A new study has revealed that facial hair of male sellers generates a perception of greater experience of customers, which increases the probability of making a purchase.
A team of scientists carried out research to test “the power of the beard.” Facial hair appears to be a subtle sign we use when evaluating male vendors or service providers.
The research, published in the Journal of Business Research, analyzed the effect of beards on professionals’ perception of experience and their levels of reliability, as well as on the probability of sales and customer satisfaction with the service provided.
“Our research suggests that those who work in [the] sales or service industry, where experience and reliability are crucial to sales success, would do well to grow a beard,” said Sarah Mittal, lead author of the study”cited by Phys.org.
The research revealed that regardless of the sales industry or its context (face-to-face or online), race or ethnicity, attractiveness or likeability of the seller, potential buyers consider bearded men to have greater experience and are more reliable than those who shave, wear a short beard or moustache.
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The researchers used a method to ensure that the sellers’ perceived age, attractiveness and likeability were not alternative explanations for their results. They also took into account the age, gender, income and ethnicity of the subjects of the study to ensure that the characteristics of the consumers did not influence the results obtained.
“The beard really seems to send a consistent message about one’s experience in their field of action, a key factor in sales success. These effects also hold up in a service context, where bearded people receive higher marks for service satisfaction,”said David H. Silvera, study co-author.
The researchers believe the findings could influence not only the policies of the corporate world, where bans on beard wear are not uncommon, but also help those who work in those fields improve their performance with a simple change in appearance.