By Kathy Hosler
Have you ever wished that you had a magic wand that you could wave and instantly remove the mats and tangles from the coats of the pets that you groom? If you are like most groomers; it’s probably an everyday wish. Well, you may not have that magic wand in your grooming toolbox, but you can create something pretty close to it.
Today’s groomers have a largely untapped resource that can help to reduce or even eliminate the mats and tangles – and that resource is on the end of every leash that enters your salon or mobile unit. That’s right, your clients can become a valuable asset to you. And, you can make them eager to assist you in their pet’s care. Every pet that you groom needs maintenance care between its professional visits. But, the pet parents cannot perform that maintenance without the proper tools and the knowledge to use them. That’s where you and your expertise come in.
Retailing combs, brushes, de-shedding tools, and the coat care products that go with them is something that every groomer should be doing — and can profit from. Why should your clients go to some pet store, big box store, or even their local grocery or dollar store (instead of your establishment) to buy grooming equipment for their pets? Without expert guidance they could easily buy something that is totally inappropriate for the kind of hair that their pet has. They need your assistance to help them select their at-home grooming equipment.
You have a great opportunity every time a client brings their pet to you to be groomed. The time that you invest in educating your clients about at-home maintenance grooming can pay off in a big, big way for you. At the check in, you should examine the pet while the owner is present and allow them to watch and observe as you go over their pet. Discuss with them the condition their pet is in and what will need to be done during the grooming process. This is a great opportunity to point out trouble areas such as the armpits, ears, or other areas of matting that the owners may overlook. Explain to them how painful the tangled and matted hair can be for their pet.
Show them the tools that they should be using on their pet between their professional grooming visits. Demonstrate the correct way to use the tools. Show them step-by-step what they should do. Then let them try out the tool while you are watching to make sure they are using it properly. Sell them the tools and any other coat care products that they will need. Products that make brushing easier may entice the owners to brush more frequently.
Give them a brochure or handout about brushing techniques to guide them and to reinforce the at-home grooming procedures. It may even be beneficial to you to offer your clients group classes on basic pet care. Make the focus of the at-home grooming all about their pet’s comfort and well-being. It’s important to make the owners feel that the sessions will be fun and a bonding experience for them and their pets. Of course, we all know that not everyone you take the time to go over the brushing and combing procedures with will follow through. But, the pet owners that accept your training will become a valuable asset to your business and to your bottom line.
Besides selling owners the specific brushes, combs, or shedding tools that are right for their needs, there are a multitude of other grooming supplies that they should have. Tick removal tools, nail care products, dental care products, and coat and skin care products are just some of the items that you can retail to your clients. You can also stock pet chews, treats, toys, and supplements. There is no end to the impulse and repeat sales that these items can create. Retailing pet care items is a special service and a convenience that you can provide to your clients. You can become their ‘personal shopper’ to help them select the best for their pets.
But, your involvement doesn’t end with the sale of the brushes and other grooming tools. You and your willingness to invest quality time to educate the pet owners is the key to making this groomer/pet/owner alliance beneficial to all involved. The pet will benefit when they are brushed and combed on a regular basis. The brushing is a much more enjoyable experience for them when they are mat and tangle free. The owner will get a pet that looks good, even between professional grooming appointments. They will get lots of ‘together time’ with their pet when they learn to properly care for them at home. And, you will benefit. Not only will you gain from the retail sales of grooming products, you will be seeing pets arrive for their grooming appointments in much better shape with less mats and tangles. That will save you a lot of time and also reduce the amount of wear and tear on your body.
Don’t be afraid to include retail selling as part of your daily interaction with your clients. And remember, repeat sales can really boost your bottom line. You may not have a magic wand, but you can make magic happen. It’s easy when you ‘brush up’ on your retailing skills!