Log InCartCall Now: (616) 667-7297

Blog » Business

How to Build your Bath and Brush Business

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about ways you can be proactive in maintaining the volume of pets in your grooming business. In order to keep your business volume consistent and growing you need to deliver a service that goes beyond what customers can do at home or at a self-wash. Learn ways to set your service apart!

Get more great grooming business tips from www.Learn2GroomDogs.com – Sign up with Code LUCKYDOG and get 50% off your first month!

Want to advance your training? Check out our advanced levels at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Use Code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition!

Transcript
Melissa V: Definitely this type of breed, even though people don’t think of it as needing a whole lot of grooming, they definitely need grooming. When I’m working with those tight-coated breeds, one of the tools that I really love to get them squeaky, squeaky clean and to help eliminate the shedding, because even though they’re a tight-coated breed, and whether it be a tight-coated breed like the pointer, or whether it’s going to be more a short-coated breed like your labs, they still shed. And that kind of coat can really weave into fabric, and it’s hard for a roller tape to get that picked up because that coat is tight. It’s hard, and it just weaves into the fabric.

It’s our job as the professional pet groomer to be able to minimize that for the client, and one of the tools that I really love is these types of rubber curries. They actually have an incense cone type tooth on them, and they’re super flexible. You can really take these to the bathtub and really scrub with them. They do a good job getting right down to the skin. They do a great job releasing a loose coat, pulling that debris right up to the surface, and it feels good. It’s like a massage. You just can’t hurt them.

That’s one of the things that I would really encourage you to utilize and pay attention to those details, is get them squeaky, squeaky clean. Use a great shampoo that has a nice fragrance to it, not overly heavy, but fragrance so that when that dog goes home, they know it’s clean. It smells good. It smells fresh, and when you pull that dog out of the tub, you want it to squeak, squeaky, squeaky clean. Whether it be the really tight-coated breeds, or whether you’re dealing with a lab, or the French bulldogs. You know, they’ve got a little bit more coat. Get them squeaky, squeaky clean.

Now, the other thing to look at is, like with the shepherds and the golden’s and any breed that has got that type of coat is, are you providing a shed-less type program? I live with Maremma sheepdogs. Maremma sheepdogs are like oversized white golden retrievers, and they shed. And we have instituted a shed-less program, and it has been amazing. The revenue generation that we have been able to come up with just by providing a service like that. So think about what types of services you can do. What are the problems that the clients have at home?

With these breeds, even though they don’t have a lot of coat, they don’t require haircuts, they definitely shed. And they get dirty, so figure out things that you can do to help solve that problem easily for the client. Again, like I said, pay attention to details. Make sure those ears are super clean. Not only trim nails, but what about utilizing a Dremel to file those nails so that they’re nice and smooth and they don’t have sharp edges on them. A client’s not going to be able to, number one, generally trim dog’s nails at home, nor will they file them. That’s a great service that you can offer. For many salons, they might trim nails and offer the filing as an upsell. We personally do a buck a paw, so it’s a four dollar upsell. Super easy to do.

Another thing that you can do with these dogs that don’t require full haircuts, and you can do it with full haircut dogs as well, but do you have any kind of breath freshener or teeth brushing or something that you can add orally to enhance the client’s experience with their dog at home? Again, it’s an easy upsell, and it’s something that generally clients don’t do for themselves at home with their dog. Being able to offer those types of things, just really pay attention to it.

With that doberman that we had years ago, most of the time she would come home not only with her nails filed, but they’d also be painted. And okay, every once in a while they were a crazy color, especially around the holidays, that would happen, but most of the time they were just painted black. It just gave a nice shine to the nail. It was a part of the detail that the client isn’t going to do for themselves. Did it make or break the groom? No, but it was just one of the those things that you noticed. It was in those details. Bows on collars, bandanas, the collar frills that you can get. Bardel Bows has got all kinds of really fun things. If you don’t like dealing with bows and bandanas, there’s companies out there like Bardel Bows that are going to have those things.

And my goal with a customer is always to bring the dog in, to treat it with respect and love and compassion, but when that client picks up their dog, when that dog goes home, what I aim for is to see a smile. When that client sees their dog, and not only a smile because they’re happy to see their dog, but a smile because the dog looks amazing. And again, if you’re dealing with a short and tight-coated dogs, you’re not going to see that big transformation that you see when you’re dealing with a haircut type dog. But there’s subtle differences that you can do to make that client go, “Wow. That was the best he’s looked. It’s the best he’s smelled. It’s the best he’s felt.” Those are the types of things that you’re going for.

What you want to do is bring those bath and brush dogs in on a really regular basis. Ideally, I love to see them every two or three weeks. That really helps keep the shedding under control. It keeps the film, the dirt on their coat down, and it keeps them smelling great. If you can encourage those customers to come in on a really regular basis and provide those services that they are not going to do themselves, if they bathe the dog in their driveway or in their bathtub, or they take that pet to a self-service facility. You are going to be able to do such a better job, and it goes without saying too, you’ve got the high velocity dryer. They don’t, and we all know how important that tool is.

And again, whether you’re dealing with a tight-coated dog, a short-coated dog, or a bath and brush type dog like the shepherd or the golden retriever, the high velocity dryers are going to be absolutely critical to doing a really knockout job on those dogs. Get those bath and brush dogs coming in. They are massive to what you can do with your bottom line, with a revenue generation. They are some of the easiest dogs that you’re going to do, but they really have a huge impact on your bottom line. And that’s what we’re in business for. We are in business to make a profit, to provide a service for our customers that they’re going to appreciate. So pay attention to the details and get those bath and brush dogs coming back in on a regular basis to you.


There’s No Black and White in Dog Grooming

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses a concept that Lisa Leady shared during a www.Learn2GroomDogs.com video shoot: There’s no black and white in grooming, but there’s a lot of gray. In this context, how do you evaluate techniques and products? Melissa suggests answering these questions:
Is it safe for the pet? Is it safe for the groomer? Will it yield a quality product? Will it be efficient?

Get more great grooming business tips from www.Learn2GroomDogs.com – Sign up with Code LUCKYDOG and get 50% off your first month!
Want to advance your training? Check out our advanced levels at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Use Code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition!

Transcript
Melissa V: Melissa here, and I want to share with you a thought process that is kind of a combination of both my thought process and a thought that Lisa Leady shared on one of her Learn to Groom video shoots years ago. And the thought that Lisa shared with me and to our Learn to Groom audience was that there is no black and white in dog grooming. If you’ve ever followed Lisa, you’ve probably heard her say that.

Over the years you’ve heard me say it that there is absolutely no black and white, there is no right or wrong in dog grooming, but what there is, is a lot of shades of gray. So, what you want to think about, and this is where I kind of took her thought process and applied my line of questioning to that. Before I test out any new product, test out any new technique, think about doing something different than what I might have done in the past is I always ask these four questions.

Question number one is, will whatever I’m going to use or do be safe for the pet? Number two is, is it safe for me? Is it safe for the groomer? Is it going to be ergonomically safe for me long term, or is it going to be safe for me from a physical standpoint? So stop and think about that. Number one, is it safe for the pet. Number two, is it safe for you? Number three, will it yield a quality product because if you can’t yield a quality product, you’re not going to have customers coming back for your services. So, number three is going to be, does it yield a quality product? Number four is the question I always, always ask is, will it be efficient? Now, maybe it won’t be efficient the first time I try out a new technique or a new product. I might have to get the feel of it a little bit better, but down the road, will it be efficient if I utilize this product or this technique?

So, there you have it. Those are the four questions that I always ask whenever I’m dealing with the multiple shades of gray that we have with professional pet grooming. It’s:

1. Is it safe for the pet?

2. Is it safe for you?

3. Will it yield a quality product?

4. Will it be efficient?

So, I want you to ask that question every time that you’re thinking about testing out a new technique, looking at a new product, or doing anything a little bit different than what you have normally done before. Sometimes little switched in what you’re doing can make a big impact in your bottom line, but you always want to make sure that it’s safe, that it is going to be efficient, and that it’s going to yield a quality result. If you can answer all four of the questions and get a “yes” answer, try it. That’s one of the beauties of professional pet grooming is there’s lots of ways to do the same thing based on the situation that you’re dealing with on that particular moment.


What Do Clients Mean When They Ask for a Puppy Cut?

“Give my dog a puppy cut.”

Ask 10 customers or groomers to describe this style and I bet you get 10 different answers. One one hand, it’s a great conversation starter! On the other, it’s a quick way to discover how easy it is to misunderstand one another.

The puppy cut is popular because it works well on a wide variety of pets. Almost any breed that grows longer coat can be done in this easy-to-care-for style. Yet, the puppy cut is also the most misunderstood haircut in grooming salons around the country. Why? There are no clear directions of what this trim actually is or how it should be done. It’s left up to individual personal interpretation by owners, groomers, or talented pet stylists.
Read the rest of this entry »


Remember: Clients Have Options

In this video, Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of remembering that clients have options. Thinking about this from your client’s perspective helps build your relationship. A dissatisfied customer might decide to DIY or call your competitor, or simply not have their dog professionally groomed. Each of these scenarios can affect your salon, and possibly the health and safety of the pet.

Want more great grooming business tips? Sign up to www.Learn2GroomDogs.com to access hundreds of videos on any device. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% Off your first month.

Interested in training staff or learning to become a professional dog groomer online? Check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program. Use code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition.

Transcript
Melissa: Hey guys, Melissa here, and with this session, I want to talk to you a little bit about what your clients’ options are as far as it comes to having their dog groomed professionally, and hopefully having it groomed professionally by you. But even if you are the only game in town, you’re the only salon, just always remember that clients still have options. To me it’s really important to not only provide a quality service that is warm, compassionate, friendly, and it’s going to yield a quality product, but it is to build a relationship with that customer so that they never even remotely think about exercising any of their other options.

But have you ever thought about what options your clients actually have? I mean, sure, they can use you, which is what you’re hoping for, but you know, they could also, if your service slips a little bit, if they have a bad experience with you, they’re going to pick up the phone and they’re going to call a competitor. You certainly don’t want that to happen.

Another option that they have is maybe they start wanting to groom the dog themselves. Boy, how many of us have had that happen to us, and then all of a sudden the client realizes that it’s a lot harder to groom their own dog than what they thought, and they ultimately end up coming back to us. But others, maybe they find they enjoy grooming their own dog, but no matter what, you’ve lost that client and so that is revenue not coming into your pocket, so you don’t want that to happen either. You don’t want them grooming their dog themselves.

Then the final option, the fourth option that clients have is they just don’t do anything. They don’t have the dog professionally groomed, and we all know for the hygienics side of things and for the pet’s well-being, it’s really important to have the dog groomed. Not only are we giving them a bath and probably a skin conditioning treatment, a haircut or maybe just a really good brush-out, but we’re also trimming nails and we’re also cleaning ears. We go over that dog from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail, so we are very experienced, almost trained observers, and we’re going to notice anything unusual.

One of the things that I always think about as a pet professional is that I want to work in harmony with the owner, with the veterinarian to keep that dog in the best condition and the healthiest and happiest that it can be. So I want to see that client on a very regular basis, and I just don’t ever want to give that client the option to look for something else, to exercise one of those three other options. I mean, they’ve got the four options: use you, use your competitor, do it themselves, or not do it at all. I certainly hope that you are looking to really cement that relationship with that client so that they never exercise those other three options, because if they’re exercising those other three options, you’re not going to be in business very long.

So always think about how you can work in harmony with your clients to maintain that positive relationship and to do a great job on every dog that walks into your salon, or cat, dogs and cats. Make sure that you do everything in your power to make your clients come back because that’s the name of the game, repeat business.


Make Time For Yourself

In this video, Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about the importance of taking time for yourself to maintain and improve your performance. From focus to stress-reduction, she discusses six ways that time off the job makes you better on the job.

Want more tips to supercharge your grooming business? Join www.Learn2Groom.com and access hundreds of videos on any device. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% Off your first month!

Need to train staff, or looking to become a professional dog groomer? Check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program for a curriculum built on Melissa’s award-winning material, and delivered by top industry professionals. Use code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi guys, Melissa here. I’ve just come back from an amazing vacation, and I want to talk to you guys a little bit about that. Not necessarily my vacation, but do you take a vacation? Vacations are so important to your overall wellbeing, they are almost to me as important as a well-balanced diet and getting exercise. I want to kind of talk to you about that.

You don’t necessarily need to take a wild, exotic, expensive vacation to get the benefits of it. Some of the best vacations, and I’ve done a lot of these myself, is stay at home vacations where you don’t necessarily go anywhere but you do different things, you plan it out. That’s the key to any vacation is that you want to plan it out so that everything goes the way that it should, and you’re going to get a break from your everyday routine because that’s what makes a vacation really wonderful and special, is that you’re taking a break from your routine.

What are some of the benefits? Why should you stop? The daily grind? Why should you really invest in yourself, and why should you invest in that downtime? Here are some six different things that I really see when I take time for myself, what it helps me achieve. Number one, it really helps minimize stress. Stress, as everybody has it, it doesn’t matter where you’re at, what stage of life, what stage of your business you’re in, I think everybody today has to manage stress and to do it well. Vacations can really help that.

Focus. I get so distracted when I get overloaded with too much work. To take a break from that allows me to maintain that focus and it makes me a lot happier when I come back. My team is going to notice that I come back with a totally different attitude. I’m just a much better person to be around than somebody who’s just having to deal with the daily grind.

Years ago, it was not uncommon for me to put in 60 plus hours a week, I mean that was just, that was normal operating procedure for me. When I tell you that it really makes me happier, trust me, it does make me happier. Also, I don’t get nearly as sick as often when I take time for myself. Again, it’s just giving you that time to reboot yourself and to take time to reenergize. I think a lot of illnesses brought on definitely just from your mental state of mind, and so a vacation is going to help boost that area.

If you’re in any kind of a relationship with your family, with your friends, with your partners, husbands, wives, what a great way to rekindle and to reconnect with those that we love the most, is just taking time and taking your focus off of work and spending it with those people that you really love and care about.

Finally, when you do come back from vacation, the payback sometimes can be a little challenging, it takes a lot to get back into the groove, but ultimately, you’re going to be so much more productive. I come back, I am energized, I am ready to hit the ground running. During that downtime, maybe I was doing some different things but I was still thinking about business, and I was still thinking about what I could do. When I come back I am just that much more productive and ready to hit the ground running.

I asked you guys, when was the last time that you took a vacation for yourself where you could just decompress, that you could just be, that you could take care of yourself, your heart, your mind, your physical being. I really, really encourage you to think about it and think about it for your staff too. If you’re an employer out there and asking your team to put in the same type of crazy hours that you might put in, I would rethink that.

I have gotten to be a real component of making sure that my team takes time for themselves because I really understand the value that it puts on every single team member. Think about where you want to go, what you want to do. If you don’t have a big budget, do a stay at home vacation, they can be wonderful, they can be just as energizing, and knock some things off your bucket list.

You guys, if you don’t have a bucket list of things that you’ve never tried before and you want to try, create that list. I know the last vacation that I just got back from, I had two things on my bucket list, crazy, but I’d never done them before. I had never done an airboat ride through the everglades, I was able to do that. I had never been out deep sea fishing, I was able to do that. Those are just some of the things that I was able to do that got me excited, and jazzed up, and who knows, I might have a new hobby, might be fishing, like I need another hobby.

Bottom line, take that time. I encourage you to find and schedule the downtime. It doesn’t have to be a big, long two-week vacation, it can be a day, two days, whatever amount of time that you can squeeze out of your schedule. Do it for yourself, you really, really deserve it.


Staffing to Scale Your Business

Are you trying to grow your grooming business? Master Groomer Melissa Verplank shares her tips for selecting the right team members to scale your business. She also discusses staff turnover and positive ways to think about and manage the lifecycle of relationships with team members.

Want to train staff to grow your business? Check out our Distance Learning Program and leverage Melissa’s outstanding educational curriculum.

Want to help your staff get a specific breed groom just right? Check out www.Learn2GroomDogs.com, where members have more than 600 grooming tutorials at their fingertips.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you about staff. Staff is a necessary situation if you want to grow and scale your business. And over the years, I have had absolutely amazing staff members, staff members that I never wanted to see them leave. And I have also had really, really challenging staff members. And so if you are looking to scale your business, to grow your business because you’re successful, and with success comes more opportunities, but also more challenges. And number one, you’ve got to … if you want to scale your business, you’ve got to find those staff members, but then once you find them, you’ve got to cultivate them. And over the years what I have honestly learned is one of the easiest ways when we’re dealing with grooming staff members is training them myself. And that’s really the entire reason why I started the Paragon School of Pet Grooming was because I couldn’t find enough groomers to support my mobile grooming business. I had six vans out on the road, and it was … there was times that I would let vans sit for a year, idle, and no one was in them because I couldn’t staff them.

Melissa: So this is going back into the 80s, and it was the number one problem back when I was first starting my business, and it continues to be really the number one problem today, is finding qualified staff members to join your team. And before I started the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, I ultimately had opened a salon based operation and I used that as a training center for my fleet of mobile vans, and that was really the only way that I could find team members that could groom up to the caliber that I needed them to groom to.

Melissa: So as you’re growing your business, when you’re looking for people, what I say to folks now is look for somebody with that attitude that you know that they have a great work ethic. They smile, they take direction well, those are the types of folks that are moldable, and you’re going to be able to work together with some systems, get the systems in place, and you’re going to have people that mirror what you’re thinking and how you want to treat the customers. But don’t totally put your heart and soul into them, because just when you think everything is going really well, they’re going to up and they’re going to leave, and that’s just the nature of the beast.

Melissa: And so I would never be angry with somebody as long as they were honest with me, told me up front what they wanted to do, what their dreams, what their aspirations were, and I want to help them get there. And if they want to stay with me for seven, 10, 15 years, great, and I’ve had staff members do that and stay with me for that long. But I’ve also had staff members that have only stayed with me for a few years, and I was a little bit … just, you know, like a stepping stone for them. And as long as they were honest with me, I would help them however I could, because we all have dreams, we all have things that we want to do. But what I want each and every one of you to think about, whether you be the owner of the salon, or whether you be the employee, is that do the best that you can do, and be up front and be honest. If you want to move ahead in your life, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to open up your own salon, there’s nothing wrong with that. But be fair about it. Don’t open up three blocks, or a couple doors down from your existing salon, move into a different area and start your own business.

Melissa: But as the business owner, I also want to encourage you to always, always be looking for somebody else to come on board. And it’s not necessarily that you’re going to replace somebody, but you have got to cover your hind end. You’ve got to be able to continue to grow your business forward, to move it forward, and it’s great always to have somebody in training, always coming up the ranks so that when that day comes that somebody does leave, that it’s not as painful for you. There’s nothing worse than relying so heavily on somebody else that when a team member does leave, it’s devastating to your business.

Melissa: And so now, today, what we are always doing is we are always cross training our team members so that if somebody leaves, if somebody moves on, that somebody can step in. Will they do the job beautifully just like the former person? Maybe not, but they have already got a head start. And right now, between the different companies that I have … we’ve got probably approaching 80 employees, between Whiskers Resort, and that’s the one that has the most employees, and the educational companies. So I’ve got a pretty good sized team, and I’ve got to tell you, I have had good days, and I have had really, really bad days based on how well the leadership was going at the companies, and probably the days that were some of my darkest days probably a team member caused that, and I let that get to me. But I will also say some of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever done has been based on a team. And to be able to see dogs walk out that look amazing, to see team members get certified, or to go into the ring, or just to be able to pay their bills and not have to look over their shoulder. Those types of things make it really worthwhile and I love being an employer, because I can expand somebody’s horizons, and I can help somebody succeed.

Melissa: And so for me, having team members works really well. But I will tell you, it isn’t always glorious, it’s not always fun. But I love what we’re able to do, and I love being able to help as many dogs in our community as we do, and I love helping people expand their career. And I couldn’t do it at the scale that we do today if I didn’t have an amazing, an amazing team behind me.

Melissa: So don’t be afraid of it. But just know, you’re going to have to buckle down, and you’re going to have to do some work, and if you are one of those team members, I certainly hope your boss, your employee is holding you accountable to a higher level.


Maintaining Focus

Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses one of her favorite keys to success: focus. Focus during a grooming session is critical for safety, technique, and style. Maintaining focus will also help improve your efficiency.

Read more on this topic here: MelissaVerplank.com.

If you want to hone your skill level — and your focus — check out Paragon’s opportunities for continuing education here, or visit Learn2GroomDogs.com for video tutorials to help you groom like the masters!

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi, gang. Melissa here again and I want to talk to you today about another one of my favorite time-saving tips. This one today is about Focus. Focus is so critical as a professional pet groomer whether it be to keep the pet safe, or to enhance your own skill set. Focus absolutely has to be maintained at all times whether that dog is first walking into your salon, whether it’s on the grooming table, in the bathtub, in a drying process, or whether it’s even in the holding area. You’ve got to be aware of what is going on around it, and be able to keep it safe at all times.

Melissa V: The other thing is if you’re not focused on your skill set as you are doing a particular job more than likely it’s not gonna be the best that you could do for the given day, so pay attention when you’re brushing those big furies out. Pay attention to your brushing technique and what’s happening with the skin whether you be scissoring, clipping, bathing a dog, making sure all that shampoo residue is out. You have got to stay focused on what you’re doing.

Melissa V: One of the things is you really can’t stay focused if you’re chattering to your co-workers, so I really encourage folks to minimize the chatter that’s going on out on the floor as you’re working with these dogs. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have a little bit of communication. You don’t want to be totally antisocial and anti-friendly, but you can’t focus if you’re totally engrossed in a conversation about what you did last weekend, or what your kids are doing, or what you’re going to be doing next weekend. You have to be able to focus on the task at hand, and that is the pet that is in front of you right there and then. And then what is going on the surrounding areas to keep the rest of the animals that are in your facility safe, so really pay attention and stay focused.

Melissa V: The other thing is if you aren’t constantly working at it, or thinking about it you’re never going to be able to enhance your skill set if you don’t stay focused, so whether you’re trying to shave a few minutes off of your groom job, whether you’re trying to improve your clipper skills, or your scissor skills, or whatever it might be the only way that you’re gonna be able to do that is to stay focused on the task at hand. You always want to look for ways that you can do something better, something … You always want to look for ways that you can do it faster. You always, always, want to maintain the safety aspect of what you’re dealing with at all times because the pets that are in your care they’re your responsibility. It’s up to you to keep them safe, so I encourage you stay focused on the most important thing that you’ve got in your salon and that would be your clients, and those are the four-legged clients that are coming in to see you.


Introduction to Paragon’s Distance Learning Program

For those who want to become a professional pet groomer, but have difficulty attending a physical grooming school, Paragon’s Distance Learning Program offers more options. In this video, Melissa Verplank shares an update on the Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Not only has this home study program proven itself effective for training people entering the industry, but it’s also being embraced by grooming salons of all sizes too!

If you want to learn the skills necessary to become a professional pet groomer at home, or you need help training your grooming staff, check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program. Visit ParagonPetSchool.com today and use the promo code “LUCKYDOG” and get $100 Off your tuition!


Making the Most of Trade Shows – Atlanta Pet Fair 2019

Check out Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank’s discussion on the value of trade shows as a source of professional development and networking. A self-professed “trade show junkie,” Melissa will be one of the guest speakers at the Atlanta Pet Fair slated for Thursday, March 7th through March 10th.

Love learning new grooming tips? Check out Learn2GroomDogs.com.

Do you know someone who wants to get started in a pet grooming career? Check out Melissa’s online curriculum at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program: ParagonPetSchool.com

Planning to go to Atlanta? Stop by the Paragon booth!

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here. And I want to talk to you a little bit about attending a trade show. I know a lot of you guys have never even been to a trade show and they are absolutely amazing. When I first started out in the industry, I worked for a kennel and she had a whole lot of magazines up in a storage room, and I would sneak up there, and I would start thumbing through these magazines, and I started learning about seminars and trade shows.

Melissa: And I’m going to tell you, when I attended my first trade show, which happened to be in Chicago, it was the All American Grooming Show, it absolutely opened my eyes to what the industry had to offer. And from that time, and this was way back … Oh gosh. I’m going to really date myself. I want to say it was the very early 80s, if not the late 70s, when I attended my first trade show. And so every since then, I’ve kind of been a junkie on this kind of information because one of the things that’s so cool about our industry is that you can never know it all.

Melissa: And so if you’re going to attend a seminar or a trade show, which I certainly encourage you to do, you need to go in with a really, really open mind. Now when you’re a newbie, when you haven’t been out to one of these events, there is so much information. It’s almost like you’re a dry sponge, and you expand your knowledge base and by the time you get done with your first trade show, generally when I talk to folks, they are so almost overwhelmed by the amount of information that they’ve just learned.

Melissa: And what I want to remind you is that when you’re brand new, everything is new, and you do have a lot of information to absorb and gather and take home and apply. But once you get your core skills down, once you start working through the entire process of grooming on a professional level and becoming efficient and being able to be proud of the work that you are being able to do and knowing the difference between a good job and a bad job, then you start attending the trade shows and instead of just being this super dry sponge, and absorbing everything, you’re going to be going in and you are going to be targeting certain aspects.

Melissa: You’re going to be able to go in and look at the speakers and look at the programs that are being offered. And to be selective about what you want to learn next. And everybody’s gotta staircase their career, and you’re not going to be ready to hear some of what the speakers have to say, or it might not apply to you, and other things are going to be more elementary. You’ve already got that down. You don’t necessarily need to attend that one, so you can start to kind of cherry pick those particular golden nuggets that you really need. But whenever you walk in, always know there is not black and white in professional dog grooming.

Melissa: There’s lots of shades of gray. There’s lots of opinions. And so that’s one of the cool things is that we get to pick and choose and the more information and the more speakers and the more folks that you can listen to and gather information from, the better you’re going to be able to go back and provide a better service for your customers, and that’s what makes it so fun. So, go in with a really open mind and be selective. When you do go into a trade show, make the most of your time. Have a game plan going in, because again, it can be really overwhelming and there’s a lot of different programs that are going on. A lot of these trade shows will have grooming competitions also going on. And I’m going to tell you what, if you sit over on a division or the open division side of the ring, oh man, can you learn a lot just by observing what is going on in the competition ring.

Melissa: Really great education, just to sit ring side and watch what those competitors are doing. And not only watch their techniques, but watch the products and the tools that they’re using to get this gorgeous finish on these dogs. So be … Look at the classes that you want to take. Know who you want to see. When, what time those classes are. And plan ahead, so that you can go in and make the most of your time and you can not only get to the classes you want to get to, watch the grooming competition go on, get around to all the vendors. Man, I’ll tell you what, if you want to get an idea of what is available for our industry and literally get your hands on the products, no better place than a trade show to do that.

Melissa: Because there are clippers, and shears, and bows, and dryers and you name it. If it has anything to do with professional pet grooming, more than likely there’s going to be a vendor at that show that you can actually talk to and you can test out the equipment. And you’re going to see a lot of folks that, maybe you’ve just seen in the magazines, or you’ve just seen on video. They’re going to be there. And you know what, everybody started out at a beginner at some point in time. And so, it doesn’t matter how far anybody has made it to the top. More than likely, they are going to be approachable.

Melissa: Now if you’ve got a competitor in the ring, or you’ve got a speaker racing to get to a class, they may not be able to stop and talk to you and give you their full attention at that moment. But I can guarantee you, everybody is very approachable and they want to help, and they want to help the new people succeed and move forward. So get yourself out to those trade shows and you know, sometimes the best education that you can get isn’t necessarily on the trade room floor. It’s not in the classes. It’s not sitting ring side. It’s by meeting new people, [inaudible 00:06:52] getting out and socializing and meeting new people and the conversations that you have while you’re waiting in line or maybe you’ve gone to the bar or the restaurant to have a refreshment, and you’ll be able to meet new people and share ideas and the networking opportunities that are available.

Melissa: You stop and think about, when are you in a room full of people that all have the same passion that you do? Dogs and cats and grooming. And so everybody’s got something in common, so it’s really, really easy to strike up a conversation and just start talking to one another. As you’re sitting in your seminar rooms, you’re going to be sitting next to somebody. Introduce yourself. It is so fun to be able to network that way. So we’re looking at the trade show season just starting. We’ve got the California show out coming up in February, and the Atlanta Pet Fair is March 7th through the 10th of March, and I know I’m going to be at that show, along with my entire team, and that’s a great show to get out to. Lots and lots of exhibits. I think they’ve got over a hundred different exhibitors.

Melissa: They’ve got over 70 different classes that you can take. So get out there. It does take a little bit of planning. You’ve got to plan some time off, you’re going to have some travel, but if you want to come back to work energized and ready to start fresh and new, there is no better way to get re-energized then going to a trade show and learning something new. So hopefully, we’ll see you at the next trade show.


10 Things That Take Zero Talent but Earn 100 Percent Respect

Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the power of 10 simple best business practices that will command client respect and build your business.

Want more business inspiration to fuel your grooming salon? Check out these articles. MelissaVerplank.com/blog/?s=tips+on+building+repeat+clients&submit=Search

If you’ve mastered the art and want to bone up on your own technical skills, check out Learn2GroomDogs.com

Want to train your staff to perform at the highest skill level? Check out Paragon’s Distance Education program for Grooming Salons. ParagonPetSchool.com/product/studio-enrollment-bundle/

Transcript
Melissa: Hi Guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you about something, whether you be an employer or whether you are an employee, it’s not gonna matter, and this is something that doesn’t take any money whatsoever. Totally zero. It’s 10 things, and a lot of you have probably seen this list before, but it’s 10 things that require zero talent, zero money, but it is going to give you 100% respect.

Melissa: And so I just wanted to talk a little bit about these 10 different items and how it applies to what we do as professional pet groomers. The first thing, and this is just such a huge one for me, but being to work on time. Being done with your dog when you tell your customer, when you promised it, and anytime that you can’t uphold that, whether you’re running late to work or whether you’re running behind on a dog, let either your employer know or let your customer know that things might have changed a little bit.

Melissa: If you just can’t get up in the morning because you just can’t get up, change something, get up earlier, see if maybe your employer is willing to have you start on a later time during the day versus first thing in the morning. When I had all of my mobile stylist, I had early birds and I had folks that were just couldn’t get up in the morning, and we customized their schedule for them. I had some of my drivers, they were arriving to base at 6:30 in the morning, sometimes even earlier than that.

Melissa: Sometimes they were on their client’s doorstep at 6:00 AM, but they were also done and they were out at the beach by 2:00 in the afternoon. I had other stylists that were rolling in maybe at 10 o’clock and that was fine. As long as we knew, but whatever the time you set be on time. Number two, have a great work ethic. A work ethic will get you so far and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether you are an employer or an employee, whether you are a coach on some type of a team, whatever it is, wherever it is in your life, a strong work ethic will always earn you respect.

Melissa: The next one would be effort, and effort and work ethic to me go hand in hand. When we’re dealing with brand new students, they’re not going to get it perfect straight out the gate. One of the best teachers is experience, and making mistakes is a fabulous way to learn as long as you can minimize the mistakes and hopefully most mistakes are correctable with a little bit of adjustment, but if somebody comes in with a strong work ethic and effort, oh my gosh, they are going to go so far with me and in their life. Guarantee that is going to get them somewhere in their life.

Melissa: The next thing is body language. If you can smile, the smile totally comes right through, whether you’re working on a dog, whether you’re talking on the phone, whether you’re dealing with a customer, it doesn’t matter, whether you’re dealing with your staff members or the staff members dealing with anybody else on the team. If you’re sitting there going, “Nope, I don’t want to do it,” or “Gosh, I’ve never done it, but let me try it.”

Melissa: There’s different way that that body language came through where one person was workable and the other wasn’t, and body language and energy and positive energy. There’s that phrase out there that says, “Is your attitude contagious?” “Is it worth catching?” And I love that image where there’s a whole bunch of matches lined up and there’s one match and they’re getting ready to ignite just that whole row.

Melissa: Energy is absolutely fabulous. And dogs also, they read energy. So if you come into the salon and you’re in a grumpy, nasty mood and your body language is not positive, you just don’t want to work. You don’t want to be there, you don’t want to put forth the effort. Well, you know what, your day is going to get even worse because that energy is transferred right over to those dogs. And so it’s really important to have positive energy and have that great attitude coming in.

Melissa: Not only is your day going to go smoother, but every coworker that you have, their day is going to go smoother and the dogs are gonna respond in a much more favorable way when you’ve got that positive attitude, the positive energy coming into work, and you’re going to get that respect from your coworkers and your customers and also from the dogs. Passion is right in there.

Melissa: I still remember my high school teacher, and I was definitely not the best student. I mean if I was pulling a C average, I was lucky and if it was Spanish, it was something else altogether. But I had a counselor at this little tiny high school that I went to in Colorado, and I’m still in touch with her today and she believed in me so much and she said, “Melissa, when you find what you’re passionate about, nobody is going to be able to stop you.”

Melissa: And so passion is critical. If you want to succeed in your job and in your life, you’ve got to be passionate about what you’re dealing with. And again, it’s just gonna make your life be a lot more fun, a lot more enjoyable. Be coachable. If I sat there and said, “Nope, I know it all. I don’t need to learn anything,” I’m just not gonna get anywhere. And that’s one of the things with this particular industry, with professional pet grooming, you can never know it all. So always stay open, always stay coachable, always think about what you can learn more and be humble at the same time.

Melissa: That’s not on the list, but humble to me is be coachable and be humble and that will gain you respect, hands down, over and over again. Another thing is do something extra, go a little bit more. No one is going to criticize you for doing something a little bit up and beyond what they expected, and that’s what makes people talk about you.

Melissa: With a service space business, if you want to really go far, you want to be able to do something extra to get people talking about you because people don’t talk about boring services, they talk about things that excite them and referrals are the number one way that grooming salons grow. And so you want to do something a little bit extra to get those customers talking. They will love you for it and you will earn the respect.

Melissa: And the last thing on the list of 10 is be prepared. Be prepared for whatever you’re going to be dealing with. If you come skidding into work at the last minute, you’re running late and your workstation isn’t set up. If your stuff isn’t ready to go, you’re not prepared for your day, your day is going to tumble in a downward fashion pretty quickly. And so it really pulls all of the 10 together, is be prepared.

Melissa: If you do these 10 things, you are going to earn the respect of your employer, of your clients, of your boss, all the way around you’re going to earn respect and you will also have respect for yourself. And so I really encourage you to think about these items that absolutely cost zero intake, zero talent to just do.


error: Content is protected !!