This is number 2 in a 10-installment blog series of the top 10 things you should say, ask or tell (or should not) when consulting, selling to or interacting with a male client.
Are we doing anything different? Same as last time?
You always want to open up the opportunity for change in a haircut visit, or, do you? Be careful. You just might get more than you bargained for.
If you ask a male client, “What are we doing for you today?” I will bet you a donut, the chocolate iced one with the sprinkles, that he will say,… “Gimme a haircut!”. Then he will laugh. They you will have to pretend to laugh because this is the 9,041st time you have heard that reply. Then, shame on you for asking.
The classic barbershop line is, “same as last time?”. It is a classic because it works. It is a classic because it has stood the test of time. It is a classic because it reinforces the ongoing relationship. The question mark at the end of the phrase does leave the door open to opportunity and change. Many times I have had a client say, “No, let’s go a bit shorter” or “No, last time was a bit short, leave things a little longer.” Guys may chime in with and for change, but, overwhelmingly they will not.
Men’s grooming is about maintenance. It is a lot like landscaping. My landscaper Chris does not ring the bell each week to discuss my edging and my shrubs. He just shows up and restores order. He shows up and exerts his authority over nature. That is how I and many other guys like it.
Pushing too hard for change can imply that you, the haircutter, were not happy with the results last time. Maybe you weren’t. So what? He does not care how you felt about his haircut. He cares about how HE feels about his haircut. The guys who are eager for change will ask for it or open up the discussion. “Same as last time?” turns out to be a killer tool for managing male client relationships. It has stood the test of time because it works.
A slightly more aggressive tactic when you, the haircutter, have a change agenda to pursue is to ask “Are we doing anything different?”. It is a form of “Same as last time?” but with subtle difference. Typically guys will respond to this altered inquiry with the request for your thoughts on a different option. If you open the door you had better be ready to charge through with confidence and suggestion. Nothing is worse than raising the issue of new and then having nothing new to offer.
Be prepared to be o.k. with “same as last time.”. The haircut is for the clients use and enjoyment, not your entertainment. I am sorry if you are bored by the thought of cutting another classic taper, short back and sides, layered top, blended with short sideburns. This basic cut makes up 99% of the men’s haircuts in America today, last year, next year and likely every year until long after you retire. Get used to it. Get good at it. Get quick at it. It will pay a lot of bills. It will buy a house and a Buick. It will put the kids through college. It is a good thing. Once the basic challenges of executing it are under your control you might even find some peace and serenity in crafting them repeatedly well.
This time and next time might be the time for “same as last time”.
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