By AHP Staff
If you’ve been a hairdresser or barber for any length of time, you probably know that male clients come in more often, will purchase more take-home products, tend to tip better than females, and stay loyal. You want your share of the male market, so you’ve actively begun your marketing campaign, yet you are finding that men are coming through your door, but they aren’t coming back. No matter what you try, he’s just not that into you. What’s up?
If you’re starting to think these male clients just aren’t into a female cutting their hair, you’re wrong. According to the Priority Male Study conducted by Modern Salon, 30 percent of the men surveyed actually prefer to have their hair cut by a female and 43 percent have no preference at all. The study revealed that the convenience of the location is the number-one factor. But if he came into your salon once, it is probably convenient for him; so why isn’t he coming back?
You’re concerned that he’s just not that into you, but what have you done that proves you’re really into him? Sure, you tried to make him comfortable entering your salon or barbershop. You might have even tried to talk sports or about the best local brew pub with him to put him at ease. You get an “A” for effort, but every other hairdresser and barber trying to pull in male clientele has covered that ground. So, what’s the secret?
What do male clients want?
According to the Priority Male Study, 72 percent of the men surveyed cared more about getting a good haircut than the experience; 78 percent said it is harder to find a good cut than find to find good customer service. Plain and simple, men just want a good haircut.
When was the last time you attended a class that focused on advanced male haircuts? There are tons of barbering classes available online and off. Your local barber school could be a great source for education. When you’ve gotten the education, practice on friends, family, and mannequins. Think of all the hours of practice you spent to become a proficient colorist, updo specialist, texture artist, etc. You should apply the same effort to master barbering.
What is a “good” haircut?
Now, it might be tricky to figure out what your male clients consider a “good haircut.” You want to make sure you have perfected the techniques necessary to create whatever style that client is requesting. Stick to the client’s desired length and suggest a hairstyle that fits the client’s features. You may want to take a class specific to consultations so you can ask the right questions to give your male clients exactly what they want. With the male market, communication can be tricky but even more crucial as they are more invested in the haircut than the experience.
Hanging a masculine shingle outside your salon to say you’re accepting male clients might bring one or two inside, but they won’t return until you give them what they’re into—a good haircut.
Opening Pandora’s Box
Just a few warnings before you dive into the male market:
- Don’t assume that cutting a man’s hair will take less time than your female clients. It takes time to perfectly blend a skin fade to a disconnected top with a flawless hard part.
- You may think males will be in more frequently for services, but there is untrimmed, long hair in that man braid and it’s so easy to hide split ends in a man bun!
- Unfortunately, it’s no longer true that a male client is more loyal than a female client. With the popularity of traditional barbershops and the number of salons tapping into the male market, men have an abundance of options for hair care. You must pay attention to retention (and give a good haircut!).
- If you’re excited that you’ll finally have clients who won’t be asking for an A-line bob, don’t forget about your loyal female clients. Understand that they may feel their feminine oasis has been invaded and, no doubt, changed esthetically and culturally when a man is in the chair beside them.
Salon Retail for Men
Men love convenience; the more convenient you make it, the more likely they will buy.
What do you have on your retail shelves for the guys? If don’t have anything to sell beyond fruity or flowery pink products to offer for home care, you aren’t going to make many sales to the male market. Here are some ideas to help you prepare your retail shelves with gender-neutral items to enhance your male retail offering. (Note: If building your male clientele isn’t a priority for your salon right now, some of these items might work very well to retail to your female clients with men in their lives.)
Deodorant. Offer a unique brand to send the message that everything you have on your retail shelves is special and necessary.
Aftershave and shave cream. Let your male clients take that salon/barbershop feeling home with them.
Sunscreen. Perfect for protecting a balding man’s head and the tips of the exposed ears after a haircut.
Face wash/skin care products. Don’t make him search the shelves at Walmart! Remember, they love convenience.
Combs and brushes. Look for more masculine colors and display them prominently; don’t hide them behind the sparkly pink ones.
Products with multiple uses. Women might not care to a shampoo/body wash-in-one, but again, men love the convenience.
Cologne. Spray your favorite fragrance on your client before they get out of your chair and tell them how amazing they smell. Sold.
Beard trimmers, razors, hair dryers. Men may only need one of these, but they may need all three!
Think about other possibilities like hats, hangover cures, air fresheners, and nail clippers. Get creative and increase those sales!