Dog trainers and veterinarians are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together.
Even though it is a rather natural relationship, as a dog trainer you still need to understand how to market your dog training to your local veterinarians.
Marketing your dog training business to veterinarians used to be as easy as dropping off a box of Shipley Donuts well before they opened up.
The front desk staff was more than happy to take your business cards, brochures and of course, your box of donuts!
Not Any More
Back then the information you left behind was all about you. Now we need to think more about helping the veterinarian help their client.
While the staff will probably still take your box of donuts, you should leave useable, easy to distribute information like “5 Critical Tips on Starting off Right with Your New Puppy or Dog.”
This is great for your vet to hand out and makes them look good to their clients. Win – win.
How Do You Handle Your First Visit to a Veterinarian?
When I first started my dog training business, I already had a relationship with my own veterinarian, so I decided to start there. I figured I have a better than average chance of getting a “yes.”
Even if you don’t have an established relationship with a veterinarian, there are many ways to plan your marketing approach. Here are 3 approaches I’ve used before.
3 Ways to Get Into the Veterinarian Community
1. Drop in and introduce yourself to the front desk staff and ask to leave your branded brochure. Make SURE you have your website link on there!
2. You can ask to speak with the office manager and offer your branded brochures to her and ask to speak at their next staff meeting.
3. When a vet refers to you, be sure to give the vet progress reports.
Drilling down on these approaches
Dropping in on the front staff:
I’ve never been good at cold-calling on businesses, trying to peddlewares or services but that was before dog training. As a dog trainer you and I are passionate about dogs. Dogs make it easy to begin showing the benefits of the information in your brochures. Don’t you agree?
This is important: some vet clinics are very small with limited space for waiting clients, often just chairs with no tables while others are spacious.
For a clinic with just a few chairs in their reception area and only a very small stand up check in/out station (no room for even business cards) you might suggest your brochures could be good stuffers for puppy packages. Most vets give these to new puppy owners. Or suggest they could be left in the exam room for the veterinarian to give out.
Speaking with the office manager:
If you can sit down with the office manager, talk briefly about the benefits their clients would get from your brochure. As you nourish that relationship offer to speak to their vets on any topics that would be helpful to them. Keep your presentation to 20 minutes.
Offering to bring free pizza or sandwiches/chips would be a nice gesture – depending on what you can afford.
Giving progress reports on a client’s dog to the referring veterinarian:
If you have dropped off brochures and the veterinarian has referred a client and dog to you, keeping the vet up to date on the dog’s progress is a great way to boost their confidence and referrals to you.
Once you get your foot in the door, monthly visits will keep your face in front of the staff. Try to do mid-afternoon when they are the least busy.
Don’t forget to say thanks for the referral. I’ve used Thank You note cards printed with my business name so that I can hand write a special note of thanks!
Here’s a Bonus Tip for You
Refer your new clients to the vet! In fact, I use my “thank you note cards” just for that occasion. If one of my new clients is looking for a veterinarian, I’ll sit right down at the end of the lesson and write a short referral note on the card to the vet I recommend:
“Doctor Cooper ~ This will introduce Mrs. Smith and her new dog Max.”
Sincerely, your name & website URL
I then give it to my client and ask her to hand it to the veterinarian on her first appointment.
Remember, it’s a two-way street. Referring a new puppy or dog client to vets may be one of your most powerful tools along with your Internet marketing.
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 10,000+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, dog owners do that influence that dog behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability and experience of mentoring and teaching dog trainers how to excel and grow their dog training talents and their business