Men’s Emotional Needs Versus Women’s

Back in the ‘90s, the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, written by relationship expert John Gray, was a nonfiction book that consumed the literary world. People scrambled to every bookstore imaginable (when books actually lived bookstores and consisted of a front and back cover and had actual pages you could turn) to get their hands on a copy and transform their relationships and their lives. To date, over 50 million copies have been sold.

It has been praised for opening up the lines of communication in all types of relationships and has been criticized for placing human psychology into stereotypes. But there is something that everyone can agree on; men and women are…different, on many levels. Now, because I know there are going to be some men and women out there reading this that may disagree with the following statements and information, and I welcome all comments below, so let’s delve right in and say that men and women have different types of emotional needs. The reason I mentioned Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in the very beginning of this article is because it is this very book that discusses in detail the very six emotional needs men and women have. That got me thinking. How can these six emotional needs relate to men and women as clients? How can salon professionals accommodate and hone in on these emotional needs to make the salon service and experience not only memorable but one that is touching on a higher psychological level?

Let’s take a look at the six emotional needs and put some ideas and “what if’s” out there for you to ponder and put into perspective when you’re performing consultations, retailing product, and putting your referral and reward programs in effect.

Trust Versus Caring

According to the book’s author John Gray, men need to feel trust in a relationship while women need to feel cared for. Think about this while you’re conducting the salon service, especially during the consultation. While both men and women want the facts and want to hear why you’re cutting their hair this way or styling their hair that way, the way you say it may affect how they receive and respond to it.

A man may respond and react more to hearing: “Let’s take a few inches off the length because it will be easier for you to manage.”

A woman may respond and react more to hearing: “If we take a few inches off the length it will be easier for you to manage, cut down on styling time and really frame your face and make your eyes really ‘pop!’”

You’ve just shown the woman that you care about her, her time and making her look and feel great. You’ve shown the man that you’re the expert here and why he should trust you.


Acceptance Versus Understanding

Next up is the emotional battle of acceptance versus understanding. The book states that men need to feel acceptance while women need to feel understood. How can this affect the way you are not only consulting a client but also when you’re styling and retailing product? We all know (and we hope all the clients know) in order to keep the style going outside the salon, you must use salon professional products, know how to use them, and more importantly, WHY you need to be using them. If men care about how others perceive them, not only in their personal relationships but also in their professional and peer relationships, and they want to be accepted by everyone they associate with, then having confidence in the way they look is going to help them achieve that, right? So if that’s the case, then taking this mindset and knowledge into the retailing process could be advantageous for you. Take the same approach for when retailing to women; if they require the emotional need of someone understanding them, then travel back in time to previous conversations where she has mentioned moments where she’s either felt discouraged, defeated or downright pissed off. Could it be she feels like she doesn’t have time for herself? Well then retail her products that will save her styling and drying time. Don’t just say, “This ___insert product name____ does this” without following up with a reason why it will impact her life in some way.

Appreciation Versus Respect

This can get really interesting if you think of this in terms of how you are rewarding your clients for either referring new clients or purchasing product/services. Gray suggests that men need to feel appreciated while women need to feel respected. With that said, how are you positioning the voice and copy of your reward programs? If you have a high volume of female clients and your reward program isn’t performing, could it be the way that it is positioned? Maybe it needs to evolve more into a “we admire you” and away from a “we appreciate you.” If your salon is located in an area where the community has a lot of women who demand the spotlight and attention, a who’s who way of thinking, consist of individuals who crave the opportunity to earn respect from their peers, consider making your female clients who refer their friends or take really great care of their cut, color and style your “Salon Client Spotlight” for the month (or week if you have a lot of them). They could get a little Q&A feature in your newsletter, on your site or even on your social media. It becomes a bragging piece for you and more importantly, for them.

If you have more male clients, then reward them with opportunities, add-on services, and/or product. A little something they can enjoy in the moment and feel that instantaneous appreciation. I know a few men who would go giddy just to receive some trial size product or a gift card for some coffee. They’re not hard to please.


Admiration Versus Devotion

It all comes full circle for the men. While they need to feel admired, women need to feel devoted to. That’s where I go back to the men needing that acceptance from others. This could actually be beneficial for a salon or booth renter when it comes to creating referral programs. If either another man or a woman is complimenting a guy on his look, he will most likely bask in that glow of admiration and try to take full credit for it all. Sorry guys, but we know how you work. A majority of men won’t pony up and reveal who has helped them achieve this or share where they go. BUT…if you give them a reason to (go back to the paragraph right above this where I show you how to make them feel appreciated), it may give them a reason to do a little name-dropping, and that means dropping your name.

I’ve noticed this when I talk to women and I’m guilty of it myself. When someone compliments the cut, color or style, women often quickly reply with the name and/or salon name where they go and always say how long they’ve been a client. For instance, “Oh, you like my bangs? Thanks! Justine at Industrie Salon in Geneva cuts my hair. I’ve been going to her for probably 10 years now.” Why do we, as women, do that? Is it because we want to show how devoted we are to the person responsible for helping us look and feel good, and is it to also show how devoted they are to us? Definitely, something to ponder…

Approval Versus Validation

Men need to feel approval while women need to feel validated. I disagree with this one a little bit because I feel like both sexes require these emotions equally. I know personally I do, and I’ve felt both while receiving hair and makeup consultations. I stand firmly when I say that both men and women require that approval and support from their hairdresser, and the feeling of validation. And I feel like a great client consultation is when both of these emotions are met no matter what gender the client is sitting in your chair.


Encouragement Versus Reassurance

Lastly, John Gray touches on the notion that women need to feel reassured while men need to feel encouraged. Again, I don’t feel like these two emotions should be gender-specific, and that both encouragement and reassurance go hand-in-hand. We as humans require emotional support from our loved ones and our peers. When you don’t feel like you have someone backing and cheering your ideas, actions and outcomes, your self-confidence dwindles and you become an emotional pile of goo. That holds true with the relationship between a pro and his/her client. If you’re not encouraging and reassuring your clients, then why should they continue to sit in your chair? These two emotions should be felt from the moment they step into your salon space and well after they’ve paid and left.

So I want you to ask yourself this, “How am I meeting the emotional needs of my male clients, my female clients and my clients as a whole?” If you can’t answer these questions right off the bat, then it’s time to take stock and reassess your approach and strategies.

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