding the people that you can communicate to effectively. So, that’s really an example of how the tool might work.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I have to say; it’s been incredibly beneficial since… When did you… you started this workshop last year, wasn’t it, in Phorest here?

Melanie Icke: Yeah. I think I first brought DiSC across… When I very, very first started as head of the Education team, I used it with the Trainer team then to build up some communication skills and get to know each other really well, and it was a real success. And then I kind of battled it out to say, “We need to do this across the company.” And I think, yeah, probably about 18 months ago we actually started rolling out the workshops.

Killian Vigna: Because I remember… Yeah, it would’ve been 18 months ago, because myself and Zoe were actually both on the same team at that time. We were both in marketing when you brought it in. I have to say, when DiSC was going around between the different departments, we were one of the last ones to do it. We’re kind of like, “What is this? Is it just another personality test?” I suppose, we didn’t know what it was.

But when we did it, you got a much better understanding of who your colleagues were and if someone fell into the default, why do I are they falling into their default setting, how you can pull them back out of it to collaborate better. And you can see the teams working so much more smoothly now together ever since moving over trying to really utilise it and really adopt it. The wheels just turn so much better when and who you’re working with. So, moving on from, I suppose, understanding your colleagues; what about your clients, because you wouldn’t spend as much time with your clients? Is it just as easy to identify those profiles?

Melanie Icke: Absolutely. And when you’re going to be using this in a salon with your clients, obviously you’re probably looking at different aspects of profile than you might be looking at with your colleagues that you’re working with every day. In a salon, you can use this both with your colleagues… And I think this is a really fun thing to do as a team build, or even if you’re doing a salon meeting, it’s a great thing to do. And we’ll be covering how to do it at the Summit. But with your clients, you will see the client behaviours do fall into those four quadrants.

One of the things I experience is that salons very often… The therapist, the stylists are reluctant to spend much time in retailing and find it very difficult to cope with the rejection of, “No thanks, I don’t want it.” So, retail can often be a difficult thing for salons to conquer. And some of the clients, particularly a ‘D’ category client, actually, a ‘D’ profile client, would be seen by therapists and stylists maybe as a bit intimidating, maybe a bit unfriendly. Sometimes, that dominance behaviour can be seen as being rude. So, stylists and therapists might feel a little bit uncomfortable or nervous about approaching that type of client or customer to buy retail.

But actually, if you understand what the priorities of that ‘D’ profile person are, you would realise that they’re the people that probably are most likely to buy from you, but you have to get it right. And we’ll be talking at the Summit about how you go about getting it right. But I did this as a workshop with a group of spas actually in the North of England who absolutely loved it. And literally after one workshop, they increased their retail percentage by 40%. If you use it really constructively as a business tool, you can have loads of fun with it, but you can make a lot of money too. And that’s really what we’re about. We’re about growing the salons business.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, you’ve actually seen a direct correlation between salons who’ve done DiSC and their bottom line results.

Melanie Icke: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. They have a testimonial that says what their improvement in retail was, and it was a 40% uplift in their retail business, which is phenomenal. I mean, I went back and did a lot of work with that particular group of spas because they’d seen the ability to grow their business, and they weren’t scared of retailing anymore. And I think that’s a really, really important transition. If you can actually get your team enthused about retail and not feel scared of the clients saying no, or not feeling unprepared as to how to approach the client, you can really make a big impact.

Most salons and spas really do offer really good commission for selling retail. I know not everybody does. But we really want people that work in these salons to earn more money. We want the salons themselves to grow their revenue and to be more profitable, and retail is a really good way of doing that. But you can use DiSC just to improve your relationships with your clients, just to make your clients have a better experience, and to just feel more comfortable actually in having that conversation. ‘Cause some people sit in the chair and have a really easy 60 minutes chat, and other people can sit there in a slightly uncomfortable silence. And some clients want that silence and that’s fine, but it’s just understanding how to read the behaviour, to do what’s right for that client because no two clients are the same people.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, the attendees at the Summit will be getting concrete exercises to bring back to the salon, to the spa, if they wanted to do that. Obviously, anyone listening to this podcast who isn’t a Phorest client will not unfortunately be able to attend the Summit, but what can they do if they’re into this? How can they get something like that done in their salon? Can they host the session themselves? Is there a list of professional DiSC trainers or workshops that they can attend?

Melanie Icke: You do have to be accredited to facilitate it. DiSC is quite an intensive tool at its most complex and it has lots of different applications. So, you do have to be accredited to be able to deliver it. But there are lots of people that do it. If you look on, probably LinkedIn or somewhere like that, I’m sure you’d find somebody locally in the area that could do it. And there are some really simple exercises that you could probably just Google actually. If you Google something like, “people reading exercises using DiSC,” I’m sure that would come up with a great search for you.

And yeah, as you say, at the Summit, we will be giving people that come to the Summit a little handout to show how they can actually facilitate this exercise. Really simple exercises, going to take 10 minutes, nothing more than that, in their own salon. I think in my experience, salons that do this have so much fun doing it and discussing what profile they think each other are. It’s a great team building exercise, that then you get the great camaraderie between colleagues, and then the spinoff is obviously that they can use it with clients. It’s kind of win-win, really. But also, we want retail to become part of everyday life, part of everyday communication. But we don’t have to think, “Today I’m doing retail,” but, “Retail is part of our service.”

Killian Vigna: It just becomes habit. It comes from the education of the product, yeah.

Melanie Icke: Totally. And actually, most times that I work with salons or spas about this kind of thing, we actually ban the word retail because I think psychologically, lots of therapists and stylists just switch off when they hear it’s time to talk about retail ’cause they don’t like it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, we were talking about homecare or rebranding it and anything like that, that put people at ease, I suppose.

Melanie Icke: Yeah, yeah.

Killian Vigna: Homecare, aftercare [crosstalk 00:22:36] factor.

Melanie Icke: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, there’s lots of ways we can describe it.

Killian Vigna: Cool. So, looking forward to that talk anyway. Any final thoughts? I suppose coming up to the workshop, anything that people could try out now?

Melanie Icke: I think, just one of those things is to have a really open mind that when you have somebody in your salon that you might think of as a difficult member of staff or you might think of as a difficult client, take a step back from making that judgemental, from feeling that conflict, and ask yourself why they might be appearing to you like that. And almost certainly, the people that you have most challenge with are going to lie diagonally opposite you on the circle, so you have the longest journey to go because you have more difference than any other two profiles.

And so, you can just start, even without knowing anything about DiSC, try and understand that what might be important to that other person might be different to what’s important to you. So, if you’ve changed something in the salon and someone reacts badly to it, they may not just be being difficult or stroppy, it might be genuinely difficult for them to get their head around it. Actually, just spend a few minutes everyday just talking to your team and finding out what they really think rather than just making those assumptions.

Killian Vigna: Listen, thanks a million for joining us on the show, Mel, and really excited for that workshop, so everyone… get going!

Melanie Icke: Yes. Walk up to the workshop, can’t wait!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Salon Owners Summit, Monday January 7th of 2019. It’s going to come up real fast.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. Very excited for the DiSC workshop. And even though we’ve done it ourselves, I think I’m actually going to just pop in at the end of one of those and catch it myself again, because it’s good to-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s a good refresher.

Killian Vigna: …Yeah, it’s really good for a refresher, but we also have this website where we can go on link and we can actually find out our colleagues profiles, and we have a big… If you look at DiSC, it’s a big circular chart we have, each person on our team, their face is in their area. So, it’s good to just get a refresher of each other’s default settings and it’s just brilliant for prepping for meetings. I can’t emphasise this one enough. So, this brings us up now to the second half, which is your webinars and your trade shows, or, well, Phorest’s trade shows.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly. Like you were saying, next is trade to the season. So, we have a trade show that we’re going to be at in London on September 30th and October 1st, we’ll be at Olympia Beauty. So, if you’re in that area, come say hi, we’re going to be on booth C70! It’s bound to be a really cool weekend. Olympia Beauty is always loads of fun, so come along, come say hi. If you have any questions about Phorest or want a demo, or just want to have a chat with one of our salon business advisors, we’re going to be there.

So, if you are looking for tickets to that event, go on to our Facebook page, go to the events section, there’s an event there that we’ve called Phorest Salon Software at Olympia Beauty. You click on the get ticket links, and it’ll bring you straight to the Olympia Beauty website where the official registration happens. So, that’s it for us today! If you have any feedback on this episode, feel free to leave us a review on iTunes or on Stitcher. We’re always looking for suggestions on how to improve the show. Otherwise, have a wonderful week and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow

Catch up on the previous Phorest FM episode, or check out the next Phorest FM episode!

Note: Phorest FM is designed to be heard, not read. We encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion which may not translate itself on the page. Episode transcripts are produced using a third-party transcription service, some errors may remain.