Here’s an interesting statistic for you. According to statistics, 20% of the people working in the hair industry serve 80% of all the customers. How do they do it? Are their haircuts or color services better? Probably not. I believe that the most significant factor in male client retention is not based on how well the barber or stylist cut or colored their hair. The reasons they return are based on how they felt about the experience.
In the salons I’ve managed in the past, I’ve seen this belief reinforced over and over again. Often, the most talented stylists are the least requested, while less talented stylists are booked. The booked stylists always seem to be those with the most compelling personalities. These top stylists are the best at retaining male salon clients.
Take a look around your shop or salon. Who are the most requested stylists? Are they technically more skilled than you? What’s the difference? Personality and service. Those 20% of the barbers and stylists doing 80% of the business are the ones who are giving a great experience! How do you get into that top 20%? It’s not as hard as you think! You’ve just needed to be willing to change a few habits.
Albert Einstein once said that insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result! If you want to build client retention, make extra money, proceeding to do the same thing or job you are doing momentarily is crazy thinking! Numerous barbers and hair stylists make the mistake of hopping around from one job to another job trying to gain even more money when the key is developing and improving the level of service that they provide in the barbershop that they’re currently in.
An excellent barber or hair stylist can succeed about anywhere. If you really want to build a base of happy and loyal clients, it is essential to focus on every available opportunity. As professional barbers and stylists, we must create the ideal experience to make this goal a reality. This applies to the service of both women and men in the salon, but let’s focus on the men for now.
Following are my four corners of success for retaining male clients.
The First Corner: Making Men Feel Welcome
It always astonishes me whenever I see a client receive no greeting at all upon walking into a salon. Especially for a new client, the way he is received can make a huge impact and set the tone for the entire visit. First impressions are critical. The four items below are my suggestions for making a client feel welcome.
Greet Quickly and Enthusiastically.
Statistics prove that most people form a lasting opinion of you in the first few seconds. Therefore, the way you greet the client is vital. You must always immediately smile and welcome him with a warm and sincere “hello.” Then shake his hand and introduce yourself – that’s huge for men. Do it promptly. No one likes standing around.
1. The Rule of Two. Whenever a person comes into the shop, he should receive two hello’s, two compliments, and two “thank you’s.” Only not from the exact same person. Remember, your mission is to make him feel welcome and attractive. Smile and warmly say hello. Compliment him on his hair, shirt, or anything else you think stands out in a favorable light and thank him for his visit.
2. Pick Up The Phone and Smile. How many times must you called a business and got a receptionist that seemed rude or even hurried? What did you think then? You might have thought, “those people do not need my business!” It only takes one bad phone call for someone to form an opinion on everyone in your salon. Make your phone calls count. Relax, smile, and answer with, “Thanks for calling my salon. This is my name. How may I help you today?”
3. Have Fun! Men like to laugh and have a good time. Never be afraid to let your personality show. Tell him a great joke and make sure he gets a good laugh while in your chair.
4. Pay Attention. Never speak on the phone or carry on an extended discussion with fellow employees or people not in your chair, unless your client is directly involved in the conversation. Avoid talking about yourself or your problems. Ask him compelling questions about his likes or what he does. People love to talk about themselves, let them.
The Second Corner – Satisfy The Senses
There are five senses we must satisfy to ensure a man feels comfortable in our salon. The most and obvious people are sight and sound. Smell, taste and touch can also be satisfied. Let’s look at each:
1. Sight. We must keep our shops up-to-date and also pleasing to the eye. Next, we need to focus on how clean and neat our shops are. Numerous of our customers keep immaculate homes. When they sit down in a chair in your shop, and there are hair and neck strips all over the place, you’ve immediately offended him. Also, always be aware of how you look. If you are dressed sloppily, the client will lose respect quickly. Remember, we’re in the fashion industry — our clients expect us to be stylish. A clean shop and station and professional appearance are essential to satisfying the sense of sight. Also if you are willing to increase your men’s business, keep the shop gender-neutral and also avoid floral prints and pinks – and keep men’s publications in the waiting room. No one is going to want to sit under a pink chair cloth and read Ladies Home Journal.
2. Sound. From the minute a customer steps in the door, they should hear the sound of pleasing music. Our goal here is the total relaxation and pleasure of the clients. Therefore television or music should be chosen to add to the client’s enjoyment. For men, the best choices are often rock music and news or sports on tv.
While we already talk about the subject of sound, make sure your tone of voice is confident, welcoming, positive and friendly. And use language which men are comfortable with. For example, when suggesting styling products, use terms that are easy for men to understand like matte, gloss, firm, and loose. And in case you want to give him a manicure, call it hand detailing. Instead of wispy, use deconstructed. You get the idea. Keep the language masculine.
3. Touch. This one is a biggie! In one of a recent study of over 2000 shop customers, almost every single one of them stated that their favorite thing about the experience was getting a bottle of shampoo. Ironically, it was also the barber or hair stylist’s least favorite something to do. What do you say about that? When was the last time you’ve got a bottle of shampoo? Have someone give you one to remind you of how good it feels.
If possible why not try performing the shampoo after the haircut. One of the most prominent accusations men have is that they leave the salon with hair clippings falling all over the place. A shampoo after the cut will rinse away the loose hair and leave your client feeling refreshed. Some guys may be reluctant to try this service, so approach it positively. Say, “Bob, I’m going to give you shampoo to rinse out all of that loose hair. It really feels great. Come on back!” He will follow. Not only your tips will you see your tips increase, but the shampoo will also give you an opportunity to sell retail.
4. Smell. We satisfy the sense of smell by suggesting products that are pleasing to the client. Make sure you’re offering products specifically for men. You might also improve your image by wearing a pleasant fragrance. Here’s a hint. Use it on your wrists. You’ve got your hands right up near your client’s face, so this is an excellent opportunity to let him smell you!
5. Taste. Offer to get your client something to drink. Put a nice, cold drink in his hand, and he’ll love you for it! The presentation is also important here. If your shop serves beer, don’t hand it to him in a styrofoam cup – use a nice glass instead! Coffee should be served in a mug.
The Third Corner – Sell Retail
Selling your client retail can strongly enhance your professional image and increase memory. It surprises me how rare barbershops and salons try to sell retail to their male clients. Retail is an excellent opportunity for many reasons.
- Product keeps you in his mind. If your customer picks up that shampoo to home, he guesses of where he got that and also who sold that to him. That bottle of shampoo is his daily reminder of the excellent service he received.
- Goods keeps him coming back. Researchers show that when a consumer buys a product, then there is more than 90% chance that they will go back to the shop where they made the purchase! They are not sure who else sells that product they love, but they know they can get it from you.
- The product enhances your professional image. If through the use of a product, you can correct a problem a client is having or improve his look, he’ll come to appreciate your knowledge and place more trust in you.
Why we don’t sell more product to our male clients? All too often, I hear barbers and stylists tell me, “Well, I’m just not a salesperson!” Not true. Got kids? You’re a salesperson. Every day, you sell your kids on ideas and encourage them to behave well. Retail of sale is much easier than trying to get a kid to do homework.
Knowing your product well is the first step. This will enable you to select the best products to correct a problem a client is having or enhance his look. Consistently using products on every client and showing him how to use them is also the key. Men need to feel confident they can take the product home and produce the same results. Finally, you must ask for the sale. “Bob, that pomade I used on you really gives you some nice hold and shine. Would you also like to take some home with you?” That’s an easy, yet assumptive, approach.
For more on selling retail, read my article How to Sell Retail to Men.
The Fourth Corner – Show Up
This seems so simple — and it is — but it’s a huge thing. It does not matter how great your service is or how professionally and enthusiastically you provide it if you’re not in the salon. If you miss a day and have, for example, 12 clients on your book, those twelve clients will be tempted to try someone else. A man likes consistency and tends to stick with the same barber or stylist, so it’s important that you’re there for him.
Avoid missing work for small things. Plan doctor and dentist appointments for your days off. Schedule vacations well in advance and let your clients know when you’ll be gone so they may plan around it. Make sure your client understands your schedule as well. Write it on the back of your business card so he may keep it in his wallet for easy reference.
Of course, these four corners of success for retaining male clients are just a start. Consistently applying these suggestions every day with every client is critical. Additionally, make sure to set goals for yourself and keep in touch with your clients. If you haven’t seen a client in a while, give him a call and find out why. If you’ve sold a new product to a client or changed his look, follow up in a few days and find out how he’s enjoying it.
Becoming a member of that elite top 20% isn’t as hard as you think. It takes just a little effort, applied consistently, to take your client retention to a new level.
How to Best Serve Male Clients in The Salon – Keeping Your Guys Coming Back
The men’s grooming market is white hot, and men are visiting the salon more than ever. How do you keep them coming back? It’s not as challenging as you’d think. Making a few simple changes will help increase your male client retention and improve your earnings from this important segment of your business. There is three main principal to concentrate on when trying to retain your male clients.
1. Your Salon Environment
No guy wants to read ladies magazines and sit under a pink cape with lipsticks silkscreened on it. Little things like including some men’s magazines, adding more neutral colors, offering your male clients a beer, and adapting your salon’s language and services menu to include guy friendly language are just several things you can do to make your guys feel at home. For more thoughts on how to retain your male clients, read my Four Corners of Success for Retaining Male Clients. More »
2. Your Technical Skill
Cutting men’s hair requires a different approach. Unlike ladies styles which are softer and fuller, men’s styles are leaner and more masculine. Taking classes at your local barber college or those offered by men’s product companies like American Crew are a great start. They can teach you the techniques and language to help you give the best men’s cut possible. I’ve often found the best men’s haircutters are those who have studies both cosmetology and barbering.
• Techniques for Cutting Men’s Hair
• The Best Tools for Cutting Men’s Hair More »
3. Your Approach to Retail
Offering men’s styling products shows your commitment to serving your male clients. Many major product companies now offer men’s lines. These products are packaged and fragranced to appeal to men and can help increase your bottom line. Make certain your staffs are well trained on the usage of your men’s products.
• How to Sell Product to Men
• Guide to Men’s Styling Products More »