What Good Barbers and Good Bartenders Have in Common:

Listen to your customers’ troubles – leave your negative speech at home!

It’s a movie and TV cliché. The customer sits at the bar pouring out his latest hurts and disappointments, while the bartender seems to be listening with rapt attention but rarely says a word. Even though he has a somewhat captive audience, we don’t expect to hear about the negative things going on in his life. People getting a haircut have the same expectations. They sit in the barber’s chair expecting to be pampered, listened to and leave looking and feeling better than when they came in.

You may have mastered the skills necessary for giving a good haircut, but your clients might not come back unless they enjoy the whole experience. It order for that to happen, it’s important that you be perceived as an empathetic but not a negative person! How can you ensure that happens?

Be a good listener: Your first job is to listen to the client describe how he or she wants their hair cut, but you’re likely to hear a lot more than that! As clients relax under your skillful clippers and shears, they might tell you not only the problems they’ve had that day, but some of the major challenges in their lives. Make sure they know you are listening by giving short replies, but……..

Don’t give advice: Your clients expect a good hair cut! They don’t expect you to be their shrink, even though they may talk like it. Giving advice to someone you barely know can be offensive and sometimes dangerous. It may be okay to ask them what they think they should do or are going to do about this latest disaster in their lives, but don’t risk giving them advice, even if it seems obvious to you! Your advice might touch a nerve or it might even be followed! If things don’t work out, what then? They might blame you!

Don’t respond with your own negative experiences: If we hear something that seems similar to what we’ve experienced, we’re tempted to tell our own sad stories! We think it might help the person to know that someone else has gone through the same crap we have, or that they might feel like they’re not so bad off after all. The truth is, no one likes to be around a negative person, especially one they’ve just met. If you want the customer to come back, don’t burden them with your latest car trouble or the argument you had with your wife before work. It’s much more appealing to keep an upbeat attitude and lead the conversation in a positive direction. It’s the professional thing to do!

Keep confidences: If your client does tell you stories that they wouldn’t want just anyone to hear, don’t be guilty of passing them on to someone else, even your co-workers. Everyone likes to hear a good story, but you wouldn’t want it to get out that you can’t be trusted to keep your clients’ confidences. If your client hears something from someone else that they only told you, your relationship is likely to be over!No neJo

Above all, be positive about your job: Hopefully, you love your job. Otherwise you wouldn’t be a barber! However, everyone has a bad day now and then, and sometimes it’s not even related to work. It just comes out sounding that way. How would you feel about going to a dentist who spends the time you’re in his chair telling you how much he dislikes fixing teeth? You probably wouldn’t go back. You might think, “How can someone be good at doing something they don’t like?” If your feet hurt, if your commute was awful, if you’re missing out on a great outdoor activity because you had to come to work, don’t tell your client! All he or she needs to know is how happy you are that they chose you to cut their hair and how much you hope they’ll come see you next time!

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