Time for the Big Girls - Groomer to Groomer

Time for the Big Girls

By Victoria Blair

As people who work in the service industry, we’ve all been there. Times when you have to be the adult and deal with things that you really don’t want to deal with. I’ve heard the phrases, “Suck it up,” “Gird your loins,” “Pull the Band-aid Off”, or “Draw a Line In The Sand.” But, no other phrase seems to empower me more than “Putting my Big Girl Panties On.”

It all began when my daughter decided she wanted to start wearing regular panties instead of diapers. I think she was two. Being a “Big Girl” was all it took for her to decide to chuck the diapers. At the end of the day, she was completely potty trained and never wore another diaper again. We were so proud!

That whole scenario reminded me that we can decide what we want out of life, but it requires us to make decisions like a BOSS! Will we remain in the same old situation, or, will we make a change and DO SOMETHING?! Making that change will require us to remember our goals back when we started riding this train called…Grooming Career.

I find these situations call for diplomacy and straight forwardness. Focusing on the solution rather than the problem. And, always, always, remain The Professional. After all, your clients come to you to make their baby look fabulous, they trust you.

Putting on your Big Girls will mean never letting your clients see you as weak. For example, instead of: “I’m so sorry I have to raise my prices, Mrs. Jones, but, gosh darn it, my son needs braces, and my shampoo supplier raised his prices, so now…” Seriously, all the client hears is, “blah, blah, blah!” They don’t really care about your personal life when it comes to costing them more money.

When you put on your Big Girls, you should have a plan in place. I normally let my clients know about a price increase face to face when I’m booking their next appointment. “In April, Fluffy’s groom will be $X.XX. This will allow us to attend more grooming seminars and be able to improve our skills.” Done. Short and sweet. Let them see the benefit of what might be a strain on them. I always make sure I end what they potentially see as bad news, on a positive note. That’s the power of the Big Girls.

I recently had to tell a loyal client I had to cut our visiting time in half. This is a woman who has been with me from the get go of starting my business. We have been through two dogs and the death of her husband in the years that I have been her mobile groomer. Thanks to her, my business has expanded to include more seniors in her 55 plus community. But, due to that, I no longer have the time to chat for an extra half hour in her kitchen where she hands me a goody bag full of cheese sticks and granola bars. I put on my Big Girls and told her I would have to schedule her dog an hour earlier because she made me famous in her neighborhood. She was so excited, at the end of our time together, she scooted me out her back door.

We can make a Poodle look like a rock star with mad scissoring skills, eat hair all day, drive our grooming rigs like a seasoned trucker, yet, all this talent, and we sell ourselves short. (I know you’re out there, too, Guys. I haven’t forgotten!) In this world of instant gratification we are the chosen few who have real skills that require more than a flashy website and a smile. Remember that. It takes time and dedication to be able to make a nosy, wiggly puppy look like a plush stuffed toy.

Don’t sell yourself short! While cruising around on Facebook groomer forums, I noticed advice given to a groomer that had a problem with her neighbor. Some of that advice included taking a plateful of cookies to the neighbor, to giggling endlessly about how silly she could be. True Story! Times have changed, Folks! This is the 21st century!  Habits formed to demean yourself will carry over into your business when dealing with clients. That’s why I say, get paid what you’re worth, enjoy the process, and pull up your Big Girl Panties! ✂

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