A Little Bit at a Time!

I found a new barber a few months ago!  He was suggested to me by a friend and is even better than my friend said he would be.  He owns the shop he works in and has about eight other stylists.  He has a room by himself in the back.

Some of the things he does that other barbers don’t:

  • He has an OLD chair.  This thing must be 70 years old or more.  The rest of the chairs are new.  When I sit in his chair, it transports me to what it was like when I was a little boy getting my hair cut.   It gives me the same thrill that seeing an old, muscle car does.
  • He takes his time.  He doesn’t rush through a cut because there are people waiting.  He makes you feel like you’re the only one coming to visit him that day.  He’s not in a rush.
  • At the end of the cut, he actually puts HOT Shaving Cream on your neck, then starts sharpening the straight razor on a long leather strap.  Then he shaves your neck and sideburns just like they used to do decades ago.

It’s awesome!  I think I’ve had my hair cut by him about five times now, and I can assure you he will be my barber for years to come.

But . . .

Every time I go in, he asks me what I do for a living.  Then he asks me if I have kids.  He wants to know were I live in town?  And on and on . . . It’s the same conversation each time.  Groundhog Day!  I know all about him—how long he’s been a barber, where he’s from, about his grown kids and what they do for livings, about his travels, and about his hobbies.

But he doesn’t remember me—and I’m his customer.

We, his customers, are the most important people who walk through his door.  We put food on his table.  Hopefully, we add some value to his life through our monthly visits.  But he doesn’t take the time to “know” us.  And that’s a shame.

How could this be fixed?

What if he was to take a 3×5 card and put each customer’s name on the top?  Then at the end of the haircut, he could take 20-30 seconds to record what he had learned about each of us so that next time he would be able to ask questions and show interest.  It would be a running dialog that happened every four weeks or so.  This would show his customers that he cares—really cares about them.  He would be taking the time to “know” them.

A little bit at a time . . .

How about you?  What do you know about the person who does your hair, or the nurse who takes care of your family?  You probably have a job or a business.  How much do you know about your customers?

People buy from people they like.  That’s a fact.  Taking the time to get to know people and not just do business with people is part of the joy of life.  And I believe that it pays dividends too!

How can you apply this information?  What might happen if you took the time to slow down long enough to really listen and remember?

PS: My first haircut!  1956.  How Mom got this in the paper, I don’t know…  But this proves I always liked barbers!!!

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  1. Michael
    Michael09-06-2012

    Great post, Robert! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve intended to put someone’s name and info in some sort of database so I could use that in the future to help them feel important. I think I can do it in my head, but cards help! I’m taking this as an action item TODAY to start a database of names, birthdays, info about folks in my life.
    Thanks!

    • Robert Mallon
      Robert Mallon09-09-2012

      Awesome Michael! It is important!!!

  2. Ann Wade
    Ann Wade09-06-2012

    Mr. Mallon,

    Have you ever considered that your barber may not be able to remember those types of details? He may have had a head injury or a minor stroke? What if he is in the early stages of Alzheimer disease when the past is so much easier to remember than 5 minutes ago?

    I do understand your point of getting to know someone. But sometimes we need to stop and think “is there something going on here that I don’t know about?”

    Food for thought,
    Ann W.

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