5 Ways to Show Your Dog Training Clients Some Love This February
“Should I send previous clients thank you cards?” “How often should I send them?” “What should I say in a thank you card?”
I often hear these questions from new or even experience dog trainers. While they are well intentioned, we can and should strive to create better ways of showing our support than a thank you card every once in a while.
As dog trainers, we often develop deep connections with our clients and their dogs. We get involved in their personal lives and we’re trusted with intimate details about their lifestyles.
We also become emotionally invested in their success (whether that’s good or bad is up for debate), so I think as an industry we can get even more creative in the ways we show our support in an ongoing manner.
Set Yourself and Your Dog Training Business Apart
Part of being a great dog trainer is supporting your (human) clients in a variety of ways throughout their time working with you. This month, and for the months to come, consider some of these ideas to demonstrate your continued investment in your client’s well-being.
Additionally, ongoing contact with a past client increased their chances of re-hiring you or recommending you to their friends which is key for a sustainable dog training business.
1. Monthly Content Curation
Make a monthly collection of articles, news, and local dog-friendly events and share it with your clients via email or social media. Let them know when and where you’ll attend certain events and invite them to join you with their dogs (when appropriate). Clients will appreciate receiving additional information about dog training and being aware of local events they could attend with their newly well-behaved dogs.
Being able to be seen in public with their dogs is trending amongst dog owners these days and having events to attend can keep them motivated!
2. Invite-Only Semi-Private or Small Group Classes
Like I mentioned above, we get to know our clients on a deeper level than say, a florist or a gardener. A common trend I’ve seen is for dog trainers to play “matchmaker” with their clients and pair clients up together that they think will get along well.
For clients that are new to the area or are struggling with particularly difficult dog training cases, this can be a great way to create a support system outside of your personal time. Pairing clients up with others of similar mindset or dog training challenges can be a unique way to go the extra mile for your clients and show them you truly understand them.
This is something that single-member dog training businesses can take advantage of since they work with each client in an intimate setting. It is unlikely that your larger competitors will or could provide this kind of value for their clients.
3. Monthly Coffee Conversation (or Picnic or BBQ or Wine & Dine… Event)
Invite clients out once a month to chat about how things are going. Set a time limit to the event and be clear in your invitation about what topics are acceptable, what drinks or food you’ll be providing, and whether dogs will be allowed. (I recommend no dogs so everyone can focus on and contribute to the conversation.)
This type of monthly meetup is a great because:
- You can catch up with clients you haven’t seen in a while and are curious about how their dogs are progressing.
- It gives you an opportunity to talk about what classes or events you have coming up.
- You can introduce clients with similar goals or challenges so they can support each other.
- And lastly, it helps remind clients that you are there for them should they need additional help.
An event like this doesn’t have to cost much if you’re creative, but the payoff could be huge if your customers have a delightful experience with you and your business.
4. Give Your Human Clients Some Edible Positive Reinforcement
Let’s be real - people love food rewards, too! Implement a positive reinforcement program for your two-legged clients, too! Just like how dogs have a variety of preferences, people do too so make sure you include different kinds of rewards for different tastes. (Additionally, be aware of your client’s potential allergies before handing out rewards.)
5. Offer Custom Services That Truly Meet Clients’ Needs
I see a lot of dog trainers take a cookie-cutter approach to offering services. Many offer group classes and private lessons, but these two types of services rarely suit a client’s needs completely. Don’t be afraid to get creative with how you serve your clients.
Dog trainers, especially single-member businesses, can get to know their clients and then offer an “a-la-carte” bundle of services that will help them achieve results more quickly than they would in a typical group class or private lesson format.
Offering services that will support your clients in several ways is the key to modern dog training and building a sustainable business that receives consistent month-to-month business. Think about the different needs your client and their dog has on a day-to-day basis and get creative with how you can serve them. Getting a past client to reinvest in your services is much easier than convincing brand new, potential clients to hire you so keep this in mind as you build out your business.
Ultimately, the more unique ways you show your clients you care and that you’re paying attention, the more committed they’ll be to you and your services. Client appreciation should be looked at on a deeper level. A thank you card simply doesn’t cut it these days considering the amount of effort and emotions we, as dog trainers, invest in each client.
If having a successful dog training business is important to you, don’t miss my free eBook “10 Common Mistakes New Dog Trainers Make With Their Businesses.”
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