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What do you do to set yourself apart from the competition?

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  • What do you do to set yourself apart from the competition?

    I just opened my own salon in November and just wanted to pick your brains about how you set yourself apart from your competition. I am a small salon and other than free advertising and an ad in Yellow Pages online, I rely on word of mouth to promote my business. I want to make my clients remember me, and rave about my work (doesn't everyone?). How do you achieve this?
    My Blog: <a href="http://groomwise.typepad.com/in_the_dogs_house/">In the Dogs' House Groomwise Blog</a>

  • #2
    You Set yourself apart from the competition

    I believe solely on the thought of customer service, how you treat your customers(the dogs) and their owners. Also, your work shows them that they get what they pay for. If you are better, and show your customers that you are better than the competition, they will keep coming to your shop and pass by the others. JMO
    Daniel

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    • #3
      Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can also try a client incentive program. If your customers refer new clients to you have a spot on the client card to mark who referred them then have some system to keep track of how many referrals they have and have a set number to receive the reward. Really make it worth their work. Ex. for every 5 new clients they get 25% off or if you have different packages 10% with a free upgrade to your top package.

      Find out if you have any organizations in your area that put on dog events, not shows but something that the public brings their dogs to. We have a Wag-in at a local park and they have door prizes and awards for different contest I donate to this and next year plan on having a booth to offer stenciling, bandannas, and other things.

      Look around and you can find all kind of ways to get your name out there, but the best thing you can do is be the best at what you do and people will notice.
      "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
      and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck
      www.wagmoresalon.com

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      • #4
        I agree with PamperedPooches, customer service. I often get new customers that tell me they were leaving their previous groomer because of her attitude (I know her and we are friends, but she is VERY outspoken) towards them. I treat my clients the way I would expect to be treated.
        Lisa VanVleet, RVT

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        • #5
          To answer your question....I open my mouth.
          That either sends them running and screaming, or they book an appointment.
          I take "word of mouth" very literally.
          Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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          • #6
            i agree customer service is very important, along with communication. when i opened i had people comment to me how happy and friendly i sounded on the phone, it makes a difference.

            providing a high quality and thorough grooming in a clean, friendly, and low stress environment. scrub between those toes, trim nails well but carefully, leave no tangles and brush shedding undercoat thoroughly, get those sticky outies

            confidence and honesty

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            • #7
              pleasant personality, care about what they are talking about, I hand dry just about every dog,(which most groomers around here do not) send that dog out of your shop with the best groom you are capable of.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 4Sibes View Post
                To answer your question....I open my mouth.
                That either sends them running and screaming, or they book an appointment.
                I take "word of mouth" very literally.
                Oh, I am SO not gonna take the bait here. Sheila?
                Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
                George Sand (1804 - 1876)

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                • #9
                  By cleaning my shop


                  No jk!! lol

                  I set myself apart by being VERY professional at all times, we keep the shop very clean, no hand made signs, nice biz cards, we dress nice, wear makeup, do our hair (I know somedays that seems pointless but it gives off an image), we post pictures of our grooms on our facebook fanpage and our website, we go to seminars, update our skills, keep taking courses when we can, scissored finishes...we overkill with our cusomter service but stick to our policies. We have a rep for being awesome groomers, very busy best to pre-book, we don't take biters or difficult dogs...

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                  • #10
                    One more thing you can do (all of the other thoughts are "right on target" with what you need), call each new client the day after you have groomed their little dog. Inquire if they liked the trim you gave, if "Fluffy" was happy and if you can do anything else for them. End the conversation be thanking them for trusting you with their little one.

                    Basically, encourage the idea that you are the most caring and talented groomer around. This is a good way to leave a lasting impression on people; when you write up your client cards make small notes about the people, their dog, their kids, etc. Anything that can be a point of reference in future conversations; ie: how was the vacation they took? how is the new job? how is your mom feeling, wasn't she sick the last time we spoke? etc. Let them know YOU are interested in them. Make them remember you!


                    sittingpretty

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                    • #11
                      Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions! I will definitely be implementing them

                      Also thank you all for being so supportive. Its a scary time to start a new business and you have all been extremely encouraging and your ideas have been amazing. I don't know if I ever would have started my own business without the support of this board. Thank you.
                      Last edited by itsgot2bme; 02-11-10, 06:06 PM.
                      My Blog: <a href="http://groomwise.typepad.com/in_the_dogs_house/">In the Dogs' House Groomwise Blog</a>

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by k2p1e View Post
                        By cleaning my shop


                        No jk!! lol

                        I set ...., very busy best to pre-book, we don't take biters or difficult dogs...
                        same here, best advise.
                        call the local paper, they generally do articles on new local buisnesses

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                        • #13
                          I make sure when I answer my phone I am smiling, people can hear it in your voice. And no matter what, I never want them to feel like I don't have time to talk to them. I've had several thank me, even after they told me they wouldn't be using my services, for continuing to answer questions for them. Most of the time it's simply that I am out of their financial capabilities, but I'm always more than willing to answer whatever questions I can. I use only the best supplies, top of the line shampoos, conditioners, high quality shears and brushes, etc. I've had several clients comment that their pets seem to stay cleaner longer, smell better longer, stay fluffed longer etc. So it does get noticed. After each visit most clients are surprised when I bring in my toy bucket and let their dog pick a toy. That really sticks with them. I have a few tell me they knew when to rebook because the toy is getting ratty looking LOL. But so many of the dogs know to anticipate the bucket and are ready to grab their toy, their owners think it's adorable. I also allow owners to stay if they want to, and in the winter keep my curtain open so people can watch me if they want. In the summer I keep it closed up to try to keep the heat out. I also tend to talk a lot, LOL, and identify with the owners. When I tell them I've stayed in the surgical suite to make sure my dogs surgery went smoothly, they seem to relax and not feel like I'm going to think they are a crazy dog momma, because they know I am too! I also treat every groom as if Lisa Leady is going to be inspecting it from all angles after I'm done. LOL. I go over them like the judges do at a comp, combing up at all angles, double checking everything. I'm a tad OCD. I also stock up on cute hair accessories. The feathers with the rhinestones are a big hit, and I make some of my own stuff too.
                          What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mylady View Post
                            After each visit most clients are surprised when I bring in my toy bucket and let their dog pick a toy. That really sticks with them. I have a few tell me they knew when to rebook because the toy is getting ratty looking LOL. I also stock up on cute hair accessories. The feathers with the rhinestones are a big hit, and I make some of my own stuff too.
                            You are tooo funny! B/cause the TOY is ratty looking! Would love to see a picture of your toy bucket !!!

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                            • #15
                              Customer service from answering the phone to having our groomers talk to them when they are new or if they want something different. I have been told more then a handful of times that the other places acted like they were doing me a favor.
                              Other things are a reallly clean shop that I allow any customer to walk through.
                              Open grooming areas. We donate a dollar from each DIY bath to pet rescues and tally it each month starting new on Jan 1st. We don't crate dry and have appointment through out the day. We also partnered up with a pet adoption giving them access to the DIY and a discount when you adopt. Oh, and we offer a small senior discount. Putting the business card in the high schools sports teams program helped too.
                              All in all, we show we care about our community and do our best to give back to the pets.

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