Are You Unknowingly Turning Clients Away?

Have you had the experience of a potential client turning to someone else rather than working with you?  There are any number of reasons why this might happen, but in this article we’re going to talk about a mistake you want to avoid making that could be one reason why a pet owner would choose someone else over you.

When someone contacts you for training or behavior help, they have a specific reason for doing so.  Your potential client is having an internal conversation with herself about the problem she wants solved, and who, or what she is looking for to solve it.

If Fido is ruining the carpet by urinating on it, Fido’s dad is looking to get that behavior stopped and stopped sooner rather than later.  If Shep is threatening the neighbor’s children Shep’s parents want Shep to get over it and be a good boy before his behavior causes a neighborhood blow up.

When you first talk to someone, you don’t want to launch into a discussion about the conversation that’s going on in YOUR mind – whether that be the benefits of positive reinforcement training, the dangers of “dominance”, or why “correcting” a dog after the fact won’t stop future soiling.  You may very well want to include those topics in your work with them, but probably not in your first conversation or contact.

If you want to snag that client and have them book your services, you have to do what marketing experts call enter the conversation in your client’s mind.  To do that you need to find out what that conversation is – by first listening and asking questions.

Then target your response to your client’s answers.  Sometimes you might have to reframe what they want.  If they want Fido to understand that peeing in the house is wrong, you might have to reframe that by saying you can understand that (understanding doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing!) AND (not but) you’ll help Fido learn what’s RIGHT.    If they say they can’t have Shep scaring the kids, you say you agree 100% and you can help Shep like kids better.

In other words reassure clients that your training services will meet the need they are looking to fill or the problem they are trying to solve.  Avoid the mistake of being more interested in what you have to say instead of focusing on WHY the person called you. Save the discussion about managing behavior, reinforcing alternatives, problems not being about “dominance, and punishment not being the solution for later.

Another reason to avoid the mistake of talking about the conversation that’s in YOUR mind right off the bat, (rather than the other way around), is you want to avoid giving away your expertise.  It’s understandable to be passionate about your knowledge and skills and what’s best for dogs, but if you have your own business, then you are not a charitable organization.  Your knowledge, skills and time are the “products” you sell.  Wait until you’ve booked the appointment until you share more of your expertise.

One of our Behavior Education Network members favorite webinars is one we did on this topic of “Managing Your Phone Time”.  Members told us it transformed how they handled inquiry calls, dramatically decreased phone time that did not result in appointments, and prevented their stress and frustration of giving away information for free.

To summarize – the mistake you want to avoid is paying more attention to the conversation in your own mind, rather than entering the one that is in your client’s mind.  Avoid that mistake by listening, asking questions and targeting your answers to what your clients want.

Want to get better at this skill quickly?  Become a member of Behavior Education Network and you’ll INSTANTLY have at your fingertips an entire “how to” library including:

  • Using Your Behavior Knowledge and Social Media to Promote Your Business
  • Behavior Histories as Marketing Tools
  • Increasing Veterinary Referrals: Professional Marketing for Trainers
  • And MORE!! 

So – if you aren’t a BEN member – why not?

It’s time you stopped lamenting the loss of clients and started celebrating acquiring new ones!

Click on our HOME page join BEN today!


Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field