Sunday, April 15, 2007

Marketing Madness

I just love what I do. Nothing is better. Unfortunately with being self employed also comes putting yourself out there with sales and marketing. You can use this medium of course, but then there is the other medium. You know the face to face marketing that gets the sale. I am not too good with that.

Also, dog training clients are tricky to select. Oh, yes, once you get to a certain point you want to SELECT your client. (I am talking dog training now for those that don't know, clearly can't put something like this on my dog training blog where the clients go LOL). See there are those that are not going to follow through. Worse there are those that hate their dog, and are sending the dog to you just to get rid of them for the day. The non-follow through ones can end up ruining a dog that was having small problems before. So, as you can see, if you care about dogs at all, the money thing is important to pay the bills and all, but it's not the most important thing. The client base I built is very loyal because of the extra non-billed time I take with them, and the help in other areas that are not necessarily training related.

So you (or I don't, there are dog trainers----most---that definately want the following clientel) or I should say, I, don't want the dog owner whose "staff" does most everything for them. I am not saying I discriminate against rich folks, I am saying I discrimate against those that can't even whipe their own ass. I mean, how likely is it that they are going to train their dog? I have real life experience with this (and was paid a good amount of money) and I am going to tell you it's not bloody likely. Then I like the dogs, like Cash & Tango two lovely St Bernards, but worry about them all the time. Would rather have just not gotten the money or know they were out there to worry about:( I mean, you can imagine how out of control two 175 pound dogs can get, when living outside or in the garage, no human interaction except for a few minutes most of the time, and left to their own devices. It's not that they are bad dogs at all, they are great. But they have not learned things like playing with humans and teeth is bad. They have NO idea the damage they can do just by being friendly and untrained. And so on occaision I think about them, and hope that things have worked out at home.

Plus I have learned some marketing things the hard way from a previous business. For my business for instance, Yellow Pages is not the way to go. You get 100% of "lookie lou" or "price point" calls only. I hate those, they are wasting my time. I should just leave a message "yes, you can get services cheaper, but perhaps not better. Read my site and call when you are ready to work". Course that would probably also drive the good clients away LOL.

Here is the other tricky part, except for that specific demographic that I talked about, you never know up front if a client is going to be good or bad. Sometimes I start out hating the client and worrying about their dog, and the client listens and learns, and then I love that client and they are the best client ever. Have one of those going on right now. It's hard to navigate through "tough love" and "outright bitchiness" to strike the right chord in order to get R done, as they say. Then some have aren't horrible but wish to be catered to without paying anything extra. If you ever overhear a dog trainer say up the charge for the PITA fee (that's the pain in the ass fee). Some dog trainers do bill their clients very individually. I haven't but I have certaintly seen why you might. My non-PITA clients end up getting the flat fee spread to them.

So I have been going about my marketing on this venue first with my very loyal customer base, and here are the three reviews (scroll down) that I have gotten. I love my clients so much!! This so much helps, as I don't think another dog trainer in the area has ANY reviews, and I know that I check these out for sure (if they are there, it looks like it's been slow for people to catch on that they can do this). So even that is hard for me to do a mass mailing to the clients asking for help like that. I hate that, but love the results.

Now is the scary part. I will be hand delivering info to motels/hotels/B&B that take pets, motels/hotels/B&B that don't take pets, veterinarians, groomers, kennels (for training services), et al. This usually requires that a face be put to the person. That means I have to go out and to people one on one. Now to read me type, you might not think that would be a problem. Yes, even if I talk to you offline in e-mail format, but don't really know you, i would be hard pressed to make conversation. My husband can be the polar opposite from me except in a party situation where I think he is worse than me (if he doesn't know anyone).

I hate the face to face calls and requests:) Best thing that happened to me here was meeting, Nan, a pet sitter who is able to carry on a conversation for everyone!!! She is the best, and has referred more clients to me despite my shy ways.

I am thinking of having some sort of pet professional party in the area, as we all benefit from increased referrals and such.

Other Blogs That Show What I do A Bit (not always that great at keeping everything updates, as you can see I have a lot of them):

Mannerly Mutts Dog Training Blog

My Dog Leon's Blog With Video

My Dog Jack's Blog Who is Being Trained to compete, and I have totally dropped the ball on updating his blog.

Moose is A Great Dane, whose owner hated him, but luckily remembered how fond I was of him and called a year later. I have rehomed him, and his name is now Harley and he lives on the beach with Roxie.

Zeek was causing fights among his pack, and now is a pretty happy camper as are his pack members LOL.

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