Terminology goes a long way when selling and promoting your add-on options. Clients will often use words like “pee-pee area,” “thingy,” “man parts” or “booty shave” when asking for a sanitary trim. Or they use words like “naked” or “shaved back” when asking for a lion cut.
Add-ons sell best when clients understand their choices. It is important to use words on your list of services that your clients will understand. Customizing your add-on options to the vocabulary that your clients use can enhance your branding.
When thinking of what to call your different services, begin with your theme, then consider the trending vocabulary for your ideal client. When your business can apply words of well-known concepts to the service options your business offers, it helps your clients feel more comfortable when asking for what they want. After you have picked what to call each service, you can add pictures of the options to your website and list of services to add clarity for your clients.
Many cats need a sani. It is helpful for cats that race in and out of the litter box, have a long coat or are prone to matting between their back legs. Outside of pet grooming, the word “sani” is not well known. Some clients won’t ask for it because they do not know what to call it. Other clients will make up their own words.
In my opinion, a sani is the most important add-on service for a cat grooming client to understand. My business runs off of a spa theme, and my clients spend a lot of time around pools and at the beach, so “Brazilian” was a term they were familiar with and easily understood. That is why my business calls a sani a Brazilian. Think about your theme and what the majority of your clients might understand when choosing titles for your services. Some other popular terms for sani are “manscaping” or “booty trim.”
Another term that clients need help understanding is “comb cut.” Most clients know that they want a comb cut, but sometimes it can get confusing because clients do not know what word to use. They also forget how you get the look of the comb cut. Often clients will say they want an “inch off the ends.” Sometimes my clients will try to argue and insist that last time I used scissors instead of clippers to perform a comb cut.
When I changed from using the term “comb cut” to “teddy bear cut,” my business ran smoother. Many clients know they do not want a lion cut; however, they are not sure how to explain that they want that plush look a comb cut results in. Using the word “teddy bear” was very easy for clients to understand and relate to.
Other terms like “half belly,” “full belly” and “de-shed” are self-explanatory. Clients seem to understand these words very easily. However, here I would like to caution you: If you decide to change these terms on your list of services, be careful that the new words you pick are not going to cause confusion for your clients. The first goal for our list of services is to make requesting services easy and understandable for the client. After our terminology is clear to the client, then we can fit the terms we choose for our services into our branding. If the words we choose to name our services cause us to take a longer time to explain the options to the client, it is not enhancing our business and needs to be reconsidered.
Sometimes the terms we use will make us stand out above our competition. After all, who wants just a nail trim when they can have a pedicure? Both a nail trim and a pedicure may be exactly the same service, but when a client is choosing between a nail trim and a pedicure, a pedicure will be much more appealing for many client bases. Keep in mind, the opposite is also true: Some clients will automatically assume a pedicure is too expensive and fancy for their cat. When choosing what to name your services, it is important you understand your client base.
Some fun terms I like to use that enhance my branding and spa-based theme are “facial,” “paw-dicure” and “massage.” If you are just starting your business or are considering rebranding, spend some time thinking of words or concepts that fit your theme. You may find it helpful to perform web searches of your theme and look for words and concepts that are common. Another fun route to take is to make up words that fit your branding. It is ok to make up words when the meaning is obvious, like “paw-dicure.”
Sometimes mistakes happen when our list of services is not clear. When we have clear and concise terms that clients understand, it helps us make sure our business is providing the services the client is requesting.
Once I had a client tell me she wanted the back of her cat shaved naked. In my mind, “back shaved naked” was a lion cut. When I presented the cat to the owner, her mouth literally dropped. When she asked for the cat’s back to be shaved naked, she had intended for the cat to be left in full coat and have a sani. This is why words that the client can understand are important on our list of services.
Another lesson I learned that day is that, no matter how clear you are with your words, it is always a good idea to show the client exactly what you intend to do while their cat is in front of you. If I had said, “You want all of this shaved?” and ran my hand over the back, the owner would have stopped me and said, “No I want here shaved,” pointing to the sanitary area.
Add-ons are important to the financial health of a business. Using terminology that clients understand and are comfortable using will make sure the client gets what they want. When you can fit those terms into your branding, and add pictures, it is a win for your business. ✂️