As I mentioned, I don’t do free lessons. However, I don’t go straight for a program sale either.
For both my sake and the client, I like to know if we’re going to be a good fit to work together. I want to sell to people that will enjoy working with me and me with them.
So I offer an initial consult which I charge for. This has several benefits:
1. The client is showing that they are willing to invest and not just freebie hunting
- A buyer is more likely to buy again – if they have invested a small amount they are more likely to upgrade to a large amount
- I can assess the dog and situation thoroughly and know which program to recommend them afterwards. Or, if they truly only need one lesson then we can leave it at that and everyone is happy.
- It’s easier to sell a smaller commitment before you and the client get to know each other and see that you would be a good fit to work together
If you prefer to offer a free lesson first, that is okay and free offers can convert to paid offers. But I have found with myself and my Masterclass students that the conversion from the initial lesson to a program is actually higher when the first lesson is paid for.
Ok, so we’ve established that my preferred way to book clients is to book an initial lesson first, which is charged for.
Once this lesson is completed, I sit down with the client/s and go through their options for a program, highlighting the program that I feel is the best fit for their situation – because people like that guidance of knowing which one the professional thinks is best.
Now, I mainly do this for private lessons but you can also do it this way for classes or board and train programs. If you’re offering something different, feel free to mix it up.
By operating this way, the program is an upsell and it happens after everyone has spent some time together and the client knows exactly what they’re signing up for – another benefit. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable to invest money with someone you have got to know a little?
THE THREE COMMITMENTS
Before I even get to the point of offering a program at the end of the first lesson, I need to book the initial lesson. Booking this in is a golden opportunity to find out the prospective client’s commitment level. Are they going to take training seriously? Can they follow instructions?
So I have the clients commit to spending a little time beforehand completing some tasks.
The tasks are:
- Sign a training agreement.
- Fill in a behaviour questionnaire about their dog
- Pre-pay for the lesson
If a client is able to complete this for me, we have started the relationship where I give instructions and they comply.
I can tell you that every single client I have had question this process has also been the type of client that is uncooperative or uncommitted in the dog training lessons. So now if someone argues this process, I recommend that we aren’t a good fit to work together.
It might sound harsh but I’ve learned that I would rather save my time and energy for those who are going to be a good fit because they’re also the ones who will get the best results.
Once this booking process is completed by the client, they have demonstrated:
- They can commit time
- They can commit effort
- They can commit financially
Can you see how going through this simple booking process screens your clients and sets the tone of the working relationship from the beginning?
If you want to set up a system like this, there’s no need to over complicate it. I like to do it digitally – all over email. You might use an online booking system or a paper form. This sort of thing always evolves as your business does so the most important thing is to get started with what you are able to do now and adapt from there.
So at this point, hopefully I’ve given you lots of ideas to grow your training business. But I know you might still be asking – how do I get more clients in the first place?
They need to know you exist. They need to contact you. You need to be able to get them to say yes to the booking.
There’s so many factors to a successful business and the reality is that most trainers are great at training dogs but are totally lost with growing and running a successful business.
If you’d like some guidance to put into place all of what we have covered today and a whole lot more to raise your lifestyle and income to the next level, running a dog training business that feels right to you so you can keep the passion alive and profit, click the button below to read on.