My partner’s beard has gone through a myriad of transformations over the years, evolving and morphing according to fashion, comfort and whim.
With my interest in the industry, I’ve practically been in the chair with him for each of multiple visits to different barbershops. He loves to share his experiences with me and we’ve grown to appreciate the finer skills involved in ‘best practice’ barbering.
Together, we’ve identified the four pillars of an exceptional barbershop experience. Each centres on a truthbomb about the typical barbering client.
We call them our ‘barbershop quartet’ a four-part harmony to help your barbershop hit the high notes in client experience.
Truthbomb 1: Men with beards love their beards
Beards collect crumbs. Beards make soup a nightmare. Beards make the dust-mask you wear on your construction site feel weird and the sparks from your welder singe and smell funny.
Yet men keep their beards for a reason. Chances are they think it looks cool, or tough, or sexy, or hipster. Regardless, it will be a certain shape and size, and on some sort of journey.
Any beard is a dream segue into a great consult. Talking about it will likely draw out some pride. Discussing the finer points of its styling and what you’re trying to achieve will make even the toughest cookie gush.
Talk him through his face shape, length and cheek structure. Help him see what he can’t see.
‘You’re only looking at your beard in the mirror straight on. Everyone else can see you side on. I’m going to do X under your chin to achieve Y. It will look awesome.’
Small elements that can’t be done readily at home will soon become evident. Talk through the what and why of each element. There’s a part of his ego that loves knowing his service is maybe a bit more comprehensive and thought out than his mate’s.
Truthbomb 2: Men love things
Like tools, and gadgets, and tech, and toys. I remember one exceptional service that had my partner spellbound. His barber had a toolbelt and apron. He had the short comb. The long comb. The really crazy long, long comb that looks like it came out of a show bag. The long scissors. The short scissors. You know: the scissors that are made from the same high carbon Japanese steel they used in the samurai swords on Kill Bill? The kind of scissors most men would be proud to hang in their workshop.
Then there’s the trimmer. The other trimmer. The cutthroat. The brush. The little brush. All the tools of the trade! There’s nothing like professional gear to convince most men they don’t have the right tools to groom themselves. All respect to the barber for using the right tools for the job.
Truthbomb 3: There are products for men
They do very specific, almost mystical, things. One barber ran my partner through a dry shampoo, a beard balm, beard oil, shaving cream, aftershave and moustache wax. He talked through each one in turn. Why he liked them, why he preferred them over another style or type, and what they would do for the work he had painstakingly created.
He created probably ten retail opportunities within 45 minutes of chair time. When my partner walked out, he felt he knew a little more about the black magic that is barbering, and a little more about ways to enhance, or maintain the look that he and his barber had decided on together.
Truthbomb 4: Men love and respect value for money
My partner used to be that guy who’d search out the cheapest haircut and wear it as a badge of respect. If a mate could get a cut for $10, he’d find one for $8. He lost perspective of what is meant by value. He had the cheapest, but in getting there he’d locked in a very ordinary service that cut every corner.
Now he can afford to pay more for a haircut, it’s become more about the value he gets for his money. For him, the value is in exceptional service.
He’ll happily pay twice as much as the guy next to him in the lunchroom. He tells his lunch buddy, ‘Sure, it’s a bit more expensive, but you have no idea the work involved. The number of tools. The number of products. He sat down with me and hammered out a plan for getting my moustache curlier. He used more products and potions on me than I thought possible, and I now know what some of them are for. I even bought one. My girlfriend loves how soft my beard is when I use this certain balm. Mate, you have to give it a go, it’s amazing!”
It’s the same as most things with guys, if you can see where the money’s going, and you can talk it up, you can find the value.
And, in our industry, no matter what type of salon or barbershop you own, delivering exceptional experiences will have your clients singing your praises and lining up to re-book.
Jodie is a salon coach at The ZING Project. To get in contact with Jodie reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our private Facebook group: ‘ZING inspired salon collective’.