What A Haircut Taught Me About Business

Austin Dixon
4 min readJul 15, 2017

For those of you that know me well, you know that I spent my college years getting free haircuts from a best friend. Although I transitioned from my high school buzzcut into a much more respected look during college, I still couldn’t justify paying $20+ for a haircut in Malibu as a broke student.

Since moving back to Washington and away from my personal stylist (thanks Katherine), I’ve realized that as an adult haircuts are something you can’t really get away with not paying for. After nearly 9 months of trying different places, I’ve finally found a hair salon that I’ll be a lifetime customer at. Regardless of receiving the best haircut of my life, my stylist and the salon itself ended up teaching me a thing or two about marketing.

1. Always under promise and over deliver

When I sat down for my haircut, my stylist asked me a few questions of what I was looking for. After a few mumbled words acting like I know hair, I told him to keep it shorter on the sides and leave some length on top “like his.” He chuckled and proceeded to tell me about how he should “have Christina cut my hair” because that’s who cut his. It was light-hearted, funny, and for a second made me worry about his hair cutting ability.

It wasn’t until after I was done with my cut did I realize what he was doing… Instead of boasting about what great haircuts he gave, the hair dresser ‘under promised’ what I was to expect. He made sure to connect with my emotions by making a joke, but he was subtly setting me up for that surprise moment where my expected value was lower than what he provided. In doing so, he made me walk away feeling as if he was some sort of hair magician.

Businesses need to always find a way to over deliver on their products and services.

2. It’s OK to ask for the sale, review, or referral

There seems to be some weird stigma in business (especially on the local level) surrounding asking for favors. We shy away from conversations that have to do with asking our clients for reviews and referrals. We tend to shy away during a pitch when the financial side of things get brought up. However, it’s totally acceptable to ask for these things as long as there’s strong rapport.

Towards the end of the haircut, my stylist made a comment about how he was cutting the back of my head. Since I have a gnarly cowlick that was cut wrong a few months ago, he told me he was going to shape it a certain way so that “a month from now” he can make it unnoticeable. His confidence and comfortability in knowing that he had already made a lifelong client because of the great service he provided did nothing but make me more excited to come back in next month.

If every business became comfortable with building a trusted relationship with their consumers, asking for sales/reviews/referrals becomes a lot easier and more powerful.

3. Consumers want experiences, not “things”

The last thing I want when I go get a haircut is to sit there in silence for 40 minutes while a random person with scissors hacks away at my head. It’s uncomfortable, awkward, and (quite frankly) a bit weird. Good stylists know this and will do everything they can to make you relaxed during your visit.

Throughout the entirety of being at the salon, I was treated like a celebrity. Immediately, I was greeted by the front desk whom all seemed to know my name (and if they didn’t, they did a great job faking it). Since I arrived a little early, I sat in the lobby which was full of comfortable furniture, enough magazines to keep me busy for a month, and plenty of snacks & refreshments. The salon was clean, had some upbeat background music playing, and every single employee seemed to be enjoying their job. Something about the atmosphere really made me buy into the haircut that I hadn’t even received yet.

Culture is an imperative part of any business in today’s day and age. If you can’t show consumers that there are actual humans behind your brand, you’re failing the branding game.

4. Create something people want to share

I left my haircut last week stoked to share my new haircut with my Snapchat friends. It took me all but 2 seconds after walking out the doors to pull out my phone and send a selfie with the caption, “New haircut looking 🔥🔥🔥” because I couldn’t wait to show everyone how good I looked. This haircut made me feel confident, smart, and like a completely new man.

I’m writing this article a nearly week after having my haircut. The power behind that is I remember every fine detail of my experience.

If you’re trying to build a lasting business, create something to help your audience rather than to sell to your audience. You’ll be amazed at the results you’ll see.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever had such a good experience with a business that all you wanted to do was share? Comment below and let me know!

Want to read more on marketing & entrepreneurship?

Jump on over to my blog 👉 www.ayeeedixon.com/blog



Austin Dixon

I like to build brands. Currently making hair loss history @adegen >> Get my free “A-List Emails” course at AListMarketer.com