July 2010

Charlene Abretske

Beauty Business Buzz | Charlene Abretske


Capturing the Male Clientele

Traditionally, the salon or spa has not been a likely locale to spot the male animal.

For decades, men’s definition of looking good consisted of following only basic grooming rituals: regular hair trims, shaving and making sure to trim hair off the back of the neck, nose and ears.

It seems that even the use of aftershave and cologne was considered seriously advanced grooming until the 80s or 90s.

In the beauty industry, male-marketed products are one of the fastest growing sectors hitting the stores, beginning with hair, branching out to skincare and now cosmetics with men in mind.

How do you tap into the other half of the beauty population? Everyone has a few male clients and you have probably noticed they tend to be very loyal, easy to get along with and open to your suggestions on product. Why wouldn’t we want more of them as clients?

As technicians, we have been catering mainly to women in terms of cutting, coloring and styling. Why is that?

A very basic difference present in men and women goes back to our ancient ancestors. Men were hunters and valued for what they brought back to the group, their value going down when they did not bring back a “big score” after a hunting expedition. Their place as a provider in the tribe was dependent on what they could produce.

Women were gatherers and valued for knowing their geographic area like the back of their hand, including knowing which plants were producing fruits or edibles for sustenance. By being aware of their surroundings, they increased their value by knowing where and when to gather the best items needed without depleting their resources.

What does this mean for the men and women of today? Simply put, it means women shop around and men purchase. Most men do not want to spend the day looking around at the mall for items they have no intention of purchasing; this would be frustrating for them. On the other hand, many women enjoy window shopping, often considering it a favorite pastime. Can you notice the difference?

My anthropology lesson is officially over. So how do we get more male clients who are willing to spend more on grooming into our salons and spas? Here are some places to start:

Get technical. Most of our technical training that is done with models consists of using young women as those models. What about actually practicing cutting, color, skincare, etc on our men to see what they think.

Go to the salon young man. Young men in the age range of 14 - 24 spend eight billion dollars (yes with a “b”) on beauty care items per year. Targeting this group of young single men is a great way to boost your revenue. If they are single, they spend about 40 percent more in products and services than their married counterparts.

Refer a friend. Men don’t normally want to go to the same stylist as the woman in their life does. If a stylist makes them feel confident with their appearance, they are likely to sing your praises to their friends. Start asking for referrals from your best male clients.

Science is golden. The beauty industry thrives on scientific development. Men are more likely to want to listen and understand why something works. This is an excellent opportunity for you to show off your knowledge on products and technical advancements, often leading to a sale.

Cater to the masculine. If you want a larger male clientèle, you have to make accommodations to appeal to men or women in your salon or spa decor and surroundings.

Proof is in the packaging. I came home with male-geared pomade with masculine packaging; my very un-metro-sexual husband used every iota of the substance in the container, and asked me to purchase more. When I tried to give him the products I use on a regular basis that would be comparable, he wouldn’t have anything to do with them. He reasoned that the male product was formulated for men, and remains very loyal to it.

Have the ladies help you out. Not all men are ready to go to a salon regularly and you may have or work in a salon that wants to cater to women only. In these situations, make sure you carry some popular male products; after all women do gather items they feel are useful for their loved ones. Give your female clients recommendations, and make them aware of products for everyone in their family, not just for them.

Change your consultation. Do not ask a man what would make him feel more beautiful, sexy or hot. You may get some odd reactions. Men like to have a problem solved and have some pampering; they do not want to go into abstract or subjective ideas. Keep it simple, and keep focused on the value.

Men make great clients and they have proven they care more now about their appearance than ever. Capture them easily by giving them great customer service, providing fantastic products and making them feel welcome.

Charlene Abretske is a business advisor with YBNLive and supports salons and spas with growing their businesses through on-demand back office tools designed for beauty professionals. For more information call (888)391-3360 or email charlene@ybnlive.com.