Editor’s note: This article is based on a presentation given by the author at America’s Expo for Skin Care & Spa 2008 in March.
He may be a banker, construction worker, CEO, fireman, bus driver or stockbroker. He’s most likely compulsive—he wants what he wants when he wants it, and he’s stimuli-driven—sports channels, car magazines, talk radio and ice cold beer. He’s the typical guy—only the new kind of typical guy who now understands what it is to take care of himself. He wants to be taken care of, yet doesn’t want it to be obvious. He wants to be a part of that exclusive guys-only club where guys can be guys and yet feel good about their image.
This is the typical male market demographic. But how do you turn this barbershop-boy demographic into a profit-generating, metro-male spa clientele? The typical male client is a well-rounded executive who has now transformed to include sons and fathers of loyal clients. From young men to their grandfathers, take the opportunity to tap into the full gamut. And although the following four-step process can be viewed as simplistic, it is only through consistency and maintaining fluidity in the process that results can come to full-circle success.
Step 1: Men’s female backing
First and foremost, it is imperative to understand where most men receive their inspiration and direction for personal services—women. The female market dictates the direction of the male demographic. Be it through a wife, girlfriend, mother, sister or significant other, the majority of males gravitate toward the sense of style directed by the significant female in their lives.
Typically, a man’s first service in a spa occurs based on a need for eyebrows to be groomed, body hair to be manscaped or a hairstyle to be brought out of the 1980s.
To start generating a male clientele, target advertising and in-house marketing to the female, as she will most likely be a man’s driving force.
Step 2: A comfortable start
Once the men are led through the spa’s front door, it is up to the facility’s team members to educate them on what their grooming and wellness needs are, as well as how the spa can help fulfill them in a man-friendly, safe environment where they can still be men.
Here are some ideas on how to make male clients feel welcome and comfortable.
Give them a tour. Show them the layout—it’s not a place to be feared. Offer water or a beer, maybe magazines to peruse, and show them the amenities. Is there a gym or locker room? Steam shower? Sauna? Whatever your male clients are looking for when they enter your spa, be sure to show them where it is so they don’t feel uncomfortable when looking for it.
Introductions. Familiarize them with the staff, and help them feel at ease by having team members use first names. For men, the spa should be like the television show Cheers—it’s where everybody knows your name.
Education. Teach and show men, using stimuli or visual aids, about the variety of services and the benefits and results of each, and the visual aids should be men-specific. In other words, when informing male clients about what is available at the spa, use pictures of men receiving the services. This helps put the service in their grasp of reality. Allowance. Offer them the remote to the TV so they can choose what they want to watch, and allow them to steer the topic of conversation during the service. If they don’t choose anything to discuss, engage in the traditional male-friendly topics—sports, politics, movies, local happenings and the like.
Step 3: Keeping men engaged
Now that you have him in the door and feeling all right about being there, how do you keep a man’s attention and turn this potential one-night stand into a long-term relationship?
Bundling services. Offer a hot shave with a haircut or a scalp treatment while he’s getting a facial. Suggest a manicure and pedicure following a massage or have a manicure done during a haircut.
Express services. Keep it short and sweet—men can get bored quickly. Get them in and out with shortened services such as an express manicure that is 10–15 minutes long instead of the typical spa manicure that can be up to 45 minutes long.
Male-friendly services. Instead of calling a hair coloring a tint, call it age-defying. Instead of offering microdermabrasion, call it an extreme facial. Talk in terms the average man can understand, allowing him to feel more open to partaking in the service. You want male guests to feel comfortable telling their friends about the treatments they receive and to feel confident in recommending them.
The club concept. Give men the option to pre-purchase services. That way, they are familiar with the offering and are committed. Also, it makes the experience easier, as the men don’t have to wait around in line to pay each time. Then, for example, when they pre-purchase and schedule 12 massages, surprise them with additional services throughout their pre-scheduled package. During their sixth massage, offer a complimentary express manicure. After their ninth massage, offer a complimentary hot shave, and after their twelfth massage, offer them a complimentary pedicure. This will familiarize them with other available options and thank them for their continued loyalty.
A wellness approach. Teach men that preventive maintenance is going to result in better success in maintaining their look and overall good feeling. Talk in terms of wellness, saying things such as, “A massage every month helps lower blood pressure, de-stress and release toxins from the body,” instead of “Take time for yourself in our spa with a nice soothing massage.”
Establish loyalty. Men will remain loyal once you get them there—leading them in is the important step. A good way to help establish that loyalty is to have your front desk personnel pre-book men’s appointments, even before they finish their service.
Step 4: Homeward bound
Don’t let these male clients fall off when they go home, either. With home care, the most critical thing to remember is that you should keep it plain and simple. Recent statistics show new clients who purchase home care products following a service are about 85% more likely to return than those who do not.
Talk it up. Tell your male clients what home care products are necessary to maintain skin health, and talk in terms of results.
Men are purchasers—not shoppers. They don’t want to look around, browsing lots of different things; they want you to pick it out for them, make it easy and tell them what it is. Once you lead them to the product they should purchase, they will—as long as it isn’t overwhelming. Never offer them more than two items, and suggest products that multitask, such as a cleanser for the hair, face and body.
Quick, simple and value. These are the characteristics that will catch a man’s attention. Promotions and sales help direct a man to purchase what he needs.
With the outline for success discussed, one thing that it is imperative in continuing that success is your spa’s team members.
Consistent faces. Hire for the long-term, as it solidifies the comfort factor with your client so they can feel as though they are building a relationship with your team members.
Leadership. A leader who understands the male client, the male market and what it takes to maintain success once you have built it is essential to your spa’s male market prosperity.
Flexible staff. A team member who understands that not all men will pre-book and that, even though they begin their day with openings, men will call last minute or on the spur of the moment, is important for success.
A familiarity with clients. It is essential to the success of a male-oriented spa to have a team that understands the uniqueness of men and are able to cater to that understanding. Remember, what works in women’s spas generally won’t work in men’s.
A plan for male market success
Your success in maximizing in the male market will be as unique an accomplishment as is the male market itself. Through consistency, leadership, and knowledge—both technical and guest service-related—you will be able to benefit from this profit-generating and loyalty-based market for a long time to come.