Making a Difference When You Only Have 5 Extra Minutes

By Melissa Viera

In five minutes or less you can warm up some food for lunch in the microwave, send a few text messages, scroll through social media, paint your nails or do any number of small things.

Five minutes might not be a long time but sometimes it is just enough. When you are a busy pet groomer, finding five minutes in your day to do small things like make calls or type out grooming notes feels like trying to find time that doesn’t exist.

Small things are not the only mini accomplishments that can happen in just five short minutes. You can inspire and educate; making a difference in the lives of people and animals in just a few extra minutes away from the grooming table.

The thought of one more thing to do is already making your eyes wide. Breathe. You are probably already using your non–grooming minutes to talk with clients so why not lead conversations that will have a positive impact? You can talk with your clients about many different things that are beneficial including brushing and combing techniques, grooming frequency recommendations, general coat care and how to help their pets learn to love the grooming process.

These tips will help you use your time wisely and have short, but powerful conversations that don’t put you behind on busy days.

Have a Simple Goal In Mind

If you plan to talk with a client when they come to pick up their pet, have a goal in mind before the conversation even begins. You might want to tell them about many things, but what are the most important points that you need to get across? Set a goal for the conversation you are about to have and then simplify it and simplify it again. Be prepared to be a good listener and to be able to work in the things you’d like to discuss with your clients in a natural way. Use examples or stories and talk not just with words but with body language. If you want your client to truly take in what you are telling them, you have to communicate in a way that will help them remember. Clients are very excited about seeing their pets after grooming and every person has many things on their mind at once so keep your message simple and to the point so it does not become overwhelming or diluted.

Tell Them the things They are Doing Well

Some topics are difficult to bring up without making your client feel badly. If their pet had overgrown nails, explain to them what they can do to help and how to tell when it’s time for a nail trim. Your clients love their pets and it might be embarrassing for them if you point out things that they can do differently in the future or issues that you noticed. Point out the things that your clients are doing well and share your tips for the things they might need some extra help with in a way that does not make them feel ashamed. You can make a difference by educating your clients and they will be grateful for it, but if you make them feel like you are only there to point out problems they will not be happy about having the conversation at all. Remember that if your goal is to help pets and make a difference, you have to reach the pet owners.

Give Them Simple but Solid Advice

When it comes to the areas that need some work, be prepared to do more than just point them out. Tell your clients exactly what they can do when it comes to maintaining their pets’ coats and nails. Having examples or even educational handouts you can share might be helpful.

Practice Closing Conversations

One of the challenges of having conversations with your clients is that every minute in the grooming salon is important. It’s easy to fall behind if you get caught up with chatting. By keeping your message simple and ending conversations on a positive and polite note, you can share important information without falling behind. One way to close conversations is to remind your clients that they can always contact you with additional questions, should they think of any, and give them something they can act on right away. For example, after explaining brushing methods, you could say “Give it a try when you go home today. It’s a great time to practice brushing now that your dog’s coat is freshly groomed.” End your conversations with eye contact and a smile.

Follow Up

If you truly want your clients to follow through with the advice you share, build a relationship with them and check in between grooming appointments. Sending an email to see how your client is making out with the tips you discussed can serve as a friendly reminder. To save time, you could keep a few email templates explaining popular topics that you can quickly send out to clients when the topics come up. Some ideas for general notes to have on file and ready to use include: brushing and combing tips, training for clipper sounds and nail maintenance.

Include Notes in Client Files

To streamline your process, have a system to quickly take notes of the topics you discuss with each client in their profile or file so that you will remember the next time they come in. Your clients will appreciate that you remember the last conversation you shared and that you care enough to ask about their progress.

Remember That You are Making a Difference

I have said it many times before. Groomers do a whole lot more than groom pets. We can make a difference when we give our clients a few extra minutes to discuss their pet’s grooming. Having powerful conversations in just a few minutes takes practice but the better you get at this skill, the more pets and people you can help. Your clients will thank you for the time you spend with them even when you only have five extra minutes.  ✂

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