Get expert tips on how retailing and service experience can help grow and retain your male clientele.
While many female clients typically have more reasons to visit the salon—whether it’s for frequent colour services and treatments, to touch up their roots or for a bang trim—it’s often said that men are the most loyal clientele, and it can take a lot for a man to leave his trusted stylist or barber. From retailing to candid conversations to service experience, here’s why these two men’s hair experts think guys make the most loyal clients—and how they make sure to keep it that way.
Trust the Products
According to Jason Massa, an American Crew educator and barber at Salon Lexa Coiffure in Brossard, Que., selling retail to clients just for the sake of selling is going to hurt you in the long run, even if it makes you a few bucks in the moment. “There’s no point in me selling products to my clients that wouldn’t work for them because I would lose their trust and they would never buy a product off me again,” he says. “That’s why I never push anything and think about my clients first. Honesty is number one for me. I always go with a product that’s going to help that client, and I consider their regimen: How many times a week do they wash their hair? Is their hair oily or dry? I’ll find the right shampoo and products that corresponds to their needs before I sell them anything.” Similarly, Craig MacEachern, a Redken artist and master barber at The Tweed Suit barbershop in Truro, Nova Scotia, says the recent rise in men’s grooming services and tighter haircuts has helped the barbering industry. “A tight haircut means more visits to the barbershop, which means more opportunity to educate clients with product knowledge,” he says. “Also, achieving this closer, tight look usually means you need a specific product to help achieve and maintain the look.” “It’s also important to find your product line and put it on your station and really know it,” MacEachern adds. “Knowing your line is crucial but also knowing it specifically, so you know what to suggest to your clients when they’re looking for a specific look. Marry that look to the product so you always have something to recommend them.”
Talk the Talk
We all know that once you break that barrier with your male client you should have a client for life, but sometimes it can be harder to break the ice, making the initial sell all the more difficult. “Selling high-end retail to a guy who buys his shampoo based on whatever is cheapest at the drug store or who just uses his partner’s shampoo can be hard,” says Massa. “My advice is to give them a sample first to try and let the product speak for itself. I’ll talk about a product and mention the quality ingredients in it and at first, they don’t really understand but then they see the difference once I give them a tester or use it on them at the shampoo bar. They feel the difference right away and usually won’t mind spending a little extra if they’re going to see a difference and know that their hair is going to be much healthier. The first time is always tricky but once you have them, it’s a very easy routine. Once the trust is there, the connection just gets better and stronger.”
Pro Tip: Massa says knowing your clients’ habits is important. For instance, if they are a construction worker or wear a hat every day, it’s not productive to tell them to put three different products in their hair. Instead, Massa is going to try to find him a one-step product that will stay in the hair all day.
Going the Extra Mile
While retailing plays a huge part in gaining and maintaining loyalty with male clients, the overall experience and good service also play a huge role. “Service is always number one,” notes Massa. “The way you greet them as soon as they walk in is important. You must make them feel welcome—make them feel like they’re the only person important to you while they’re in your chair. It’s their alone time and they don’t have to think or do anything. It’s important to really focus on them and prioritize their needs. If they’re not in a rush, take a few extra minutes for details—use a blade on the edges or clean up their beard. Being service-oriented and focused is key, and giving them a little treat occasionally is nice—a hot towel or head massage at the sink. Things they don’t get every day or every time they go to the shop will help keep them loyal and shows you’re taking care of them.” Since not all clients will want to spend extra time in the chair, MacEachern says it’s all about making sure your clients are comfortable with you while achieving the right balance of personal and professional. “I treat my barbershop like a club and my guys belong when they come in,” he says. “Know your clientele. Recognize which clients want to talk and which don’t—be mindful of who’s in your chair and cater the experience to them. You can even make a specific checklist about them—not a talker, wants this type of haircut—and including their name and a specific anecdote or detail about them helps. Not everyone wants a tight fade and a hard part. Be careful not to overreach. Keep it personal but also professional. Your main goal should be achieving the service your client is looking for.”