How to Encourage New Customers When Building Your Grooming Business

 

Making Room for New Customers!

By: Melissa Verplank

Recently, I was giving one of my most popular lectures at a large tradeshow. It’s about client management through retention rate, rebooking and referrals. In the lecture, I talk about grooming businesses are about selling a relationship. It’s about trust. It’s about education. It’s about creating repeat business.

Who will survive and thrive regardless of what kind of economic factors are put upon our grooming businesses?

Towards the end of the session, an audience member made a profound statement. Something I had never thought of let alone, touched on. The tip she shared with the audience was brilliant.

I wish I caught her name so I can give her the full credit…

During the warm weather seasons, professional groomers are always busy. Most of us are booking out two - three weeks or more in advanced. Does this sound like you?

When it’s warm, people always want their pets groomed. They’re hot. They’re dirty. Even the once or twice a year clients get their dogs groomed, whether they need it or not. 

But where are those once or twice a year clients during the slower times of year? When your appointment book is not nearly as full. Those of the times when you wish you had more regular clients. Clients who book consistently every two, three, four or six weeks out.

Those clients are your bread-and-butter clients. They keep your bills paid. Food on your table. They are the ones you can count on. Any successful grooming salon wants a roster full of regular customers.

But when you are booking weeks out during your busy times, how do you get more ‘regular’ clients.

Here’s the tip my audience participant shared.

She said she always leaves at least one opening per day to accommodate walk-ins and new clients.

Why?

A new client will not wait 2 or 3 weeks to book an appointment with you. They will just move on to the next groomer who does have an opening.  And they only have to be happy one time and you’ve lost them. 

Clients who you already have a relationship with, will wait. Or they will pre-book their appointment to ensure they have a slot with you.

By doing this, she constantly has a new stream of fresh clients. Clients that she can educate. Clients she can count on during the slower times of the year. As she builds up her regular clients, she can eliminate the once or twice a year dogs. After all, wouldn’t you rather work on a super regular client vs a twice a year outdoor farm dog?

$100 for a once a year farm dog seems like a lot of money. But is it?

Let’s say you have a 6-week regular client who you charge $50 per visit. That’s half of the once a year farm dog. You are going to see that client eight to nine times a year. On an annual basis, you’re going to earn between $400 and $450 for that single client. 

The farm dog? You will earn $100.

Which would you rather do?

If you do not make time in your schedule to take on new customers, you might just miss adding a valuable client. One that will keep your bills paid when it’s slow one that will give your staff a reason to come to work when other salons don’t have any dogs to groom.

Which salon would you rather work at?

As a bonus, making room in an already packed schedule allows you some wiggle room. Maybe you don’t have a walk-in on that day. Or maybe you don’t have a new customer calling to book an appointment. That open slot allows you a little breathing room. Probably at a time when you most need it.

Do you have to take every first-time appointment or walk-in coming through your doors? Absolutely not.

I would ask some critical information of the front before you get too far into the conversation. Of course, they will want to know the price. That gives you the opportunity to find out what breed of dog it is. How old is the pet? How big is the dog? And, what condition it is in and/or how long since his last professional grooming?

These few critical questions will help you determine whether you book an appointment for the client – or not. Trust your gut with what the client says. It’s your appointment book.

When you do make room for a new client, make sure you also take the time to educate them. Most clients don’t know how frequently they should have their dogs (or cats) groomed. Talk to them about their lifestyle. How much work they want to do in between grooming. What can you do for them – and what are your limitations based on the condition of the pet. Custom create a regular schedule that will suit their needs and keep their pet looking and feeling it’s best.

We you get it right every time? No. But if you don’t make room for prospective new customers during your busiest times, you won’t have regular clients to carry you through when it’s slow.

This is a great technique to consider when growing your business or adding new groomers and stylist to your team.

About the Paragon School of Pet Grooming

Founded by grooming industry icon, Melissa Verplank, Paragon is focused on the success and career development of pet professionals at all levels, beginner to expert.  Melissa has authored the industry’s most complete grooming guides such as Notes from the Grooming Table and Theory of 5.  Paragon offers grooming education at its On-Campus training center in Michigan. It also brings the on-campus experience to everyone through its Distance Learning Program and Learn2GroomDogs.com.  Paragon is regarded as one of the best grooming schools in the world. Ms. Verplank and her team have created award winning platforms with traditional education programs and web-based learning tools.


Education is Everything

Education Is Everything

By Melissa Verplank 

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We have a motto within my companies when it comes to learning. 

Education is everything.

It is at the very core of everything we do. Why?

I see learning as never ending. It does not matter what stage you are in your career. Or what stage you are in your life. Continued learning offers positive opportunities around every turn. 

I was never a great student in school. Traditional academics did not excite me. But once I got into dog grooming, now that was a different story. 

I became passionate about learning. About growing my career. I didn’t seek out traditional methods. Most of my learning was self-directed. Something much more challenging before the age of the Internet! I quickly understood the wealth of benefits continued education unleashed. 

For my grooming skills. For my customer service skills. For my
operational skills. For my management skills. For my business skills. For my marketing skills. Or even my personal well-being, both physically and mentally. The benefits were immense. The opportunities were limitless.

I started learning the value of ‘education is everything’ before I even started my first business. Once I started my first business, I was off and running. The amount of information I needed to be efficient and effective to grow my business while developing my team was incredible.

Today, I think back at those early lessons. The mentors I had. The early industry magazines I kept for years. The volumes of books still sitting on my bookshelves today – highlighted, tagged and totally marked up. The notebooks and journals I kept, and still have. The friendships I made by attending workshops, clinics, industry trade shows, certification programs or grooming competitions. I turned almost everything into a learning occasion.

Every step of my career journey included continued education. And I’m far from done! There is still plenty to learn. Education IS everything!

Have you ever noticed the word learn contains the word earn?
But the benefits go far beyond that. 

Here is my personal list of 7 key areas continued education can have a positive impact on anyone’s career path. 

  1. Knowledge—Knowledge can be both factual and practical. The information you learn is not just interesting. It will also be of great use in your current position and/or where you want to go. If you want to grow your career – you need to grow your knowledge.
  2. Career Advancement—Being well educated allows you to bring new ideas and creativity to the grooming table. Doors of opportunity will begin presenting themselves in areas you never thought of.
  3. Higher Earning Potential—The more skilled you are as a professional pet groomer or stylist typically translates to a higher earning potential. It also means you will attract a higher caliber of pets into your business as your skills advance.
  4. Networking—By networking with fellow pet professionals, you can interact with a wide variety of individuals. As humans, we are wired to help others. It’s what we do. Being exposed to this broader network of like-minded individuals can have far-reaching benefits when it comes to advancing and expanding your knowledge base – especially when you need help.
  5. Dedication to Personal Improvement Creates Growth—When passion and dedication collide, there is no end to the excitement. Fresh ideas and new opportunities will be unveiled at a rapid rate.
  6. Respect—When you combine knowledge with humility, respect comes almost automatically. It comes from the pet you work on. From the pet parents you deal with every day. To your coworkers and your peers. Respect is earned through shared knowledge.
  7. Personal Confidence—When you take the steps to advance your skills, you do more than just gain knowledge. You gain personal confidence - in all areas of your personal and professional life. And guess what… personal confidence is directly tied to your success.

Regardless of where you’re at, you can always advance your career and professional skills. Dedication and focus to learning offers you the edge to take your next step. It is a powerful leg in staying competitive in the field while enhancing your skills. 

It does not matter whether you are just starting your career, or you are building upon years of experience, seeking advanced educational opportunities keeps you moving forward in your career.

Continued education may not be as exciting compared to other things in your life – but the benefits will be lifelong. 

For me, continuing my quest to be the best I could be has never failed me. It’s made my work exciting and interesting. There’s always been something to learn. Something to do better. It has allowed me opportunities to grow and expand my own career. Plus, I’ve been able to help thousands of pet lovers enter the field or expand their careers. 

The positive benefits of continued education has unlimited benefits at all levels. It’s a win for the pets you work on. It’s a win for the pet parents who bring their pets to you every day. And it’s a win for you personally when you know you’ve done a great job after each groom or finished a busy day. 

Education is everything! 

 

About the Paragon School of Pet Grooming

Founded by grooming industry icon, Melissa Verplank, Paragon is focused on the success and career development of pet professionals at all levels, beginner to expert.  Melissa has authored the industry’s most complete grooming guides such as Notes from the Grooming Table and Theory of 5.  Paragon offers grooming education at its On-Campus training center in Michigan. It also brings the on-campus experience to everyone through its Distance Learning Program and Learn2GroomDogs.com.  Paragon is regarded as one of the best grooming schools in the world. Ms. Verplank and her team have created award winning platforms with traditional education programs and web-based learning tools.


New Years Resolutions are Dreams with Deadlines

By: Melissa Verplank

With the Holiday rush just behind us, it may be a perfect time to fuel a prosperous 2020 and create a dream with a deadline!  A recent study divided people who made New Year’s resolutions into two groups.

  1. Those who made New Year’s resolutions and wrote it down.
  2.  Those who made a New Year’s resolution but neglected to write it down.

You know what? The results were amazing. For the group that did not write down their New Year’s resolution, only 4% of them kept their resolution. However, for the people that wrote down the resolution, a whopping 44% of them had kept their New Year’s resolution.

“You can’t hit a target you can’t see” says motivational speaker Brian Tracy. And he is so right. A dream is a wish. Most people don’t write down their wishes – Thus, most wishes don’t come true.

Another one of his famous quotes is, “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”

So have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Have you put pen to paper or your fingers to keyboard? If you’ll just take a few minutes and get your dreams down on paper, your odds for success are going to increase tenfold.

So what are your goals — what are your dreams — what are your aspirations? If you really want to make them happen, put together a plan.

Do you want to go for doing six dogs a day to eight? Have you divided your day so you know how long you have to spend on each pet and still get the job accomplished? Maybe your plan includes dividing the types of dogs you take each day in order to accomplish your goal. This division might come from the size of dogs you take. Or it might be the degree of difficulty. Obviously it’s going to be easier to wash a Beagle than it is to do a full scissor job on a poodle.

Do you want to become a certified master groomer or enter the competition ring? What type of knowledge do you need to gain before you’re successful at that endeavor? Do you need to learn the foundation of dog grooming first? The foundation would be anatomy, structure and movement. Next will come mastering technical skills like; bathing, brushing, dematting, drying, clipping, scissoring, hand- stripping. Once your foundation work is down, now it’s time to take a breed. Pick one breed — and one breed only. Focus on that single breed. Read the books. Watch videos put out by top professionals on the breed. Study with professional breeders and handlers. Go to conformation dog shows. Attend workshops and seminars. Once you master one breed, you’ll find it much easier to learn additional breeds.

Make a Roadmap, a List, a Plan

Do you want to own your own business? What will it take to make that happen? Outline the steps it’s going to take for you to gain the experience necessary to open your own salon or to go mobile. Once you have the experience, then it’s time to create a full-fledged business plan. A well thought out business plan will be your roadmap to starting your own business successfully.

Whatever your goal, the important part is to get it down on paper. The style that you get it down will be all your own. Some people do better doing outlines. Other people do better with simple lists. Others find mind maps work extremely well. Whatever your style, write it down. The more detailed you are about the necessary steps required, the more likely you will succeed.

Create a Visual Reminder

Then, post it where you’re going to see it. Set a timeline to it and then energetically take action to complete each detailed step. The steps can be small — and sometimes smaller steps are good. It gives you a sense of accomplishment each time you get to move up the staircase of success.

The New Year is here! What do you want to accomplish? Make those New Year’s resolutions. No matter what your goals, remember that just by simply writing them down are more likely to happen.

Happy Trimming!


 

About the Paragon School of Pet Grooming

Founded by grooming industry icon, Melissa Verplank, Paragon is focused on the success and career development of pet professionals at all levels, beginner to expert.  Melissa has authored the industry’s most complete grooming guides such as Notes from the Grooming Table and Theory of 5.  Paragon offers grooming education at its On-Campus training center in Michigan. It also brings the on-campus experience to everyone through its Distance Learning Program and Learn2GroomDogs.com.  Paragon is regarded as one of the best grooming schools in the world. Ms. Verplank and her team have created award winning platforms with traditional education programs and web-based learning tools