I have been surfing for a puppy training the last few days and realized how clueless puppy trainers are when it comes to marketing.

We are getting a puppy. I could just talk about that for ages, but that is not the point of this blogpost. Our new puppy will need some training, as do we as first time dog owners. So I went to look for a puppy training near us.

Most dog schools had websites that were hard to navigate. In one case the navigation bar kept moving and changing to make it extra hard to find anything. In another case I received an email saying ‘Dear Nanda’, and in another one they told me how to get to them from a city that wasn’t even near my home town. They hadn’t taken the time to actually read my email.

This put them on a disadvantage right away. I don’t expect superprofessional websites or emails, but I do expect that people actually treat it as a business and know what they are doing. Websites and emails sometimes gave me the idea they thought of it as just a hobby and therefor I wasn’t sure they would actually be any good at training the dog or us.

That is…

until I found one woman that emailed me a long story back explaining a lot about puppies. Things we needed to know like when we could start training with the puppy, what vaccinations she would need and what we should expect the first few weeks. She asked us to come by, before we even have the puppy, to see how a training works and to see if we would like it.

She also encouraged me to phone her if we needed any more information or wanted to stop by a training.

And so I did. On the phone she gave loads more information, was really interested in what we did, how we found our puppy, etcetera. She congratulated with the decisions made so far (really thinking about which breed would be best for us, looking for a good breeder, deciding to let the breeder choose the puppy for us). She was genuinely interested in us and our soon-to-be pup.

So what can you learn from this experience?

How to get people to say ‘yes’ to your business:

  • While a professional website is a pre, it starts with actually having a website people can understand and navigate without losing their way. This woman’s website wasn’t pretty, but it was set up in a way we could find everything we needed to know (though not on the telephone as it wasn’t responsive). With the basic information in place we could decide maybe/no.
  • She left the decision to ‘yes’, until after you’ve contacted her. Probably knowing full well that her enthousiasm, knowledge and interest would shine through that way. She could even make it a big call-to-action on her website to contact her or leave your telephone number so she contacts you.
  • Genuine interest in people isn’t something you just do on the telephone. It starts with basics like getting someone’s name right. While I still notice, people don’t get points off if they write Nathalie. However someone that writes my name right definitely gets bonus points. And calling me ‘Nanda’ definitely doesn’t get you any points. Maybe I’ll even deduct some…

A lot of people are scared of the word ‘Marketing’ but it isn’t something to fear. Marketing if done right is just showing people you care. Do you care about your customers?