Dog owners will sometimes ask and even expect you to fix their dog’s problem on the phone. After all, you’re in the dog training business right? This becomes very awkward very fast; especially if you have not put together a plan of action beforehand to deal with this.
I truly believe dog owners don’t realize that asking this is putting you on the spot for a couple of reasons.
First, you have not met either the owner or the dog to size up the situation from a professional point of view. You’re hearing it only from the owner’s point of view.
Secondly, it’s just not great business to be giving out specific training information on the phone.
So let’s go through a couple of scenarios that might help you handle this problem.
Scenario I – You have someone else answering your phone and speaking to prospective clients. This is the easiest.
If you’ve planned ahead, you’ve trained your employee to ask the client’s specific “background” questions that will go into their client record for your reference.
Here’s how this might go: Your employee answers the phone and asks how he or she may help the dog owner. The dog owner will usually start talking about everything the dog is doing that is driving them nuts. Now your employee simply states they are not the dog trainer but they need to ask a few questions that you have written out for them.
That statement is important as it keeps your employee from being asked a lot of questions they are not qualified to answer. If the client keeps asking, they simply say these are the questions (your name goes here) gave me to ask of all clients. I’m not the dog trainer so I’m not qualified to answer your specific questions about your dog but want to be as helpful as I can.
See how easy that one is.
Scenario II – The more difficult scenario – you answer the phone for your business.
Right from the start, clients know you’re the dog trainer and you’re on the phone talking with them. Their hope is that you can, at a minimum solve at least part of the problems if not all, right there on the phone.
The best way to handle this is to give general guidelines and ask lots of good questions so when you get the job all those great notes are in their record. If you write down everything they say, especially “how” they say it you have a wonderful insight into the emotional connection between dog and owner.
Sometimes, every time you ask a question they will want to delve deeper.
Here is a simple statement that you can say that will be truthful, professional and also keep the conversation on track
You simply state: These are just general guidelines. My programs are customized to fit the dog and the owner after evaluating both in your home. To give you my best advice and training will require me to see you and your dog in the home environment.
This accomplishes a couple of things. It allows you to get to know and understand your client and their dog problem better. It allows you to start growing the relationship. It allows you to guide the conversation in a way that maximizes your time and helps the client feel great about you coming out to work with their dog.
So, what did you think? Is this going to help you? Let me know below in the comments section.
Leila Martin, is the brains behind the success of petiquettedog.com on the marketing side. She has run our online and offline marketing system since 2006. Leila’s ability to grow our online presence using both a website and social media in the dog training world has been a critical part of petiquettedog.com success . She has tripled the number of visitors to our website and increased our revenue by 25% each year. Bottom line: Our appointment book is always filled.
In her spare time Leila can be seen in her office dancing with our black lab Sammy Burwell!