Selling dog training packages is an art and a science. It’s not just about showcasing your skills as a dog trainer but also about understanding the psychology of your potential clients. The key to successful sales lies in your ability to offer not just a service but a comprehensive solution to your client’s problems. In this blog post, we’ll delve deep into the strategies and techniques to help you sell your dog training packages effectively.
Coming Prepared to the Initial Consultation: A Sign of Professionalism
One of the most crucial steps in securing a client’s trust and business is the initial consultation. This is your first in-person interaction with the client and their dog, and it sets the tone for the entire training process. Coming prepared is not just a good practice; it’s a necessity.
Know the Dog’s Behavior Problems in Advance
Before the consultation, ensure you have a solid understanding of the dog’s behavior issues. This information should be gathered during your initial communications with the client, whether that’s through a phone call, email, or questionnaire. Review these details thoroughly so you can tailor your approach to the specific challenges the dog presents. This information can also be gathered automatically from the client using a CRM software, such as Haydn Pro.
Have a Plan for the Dog
Based on the information you’ve gathered, come prepared with a general plan for the dog. This doesn’t mean you have all the answers right away, but you should have a structured idea of how you’ll assess the dog’s behavior, what techniques might be most effective, and how you’ll adapt if the dog doesn’t respond as expected. Having a plan shows the client you’re proactive and knowledgeable, increasing their confidence in your abilities.
Structure the Consultation
In addition to having a plan for the dog, have a plan for how the consultation itself will go. Know the sequence of events, from introductions to assessments to discussing potential training packages. A well-structured consultation is easier to navigate and leaves less room for awkward or unproductive moments.
Example 45-Minute Consultation Schedule for Dog Training
Navigating a 45-minute consultation effectively requires a well-thought-out schedule. Time is of the essence, and you want to ensure you cover all the necessary points without feeling rushed. Here’s a sample schedule to help you make the most of your initial consultation with a new client and their dog.
Introduction and Ice-Breaking (5 minutes)
Greet the client and the dog.
After years of training dogs, many dog trainers forget the very important step of actually being affectionate with your client’s dog. If the dog’s behavior allows, pet the dog and show the client that you like their dog. This may sound obvious, but something this simple can help your client feel significantly safer sending their dog to you.
Briefly discuss the reason for the consultation and what the client hopes to achieve.
Initial Observation (5 minutes)
Allow the dog to move freely in a controlled environment.
Observe the dog’s behavior, body language, and interactions.
Client Interview (10 minutes)
Ask the client specific questions about the dog’s history, behavior issues, and any previous training.
Discuss the dog’s daily routine, diet, and any medical issues.
Dog Evaluation (10 minutes)
Conduct any specific tests or exercises to assess the dog’s behavior, temperament, and reactions to various stimuli.
This could include basic commands, socialization tests, or specialized tests based on the dog’s issues.
Discuss Findings and Recommendations (10 minutes)
Share your observations and evaluation results with the client.
Discuss your recommended training approach and why you believe it will be effective.
Pricing and Next Steps (5 minutes)
Clearly and confidently state the cost of your training package.
Discuss the next steps, including the training schedule and what the client should expect.
By adhering to a schedule, you not only ensure that you cover all the essential points, but you also demonstrate your professionalism and establish respect for both the client’s time and yours. It’s a win-win situation that sets the stage for a successful training relationship.
Evaluating the Dog: The Foundation of Effective Training
The initial consultation isn’t just about impressing the client; it’s also your first opportunity to evaluate the dog you’ll be working with. This evaluation is crucial for several reasons: it helps you understand the dog’s behavior, informs your training approach, and sets realistic expectations for the client. Here’s how to go about it.
Observation is Key
The first step in evaluating a dog is observation. Watch how the dog interacts with its environment, animals, and people. Take note of body language, vocalizations, and specific triggers that elicit certain behaviors. Observation gives you a baseline understanding of the dog’s temperament and social skills.
Depending on the dog’s behavior issues, you may need to conduct specific tests to gauge reactions to various stimuli. For example, if a dog is food-aggressive, a controlled test involving food bowls and fake hands can provide valuable insights. Always ensure these tests are conducted in a safe and controlled environment to prevent harm to the dog or humans involved.
Asking the Right Questions
While your observations and tests will provide much information, don’t underestimate the value of the owner’s input. Ask targeted questions to get a fuller picture of the dog’s behavior. Questions like, “When did this behavior start?” or “Have there been any changes in the home environment recently?” can offer context that observational data alone cannot provide.
Let’s say you’re dealing with a dog that has separation anxiety. Your evaluation would include observing how the dog behaves when the owner is about to leave the house, asking the owner about the dog’s behavior when they’re not home, and possibly even reviewing footage from a pet camera. You might also conduct a test where you have the owner leave the room for a few minutes to observe the dog’s reaction. These elements together will give you a comprehensive understanding of the issue.
Why Evaluation is Crucial
A thorough evaluation is the cornerstone of any successful training plan. It allows you to tailor your approach to the specific needs and behaviors of each dog, increasing the likelihood of successful training outcomes. It also sets the stage for clear communication and realistic goal-setting with your client, invaluable for building a strong, lasting relationship.
By incorporating a detailed evaluation into your initial consultation, you’re not just gathering data; you’re showing your client that you have the skills and expertise to address their concerns effectively.
The Balancing Act
The key is to strike a balance. Provide enough value to showcase your skills but leave room for the client to see the need for a comprehensive training package. For instance, you could focus on one or two immediate issues during the initial consultation and outline a plan to address other behavioral problems over time.
Customized Packages Over Pre-set Plans
Dogs are as unique as people, and a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. Offering customized packages adds a personal touch to your services and shows that you’re attentive to each dog’s needs.
Payment Plans and Financial Flexibility
Financial constraints are often a significant concern for potential clients. Offering flexible payment options can make your services more accessible and appealing. Whether it’s a monthly installment plan or a pay-per-session arrangement, providing financial flexibility can be a game-changer in securing long-term clients. Websites like Stripe can help you set up easy scheduled online payments for a client.
The Art of the Sale: Confidence is Key
The Importance of Confidently Stating Your Prices
In the dog training industry, how you present your prices can make or break a sale. Confidence is key when discussing the financial aspects of your services. When you start justifying your prices or appear hesitant, you risk losing the client’s trust and, consequently, the sale.
The “State and Shut Up” Approach
There’s a saying in sales that goes, “State the price, and shut up.” This approach is particularly effective in the dog training business. When you confidently state your price and then pause, you allow the client to process the information. This silence can be powerful; it puts the ball in the client’s court and subtly communicates that your services are worth the price you’ve stated.
Why This Works
This method works because it eliminates the awkwardness that often accompanies financial discussions. It also prevents you from unintentionally devaluing your services by over-explaining or justifying your prices. Remember, you’re not just selling a service; you’re offering a solution to a problem. Your expertise, experience, and the quality of service you provide justify the price. There’s no need to elaborate further.
A Real-Life Example
Imagine you’re at an initial consultation, and the client asks about the price of a comprehensive training package for their dog with multiple behavioral issues. You could say, “The package, which includes 10 sessions and ongoing support, is $XXXX.” Then, stop talking. Let the client absorb this information and make the next move. Your confidence in stating the price without justification sends a strong message about the value you provide.
By adopting this confident approach, you not only make the sales process smoother but also establish yourself as a professional who knows their worth. This can go a long way in building a successful dog training business.
Selling dog training packages is not just a transaction; it begins a long-term relationship with your client. By offering customized solutions, flexible payment options, and exceptional service, you’re not just selling a package; you’re providing lasting value. And that is the key to successful sales in the dog training business.