By Kathy Hosler
“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
Are you the best groomer in the world? According to my clients, I am. And it’s not because I have a wall full of trophies and awards (I don’t), it’s because of how I treat them and the way I take care of and interact with their pets.
Having great grooming skills is important, but that is only the beginning. You need great people skills, too. Almost without exception, people ultimately choose to do business with people whom they like. Okay, so how do you become one of the world’s best? It doesn’t happen overnight. Building your business one great client at a time is the key.
For most people, their first contact with you is a phone call. How you answer your phone is very important. If you have a salon full of barking dogs, and not a minute to spare, let the call go to voicemail. Have your message say that you are busy caring for clients and that you will return their call as soon as possible. When you call them back, take time to explain your services to the potential client and answer any of their questions. If you determine they are a good fit for you, set up an appointment.
People form an immediate opinion of you (good or bad) as soon as they see your salon or mobile van. Is the area outside your salon clean and free of pet waste? When someone steps inside, does it smell like wet dog or urine, or does it smell fresh and is everything clean and tidy? First impressions are something that are not easily changed.
How about you? Do you greet your clients in clean, professional clothing—or are you more likely to wear a worn out t–shirt and old, stained jeans? How would you feel if your doctor, dentist or hairdresser greeted you in ratty clothes? If you expect to be paid like a professional, you have to look and act like a professional!
No matter what is going on in the rest of your life, when that client and pet come for their appointment, your entire focus should be on them. Put a smile on your face and greet them warmly. Show a genuine interest in them. You want them to feel like they are your most important pet client. How you treat the owner and their pet has a direct bearing on the trust they place in you. And, when they trust you and have confidence in your skills, they are at ease leaving their pet with you.
Never stop learning. No matter how many years you have been grooming, there is always something new to learn. Innovative equipment and time–saving tools and products are being introduced everyday. Make it a priority to attend as many trade shows, grooming competitions and seminars as you can.
Let your clients know that you go to these functions to learn the newest techniques to better serve them and their pets. Assure them that you use premium products on their pets. (How would you like it if your hairdresser used dish soap to shampoo your hair?)
Create a website and use social media to advertise your business. Post photos of your grooms (with the owner’s permission, of course), and share your accomplishments, like the seminars you attend or any awards you receive.
Cultivating a loyal client is far more profitable than looking for new ones. Say you have a client that brings their dog to you every four weeks. If you charge them $50 per visit and the dog comes to you for 15 years, you will make nearly $10,000 on that one pet. And that doesn’t include any add–on services or items that you sell at retail to the owners.
Sending a birthday or get well card to the pets I groom is always a huge hit with my clientele. In addition, when someone’s pet dies, you should acknowledge their loss with a phone call, card or sympathy gift. They will always remember your kindness and that you shared in their loss. And, as we all know, most of them will get another pet, and of course they will want you to groom it.
Loyalty like that is priceless. When you have people who rave about your services, and come faithfully year after year—you have created the world’s best clients.
And what do they have? They have you… the Best Groomer in the World! ✂️