A few days ago, I was at a barber shop to shave off my hair to bald as part of the rituals I perform every year on my father’s death anniversary.
The art of having conversations and networking is a great skill that differentiates an ordinary barber from a great barber. While he scissor-snip and shaves, he starts the conversation with the client – asking questions, listening, staying curious, cross-selling and up-selling his other services to maximize the sale. He has stories of startup founders, businessmen, corporate executives, artists, coaches, and others. At the same time, his hands are on the heads of men who created real value in the world or faced great difficulties in dealing with life challenges.
It reminds me of a time when a barber for my hair colouring persuaded me. Here is how it went between us during a few sessions of haircutting over three months :
The first time, he proposed to me to get the hair colouring done, and after asking for the price, I refused: “Sorry, will think about it next time.”
The second time, he remembered and again proposed to me to get the henna, and after asking for the price, I refused again: “I have another work. May be next time.”
The third time he asked me to go for hair dye, I refused again after asking for the price.
The fourth time he advised, “buy it from the shop for Rs. 12 and apply yourself.”
Surprised by his advice, I asked: “Why do you propose that?”
He replied: “Every time you ask for the price and refuse. So, I thought you might have money constraints. However, it would look good if you colour your hair.”
I smiled and said thank you, handing over — Rs.50 as tips on his hand.
How many times have you persuaded your customer like this to buy from you?