Of barbers and plants

On Saturday, I went to a different hairdresser than usual. I had tired of all the time and expensive extras at my regular salon. I wanted $20 to be the cost of the haircut, not the amount of the tip. I used Yelp to search “cheap walk-in haircuts” and found my paradise at (name of salon redacted). 

There was no shampoo and no blow-drying; no offer of an extra $25 keratin treatment and no curling iron. Just the quiet snick of perfectly sharpened scissors and the soft voice of the stylist, Lac, who told me she owned the salon with her sister and had been working there for thirty years. The only visible “extra” was foliage – a tiny room had been transformed by the addition of dozens of well-maintained green plants, from potted plants to vines. The obligatory picture of a glamorous woman with an unusual haircut peeked out from the plants, but mostly, the salon was an understated oasis.

After ascertaining how much hair I wanted to shed, Lac said something rather formal and almost overly sober for the setting. “We are very fortunate that you chose our salon today,” Lac said. “We’re very happy that you are here.” The scissors went snick and a Fleetwood Mac tune from someone’s playlist spread itself out underneath the other background sounds. A sense of peace slowly spread out below my collarbone. In this simple sentence, Lac had expressed respect and gratitude. I felt appreciated way out of proportion to my deeds. I had no idea whether I’d be pleased with the haircut, but because Lac had thanked me so carefully, I knew it would be fine.

The haircut took about 15 minutes and netted Lac $30 including the ten-dollar tip I added. She didn’t ask me for my email address or phone number. No one suggested I download an app. Lac and her sister have no way of tracking me – and yet I will return.

This is the essence of good sales – to show your customer that you care about their business at every step of the way. If you greet with gratitude every interaction with your customer – and you are ruthlessly sincere in your gratitude – your customer will be delighted at every turn.

On my way out, I told Lac that I liked the plants in her salon. She replied: “I’m glad you like the plants. Most of them have been given to us by customers. We’re very grateful that you came to see us today.”