We were ridiculously lucky in New Zealand/Australasia within 2019 – not only with the amount but also the quality of amazing Animal Training learning opportunities available to us. I got to hang out with Dr. Susan Friedman, Ken Ramirez, Steve White, Peta Clarke, Sarah Stremming & an AMAZING opportunity with Veronica Boutelle from Dog Biz (the dog pro industry’s leading business consultancy).
If you don’t know Veronica and the great work her and the team are doing at Dog Biz … you can listen to a couple of previous ATA podcast episodes with her below >>>
And to build on learning from Veronica at her NZ workshop – I’ve also been super fortunate to watch roughly 8 hours of lessons with her and business partner Gina Phairas (as part of the Karen Pryor professional dog training certification). Every time I learn from Veronica, I leave refreshed and full of inspiration about new ideas, ways of thinking and practical tips that I can implement in my business.
Here are the top 5 animal-training business-building lessons I’ve learned from a combination of the content we have created together, her NZ workshops and my time doing the KPA certification.
* Business Lesson #1 A different kind of business card
One of the biggest things Veronica has taught me over the years is about using content marketing, especially alternatives to business cards. Veronica suggested providing some content about something cool to do with animal training along with your contact information, instead of a regular business card.
For example you might have a handout showing how to train your dog to go in it’s crate. And instead of leaving your business card at your local vet, you might have this helpful hand out with your business/contact information on it.
I would totally love to know if you have implemented something like this in your business. You can reply directly to the email and let me know how (bonus points for photos).
* Business Lesson #2 Setting your prices (higher than they are right now)
Another HUGE takeaway for me has been about pricing. I’ve learned numerous reasons why we should be raising our pricing, and how to price based on the market you are operating in. Part of our pricing strategy is paying attention to what your competitors are charging and noticing how different prices affect clients’ decision of who to choose.
This is a totally scary concept and so to help build on this make sure to listen to the first podcast episode above. Specifically at around the 20 minute mark where we dive into this topic! Here’s the link again >>> http://bit.ly/ATA_Boutelle
* Business Lesson #3 You’re better than you think you are (even though there’s always more to learn)
I also have learned more about the role imposter syndrome has when we take on clients. If you don’t know what imposter syndrome is you can learn more about it in this short video with myself and past ATA podcast guest Stephanie Edlund >>>
When working with clients we might have stress & anxiety that we can’t achieve the things our clients want us to. There’s always more for us to learn and skills for us to develop … However if you are following this blog/email list chances are you are heavily subscribed to the R+ way of training. Consequently your implementation of training with your clients animals is highly likely going to be significantly better then they will ever achieve on their own.
* Business Lesson #4 Building trust by conversing with confidence
At the live workshops, Veronica walked us through some scripts to help us talk with clients and make sure we are both effective with our time and focused on our goals. Sometimes in conversing with clients I find I can get stuck in super long phone and/or in person conversation (which can actually do more harm than good). There’s value in us being confident in what we offer and when we offer it.
A possible and undesirable consequence of not being confident and clear is the client eventually ends up thinking positive reinforcement doesn’t work. This could happen for example if the clients dictates how many sessions they want vs how many they might actually need. If we don’t give enough resources to our clients challenges and because of this we don’t solve their problems the blame might be placed on the technique rather than the lack of resources.
This is one of numerous reasons how a client might end up thinking they have tried positive reinforcement but it doesn’t work. Therefore being strategic about how we work with our clients is SUPER important!
* Business Lesson #5 Do the challenge for them
And number five is the value of training the clients animals for them as opposed to teaching the clients how to do the training themselves! Veronica offered the example of a tradesman – You wouldn’t want a mechanic for example to say to you; I am going to show you what is wrong with your car, show you how to fix it and then come back in a week and see how you are getting on!
Often though we do the animal training equivalent with our clients and their animals. Consequently, I have completely re-evaluated how I approach helping clients out. To help your understanding of this idea – listen to the second podcast episode listed above at roughly the 26 minute mark! Here’s the link again >>> https://www.animaltrainingacademy.com/podcast/training-tidbits/veronica/
I hope you have enjoyed this Blog! And If you want to learn more from Veronica – we also have a 90 minute web-class on marketing your animal training business available within the ATA membership areas. In this class Veronica dives deep into strategies to help you get more customers so that ultimately you can help more dogs/animals.
To see the class; register for your $1 ten day ATA trial membership today! >>> https://www.animaltrainingacademy.com/2020-membership-trial/
We look forward to having you in the tribe!
Animal Training Academy
P.s you can head directly to the Dog Biz website by clicking HERE