In the emotionally charged field of dog training, understanding the psychology behind sales can be a game-changer. Two fundamental concepts that can significantly impact your sales strategy are “Selling to Pain” and “Selling to Pleasure.”


In this blog post, we’ll explore these concepts and how they can be effectively applied in the dog training industry.

Girl and Dog together, text reads relationship-based sales coaching for dog trainers

The Psychology of Sales: Pain vs. Pleasure

Selling to Pain

The concept of “Selling to Pain” revolves around identifying a problem or “pain point” that the customer is experiencing and offering a solution to alleviate that pain.


Application in Dog Training:


Behavioral Issues: Dogs with behavioral problems can be a significant stressor for pet parents. Your training services can be positioned as the solution to this pressing issue.

Lack of Time or Expertise: Many pet parents may not have the time or expertise to train their dogs effectively. Offering convenient and expert training solutions can address this pain point.

Selling to Pleasure

On the flip side, “Selling to Pleasure” focuses on the positive outcomes or benefits that the customer will experience from using your service.


Application in Dog Training:


Improved Relationship: Highlight how effective training can strengthen the bond between the pet parent and their dog, leading to a more harmonious household.

Freedom and Flexibility: A well-trained dog offers the pet parent more freedom and flexibility in their daily activities, from walks in the park to social gatherings.

Tailoring Your Sales Approach

 Consultative Approach

A consultative sales approach involves asking open-ended questions to determine whether the pet parent is more motivated by avoiding pain or seeking pleasure. Once you understand their primary motivator, you can tailor your sales pitch accordingly.


Case Studies and Testimonials

Real-life examples can be powerful tools in your sales arsenal. Use case studies or testimonials that align with either alleviating pain or providing pleasure.


Value Proposition

Your value proposition should be aligned with the primary motivator of your potential client. For example, if they are motivated by pain, a value proposition like “let’s teach your dog not to jump on grandma anymore,” can be compelling. 


Don’t Over-Promise

In the dog training industry, overpromising can be a critical mistake that can damage your reputation and erode trust with your clients. Overpromising leads to mismatched expectations, setting the stage for disappointment and potential loss of business. It’s like saying you can run a mile in 6 minutes when you know you’re an 8-minute-mile at best. 


Setting realistic expectations from the outset is crucial. Be transparent about what your training can achieve and in what timeframe. This approach not only builds trust but also positions you as an honest and reliable professional—qualities that are highly valued in any industry, especially one as nuanced as dog training.

Selling to the Human, Not the Dog

It’s easy to forget that while the end beneficiary of your services is the dog, the decision-maker is the human at the other end of the leash. Your sales approach should, therefore, be geared towards addressing the needs, concerns, and aspirations of the pet parent.

Understanding the Human Element


When a pet parent approaches you, they’re not just looking for a quick fix for their dog’s behavior; they’re seeking a solution that will make their lives easier and more enjoyable.


The Power of Empathy


Empathy is a powerful tool in understanding the human element in the sales process. Put yourself in the pet parent’s shoes. What challenges are they facing? How is their dog’s behavior affecting their daily life and emotional well-being?


Highlighting Life-Improving Benefits


When discussing your services, focus on the life-improving benefits that the pet parent will experience. Instead of just saying, “I can train your dog to sit,” explain how this basic command can make daily activities like feeding or going for walks more manageable.


Visual demonstration of selling to pain vs. pleasure in dog training of a man with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder.

Follow-Up Strategies

Your follow-up communications should continue to emphasize how you are either solving their problem (pain) or enhancing their life (pleasure). This not only reinforces your value but also builds trust and long-term engagement.


After a consultation, it’s crucial to maintain the momentum you’ve built with potential clients. A well-crafted follow-up message can make all the difference in converting a lead into a loyal client. Summarize the key points discussed during the consultation. Outline the next steps, and reiterate how your services can solve their specific problems or enhance their life.


Summarize Key Points: Briefly recap what was discussed during the consultation to show you were attentive and to provide a written record for both parties.


Outline Next Steps: Clearly state what the next steps are, whether it’s another meeting, a trial session, or the start of a training program.


Reiterate Value: Remind them of the benefits of your services, tailored to their specific needs and concerns.


Set a Timeframe: Indicate when you’ll touch base again if you don’t hear back, to keep the process moving.


By incorporating these tips into your post-consultation follow-up, you can effectively guide potential clients towards making a commitment to your services.


Understanding whether your potential clients are motivated by avoiding pain or seeking pleasure can significantly impact your sales strategy. By tailoring your approach to these psychological triggers, you can improve sales and offer a more personalized and empathetic service.

Before you go, check out our coaching services available at Haydn Digital Marketing. We help dog training businesses of all sizes expand their digital reach, convert leads to sales, organize their business, and much more. Reach out to us today to see if we can help you too.

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