5 Ways to Ensure You are Making the Best Impression on Your Grooming Clients
Did you know it takes 1/10 of a second to form a first impression of a person? As humans, we make judgments on other people quickly. It is our ingrained behavior to make these judgments; sometimes we are wrong, but most of the time we are right in our evaluations. We assess a person quickly to determine whether they are a threat or not. As groomers, we are evaluated every day by our clients. The clients are trusting us with their precious family member, and they want to feel confident their pet is in reliable, professional hands. As groomers, we want to leave a positive impression, and this starts before we even meet this client and their pet in person. Here are five valuable strategies to ensure your client's first impression is favourable.
1. Phone Etiquette
In our Salons Zoom Zoom Groom & PreZoomably Cats, there are plenty of opportunities to make an impression, and the first one starts when our clients phone to ask a question or make an appointment. Our receptionist is a pro, and everyone loves her to the point many clients think she owns the business. I am entirely comfortable with this, as it means they have a healthy, trusting relationship with her. Val (receptionist for both Zoom Zoom Groom and PreZoomably Cats) answers each call making the person at the other end feel like they are an essential part of our family.
I remember going to a seminar of Melissa Verplank and her saying your phone etiquette should feel to the client like you are smiling through the phone. Val sounds this way and often when I witness her booking clients, she is smiling! I call the phone our first line of interaction, but every interaction you have with your client, whether it's intake of the pet or closing of your service, it all counts- BIG TIME!
2. Dress the Part
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What does your picture say about you? Yes, we are groomers, and yes we are dealing with hairy, smelly dogs/cats. We have High-Velocity dryers blowing our hair all over the place, and often we are soaking wet from water soggy dogs or cats. The great news is the industry is creating fantastic dress options that are hair and water repellent. The new fashion trends for groomers look very professional. It is easy to promote your company's brand by adding embroidery of your logo and what better way to advertise! Each groomer in our salon has consistent clothing with our business colors, logo and their name. It looks professional. As a client wanting my pet groomed, I also want to see the groomer has taken responsibility to "groom" and look professional themselves.
3. Be Attentive, Enthusiastic, Interested and Courteous
People realize very quickly if you are interested and wanting to get to them and their pet. Your client deserves 100% of your attention. I always tell the groomers and students that all clients pets are show dogs/cats to them. Even if their pet is old with warts, lumps, and bumps, they deserve to have the very best we have to give. Showing your clients genuine interest in who they are, and what they expect to receive from your services, will create pleasant conversations and connections that will also lead to a trust-building relationship.
Just as your smile comes through the phone, it is quickly observed as well, your enthusiasm and passion for this trade. If I am a client I want to leave my pet in the hands of someone who is excited about their day, exudes passion for their career, and demonstrates this through not only their verbal cues but also their body language.
4. Repeat, Ask, Suggest
When a client has been disappointed in the services we have offered I find nine times out of ten, it is due to a lack of communication. I suggest to our students of Apex Academy and the groomers of Zoom Zoom Groom and PreZoomably Cats to follow a conversation progression. Once the client shares the services they are looking for; it is time for you to clarify that what you heard was indeed what they want. Always ensure you are on the same page as they are. Repeat what you heard them say. Start like this, "So what I heard you request is you want the length on the back of your poodle to be approximately 1/2 of what it is now?".. and so it goes. Ask them more related questions for clarification. You may not be able to deliver a clients expectations due to mating or other issues, so this is where you can professionally deliver your suggestions. "I wish we could leave the coat this long but let me show you why it may be difficult."... "This is what I suggest........".
Once a compromise is reached of what the client wants and what the groomer can realistically deliver, it is written down, and the client signs off on the service being provided. This signed commitment has come in so handy, especially when one member of the family drops off the dog, leaves instructions, and a different member complains because it wasn't what they wanted.
A Winning Smile!
Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more efficient in creating a first impression than a smile. A confident smile tells the client you are happy, cordial, and content in the day ahead. Your smile conveys your personality, plus you just may get a smile back! There’s an old saying that states a pleasant smile “warms hearts and opens doors.” We want to open our doors to our clients and their pets. Smiling is done with a positive energy and that energy is crucial when grooming our intuitive furry friends!
Both clients and pets have a long memory; try to ensure each visit to your salon is positive, inviting, and warm. First impressions matter! Be intentional about working on these key strategies, and you will be on your way to making an excellent first impression and building a clientele of your dreams!
All Fur Love,