Give Guys Duality and Double Down on Profits

By Craig Hanson

An untapped gold mine in the form of men is sitting in your chair — or is one degree of separation away via your female clients.

Men love to look good and feel good; they're just shy about asking you how to do it. After all, they communicate differently than your female clients do.

Here are three fast and easy steps to giving them the looks they'll love and keep them coming back for more.

Step one is to offer guys duality in how to style their hair. They want options, they just won't ask as many questions as women will. In fact, women have been styling their hair in different looks and using various accessories since they were young. They ask their stylists and girlfriends for tips, they look at magazines, online and watch celebrities for new options. They're just more experimental.

Guys, on the other hand, tend to do their hair the same way their stylists did it when they were at the salon. They might even wear the same style year after year.

But unless a guy's hair is aggressively short, there are always styling options. He can wear it shiny or matte, make it stand up or smooth it down, move the part, swerve the part or take it from sleek to messy.

Not only is it easy to show a guy all of those options in less than five minutes, but changing his style requires that he take home additional retail products, which helps beef up your bottom line.

But the most important reason to offer a guy options is it rejuvenates your relationship. It's the best new topic for discussion possible and allows you to show off your expertise and credibility.

How do you open the conversation? It's as simple as saying, "I have an idea for another way to style your hair. It will only take a minute, and it will be easy for you to do at home." Or you can open the conversation by showing him a picture of a cut styled two ways and say, "This cut has two finishes, and so does yours. Let's see how you like a second option." He will never turn you down.

The second step to strengthening your relationship with your male clients is to talk about trichology (his hair and scalp health) at the back bar. Why? Most guys are concerned about losing their hair. Hair thinning or loss can start as early as their early 20s. Even if they aren't yet seeing thinning spots, you can bet they're searching for them when they look in the mirror.

Start the education while you're massaging his scalp during the shampoo. Ask him if he's concerned about hair loss. If he says yes, let him know that by using the right shampoo, he can prepare the hair and scalp to accept treatments to slow his hair loss. It's important to tell him that the earlier he starts a preventative routine with the right products and lifestyle choices, the more likely it is he can hold onto the hair he has.

Not only are you educating him about choosing the correct products, but you're giving him another experience before you even start the cut. You're increasing your bond and decreasing the likelihood that he will try another salon.

The third step toward building your mens business is to provide a neck shave with every cut. Neck shaves are a signature detail recommended to be added to every cut. Even on very short hair, finish with a tapered — as opposed to a blocked off — neckline.

Neck shaves allow you to detail the hair cut to make it absolutely pristine, remove unwanted neck hairs and open the conversation to talking about how tapered necklines grow out significantly nicer and more natural than a blocked off neckline. Again, you're sharing your expertise to give him what he wants: the confidence that he looks his best.

Neck shaves are very easy to learn and definitely worth the time. Use a shave oil and a feather razor with the safety guard on to clean up the unwanted hairs on the neck and sideburn areas. Start cautiously and soon it will become second nature. Explain to your client he will love how his hair line will meld into his neck and add longevity to his cut.

Finally, choose your words carefully when talking with guys. Avoid words like soft, cute and whispy. Use words like strong, masculine, deconstructed. Say, "This strengthens your hair line" or "makes your hair look thicker and fuller." When you're explaining the neck shave, say, "I'm going to detail the perimeter until it's perfect." Then, use a mirror to show him the back so he can see how the difference it makes and how great it looks.

Craig Hanson is creative director for American Crew and leads the International All-Stars, team of stylists dedicated to men's grooming. He is responsible for creating the annual collections for American Crew and has been instrumental in the creation and ongoing development of American Crew's education department. Soon his team of All-Stars will be sharing their specialized approach as part of the new American Crew online education program. Visit