5 Ways To Win Over Clients

5 Ways To Win Over Clients

win over clients

Whether you have just met a client for the first time or this is their last scheduled session, all 5 of these techniques are important to use to maintain a lasting relationship between trainer and dog owner.

1. Empathy

This requires exceptional communication and a great imagination. Express understanding of what the client is feeling. Employ active listening skills and clarify the situation they are experiencing. All of these are learned, no one is born with this ability. Take the time to memorize some open-ended and non-judgmental questions to use when clarifying what a client is saying. Keep the questions on an index card somewhere you will see them just before a client session. ‘When you said….what did that mean?’ Or simply paraphrase what they said and ask if that is correct. Don’t be critical of the client, their methods or equipment.

Related Article: The Best Approach for Addressing Aversives and Equipment with New Clients

2. Use Their Name

Remember their name (not just the dog’s). We can tell you a dog’s name from 8 and a half years ago without blinking. Find a way to remember the human’s name as well! Use their name to address them when first greeting, instructing and leaving. Think about how great it feels when you hear your own name through a warm smile as you enter a room.

3. Use Humor

Comedians don’t come up with everything on stage right there on the spot. They plan ahead for those moments. Practice getting laughter out of people. Think of slightly awkward situations dog owners get into and make light of it, by telling a story of yourself going through the same embarrassment. We have all been there!

4. Show Appreciation

Say ‘thank you’ & make eye contact, not just ‘um, thanks’. Handwritten notes, however small can go a long way. Send a personalized note with a picture of their dog as a follow-up. Ask if you may share a picture of their dog on your business Facebook page to show how proud you are of their progress. When you are thinking of someone – let them know by texting, calling or emailing. ‘I was at this cute little boutique downtown and they had a Newfoundland hand towel – it made me think of Nora & you!’

5. Under Promise & Over Deliver

Getting a thoughtful gift is over delivering. Anticipate their needs with a Kong or other toy (braided old t-shirt) for their first puppy ever. Be careful about what you promise. Specifying that they will be called at a certain time may be setting them up for disappointment if something unexpected pops up.

“Promise your commitment, but never a specific outcome” – Dee Hoult Applause Your Paws Inc.

Sometimes you won’t see the immediate effects of employing these 5 ways to win over clients, but they will always remember what made them feel appreciated! Years later a dog owner may run into you on the street and express how wonderful a trainer you were for them and their pet, even if they clearly weren’t doing their homework some weeks.

Which of these have you already been using and which will you add to your repertoire? What others would you add to this list?

Get Dog Training Business Tips!

Receive valuable dog training business tips and resources every week! Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer now by submitting your name and email below.

[mc4wp_form]

Three Ways To Build Your Client and Networking Base

Three Ways To Build Your Client and Networking Base

Three Ways To Build Your-min

Whether you are starting out or are well-established, keeping your business going is not always a walk in the park. There is so much to consider but perhaps the most central concern is that of getting your name out to the general public. There are several ways to do this, each with their own particular pros and cons. Your dog training business’s success will depend on your ability to be recognized. There is no better way to do this than by NETWORKING and ‘oh my gosh’ it can be daunting task. However, once you get past the initial shock of the concept, you’ll find that it’s actually quite easy.

Recommended Reading: Why You Should Do Some Market Research Before Starting Your Dog Training Business

Reaching Out To Fellow Dog Trainers

The way I started networking is what I have termed ‘going in cold’. I directly emailed nearby trainers (to the North, South and West of me) whose philosophies and training styles most resonated with me. I still remember the first email I sent asking to meet up for coffee or lunch. I regretted hitting the send button almost immediately! But my fears were quickly put to rest. I had failed to realize how warm and willing to help out a well-qualified and experienced dog trainer could be. Thank you John, Linda and Pat for replying to my random invite for coffee! That one little reply email was the stepping-stone for me to connect with other trainers and learn the ropes. It was free and best of all has led to the development of awesome friendships and professional contacts. Even more, the relationships I went out on a limb and created allowed me to learn about how I wanted certain aspects of my own business to be. They even led to my first referrals and clients.

Now the ‘going in cold’ networking method isn’t the only way to gain recognition. You can accomplish the same by going through a paid organization, specifically ones like your local Chamber of Commerce or private associations like Business Network International. They both will cost you up front but they do have the potential to drum up solid business leads and turn you into a permanent fixture in your local community.

Related: Check out our “Mastermind Meetups for Modern Dog Trainers” and request one in your area! 

Join Your Chamber Of Commerce

The most familiar of the two is the local Chamber of Commerce. They typically work to increase your business’s visibility by listing your company on their exclusive business directory. Basically a digital Rolodex accessible via the chamber’s website to help customers find relevant services. They also publish monthly, quarterly, and or annual newsletters that feature local business and community activities. Typically you pay a fee to advertise in them. This cost is independent of the membership price, which can either be a flat rate (typically $400 plus) or a scaled fee. The scaled rate is dependent on the size or type of business, e.g. professionals and large corporations being charged the highest. Most all Chamber of Commerce advertise that they will increase your business’s exposure and recognition. For the most part they do deliver on that promise as is documented by a 2012 research study conducted by the Schaprio Group. They determined that membership is seen as “an effective business strategy” by 59% of consumers. More important for dog trainers is how the study indicates that people will see your business as one that both employs “good business practices” and is “reputable” within the community.

The benefits of being a member are not just limited to customer’s perception or being listed in a directory. The hidden value extends from the meaningful face-to-face relationships you will create with local professionals. Through sponsored business mixers and social events (business conferences or luncheons) you will get to know the businesses in your area in person. It is at these events you can make contact with service providers that you, as a business owner, might be in need of–like a quality accountant, photographer, or pet friendly real estate agent. Before you take the leap, keep in mind that programs and service are not all the same. So check with your town’s local Chamber of Commerce for specifics at the US Chamber of Commerce Directory.

Become A Member Of BNI

Another well-known organization focused on improving business success by way of networking is Business Network International. BNI is based on the idea that “givers gain” and founded by Dr. Ivan R. Misner in 1985. Each chapter creates a concentrated environment for professionals and local business owners to interact and direct potential customers between them through word-of-mouth marketing. It is quite effective when utilized.

BNI will let you attend a local chapter before joining in order to get a better feel for what they offer. In my case, I attended a meeting that averaged about an hour in length. My sponsor (who invited me) asked that I have ready a 60 second bio about myself, my business, and what goals I have. While a 60 second introduction may feel like a trial by fire, it actually was a great icebreaker as chapter members have had the same experience at one point in their careers. There are some particular rules to be aware of when attending. For instance, each local chapter is limited to only one member of a particular profession/business. This means that there will be only one lawyer, one mechanic, or one dog trainer within the group; however there can be multiple chapters within a city. You can visit a group for FREE twice before deciding whether or not you want to join! Much like the Chamber of Commerce, you will get the chance to gain inside access to professional services that are needed by business owners. In the chapter I belong to I connected with a CPA and a professional photographer that will be a phenomenal help to my business. The carpet cleaning company is also in my sights 😉

In the end the possibilities are boundless when it comes to successful networking. Networking is about getting to know your neighbors and building relationships so you can both succeed. So however you get it done – it will certainly help you out in the long run. Where and how have you had the best experiences networking? Are you a member of any business organizations?

Get Dog Training Business Tips!

Receive valuable dog training business tips and resources every week! Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer now by submitting your name and email below.

[mc4wp_form]

Share A Little Win A Lot: National Train Your Dog Month

Share A Little Win A Lot: National Train Your Dog Month

National Train Your Dog Month

National Train Your Dog Month-min

National Train Your Dog Month was started by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers in 2010. Their inspiration was to get owners aware of the benefits of training their dogs using scientifically sound techniques. Since many people adopt animals for the holidays, January seemed the perfect month to dub “National Train Your Dog” Month.

“The APDT thought it was long overdue to dedicate a month to bringing awareness to the importance of socialization and training, and most of all, to inform the public that training your dog can be easy and fun!”

In order to encourage participation in this awareness project, the APDT sponsors a contest and prizes every January.

APDT Conference and Prize Giveaway

Hurry! You only have until February 2nd at 5:00PM Pacific to win. “Win what”, you say? The APDT is giving away four great prizes, just for promoting Train Your Dog Month on social media:

1st 

A FREE APDT 5-day Registration for the 21st Annual Educational Conference Oct 14-17, 2015 in Dallas, TX https://apdt.com/conference/

2nd 

A FREE APDT Full student registration for a multi-week online course of your choice, like their course “Aggression and the Law: What Trainers Need to Know.” More courses found here: https://apdt.com/education/courses/

3rd

A FREE APDT Membership for one year, at the level of your choice.

4th

Five free APDT Webinars and a copy of “Dog Trainer’s Resource 3.” Presenters of webinars include, but are not limited to: Pat Miller, Veronica Boutelle & Gina Phairas, Robin Bennett & Susan Briggs, Teoti Anderson, Linda Case, Janis Bradley, Monty Sloan and Jacqueline Muñera.

How To Enter

Ok, I bet by now you are asking how you can get your hands on one of these great prizes? It just happens to be super easy.

Share on any of your social media outlets that January is National Train Your Dog Month (visit http://www.TrainYourDogMonth.com for inspiration). Then, once you’ve shared about Train Your Dog Month, get two or more shares or re-tweets and BAM you are on your way. Send a screenshot of the social media image along with your contact information and APDT member number to: trainyourdogmonth@apdt.com.

For official instructions and rules for entering the APDT’s National Train Your Dog Month Social Media Contest go to their website.

Get Dog Training Business Tips!

Receive valuable dog training business tips and resources every week! Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer now by submitting your name and email below.

[mc4wp_form]

Pin It on Pinterest