Everybody loves a good barber–someone who can give you a good haircut, hold a conversation, tell a good joke and offer a few moments’ rest from an otherwise hectic life. Barbers often find their personality is as important as their ability to cut hair.
Make People Want to Be There
Greet everyone who enters the shop–new clients, old clients, everyone. Treat them as friends. If they’re waiting, engage them in conversation.
A great shop has barbers who perform a bit of informal comedy. Laughing and joking around with one another makes the day fly by, and it turns your shop into a fun and inviting place, not just a place to get a haircut.
Have Great Magazines and a TV
Some men like to read sports magazines, some prefer a weekly news magazine, and some just want to read Mad. Have lots of magazines and a couple of newspapers, and make sure your subscriptions are current.
Barbershops are kind of like bars without the booze, so a sporting event is always a great choice for the TV. The local team’s ballgame can inspire passionate conversation. So can the news. Barbershops are great places for discussion of (and solutions to) society’s problems.
If an employee is not cutting hair, make sure he’s sweeping. If all the hair is swept, ask the employee to clean combs or scissors. And if all those things are clean, ask him to find something to keep himself busy. Barbershops are all about showmanship, and cleanliness is a major part of that equation.
Be Consistent and Accommodating
Open at the same time every day, and if you’re ready to close and someone walks in wanting a haircut, accommodate them if you can. That person will appreciate your extra effort, might leave a nice tip and will likely become a loyal customer.
Be a Conversationalist
Know what your clients do for a living, or if they’re kids, know what they’re doing in school. A barber’s chair is a great place to ask innocuous questions that you normally would not ask a stranger. The point, of course, is to get to know the people who are providing you with your living, to become their friend and keep their loyalty as customers.
Common sense and a friendly personality go a long way. If someone is griping about work or family issues, say you’re sorry to hear they’re having a hard time. If they’re talking about their kids, talk about yours, too. Relate and you will succeed.
Keep the Shop Comfortable
Your barbershop should be clean and comfortable. Let lots of light in. If it’s a nice day, prop the door open. Run an air conditioner because a busy shop can get hot in a hurry. And you can never use too much disinfectant cleaner; the smell of a clean shop is one of the things people love about going to the barber.
Add an Extra Touch
The post-haircut neck shave and shoulder rub is an old tradition that almost has become a lost art; only the best and longest-standing barber shops still do it. Shave the back of your client’s neck with hot lather and a straight razor. Then follow up with after-shave. When you’re done, give your client a quick shoulder rub. (Many barbers use special shoulder-rub tools that attach to their hands.)