Who Is Doing Your Selling?
By Fernando Camacho
The first question I always ask my marketing clients is, who is the one doing the selling? Who is the person that is interacting with the potential customer, trying to get them to make a purchase? Is it you, the business owner?
Unfortunately, in the dog daycare business, it usually falls upon whoever happens to be sitting at the front desk at the time the prospect shows up—which is usually your entry-level staff members; someone with very little experience, let alone any decent knowledge of how to sell. But is that the right choice?
I strongly believe that the person you have manning the front desk should be one of your A-players. This is the person who is interacting with customers the most and can have the biggest impact on the experience people have with your brand and how much they will ultimately spend with you.
Your front desk person needs to be amazing, and they have to specialize in customer service. You need to find a real people person (something the dog business isn’t really known for—we typically get “dog people”), and I think they should be one of your highest-paid employees. Pay more money to get a great person sitting at your front desk who is going to be greeting and interacting with the customers.
As the business owner, you aren’t always going to be able to be there, so you need someone whose job it is to take care of your customers. They should know how to schmooze, and they should know how to sell. Your average minimum-wage employee working in the back with the dogs may not be the best-qualified employee to represent your brand. I’m not knocking them—they’re very valuable to your team—this just isn’t their skillset. The person the customers see the most is the face of your business. That person needs to be really personable and likeable, and they need to know how to facilitate the sale.
Doctors’ offices seem to screw this up all the time. For some reason (at least that I’ve experienced), the front desk staff at most doctors’ offices are not all that happy, patient or nice. Maybe they just know that we have a real need to be seen by the doctor and don’t care how we’re treated before we see them. Here’s the thing though; I spend more time interacting with the front desk staff than with the actual doctor. If they are providing a poor experience, I’ll find another doctor. There’s plenty of them. The grumpy reception people make me not want to go there.
So, think about who you have at your front desk, and make sure they are well suited to represent your business and have been properly trained. If you have the wrong people there, you could be really jeopardizing the health of your business. You have to empower them with the tools and the knowledge on how to correctly deal with people in such a way that customers want to buy from you.
It’s a specific skillset. That’s why salespeople are typically paid a lot of money. If they don’t do their job, nobody makes money. Your appointed person needs to understand your various offers, overcome the typical objections and help people make the best buying decision for them.
I just want you to take a moment to think about who’s typically trying to get people to buy things in your business. Who’s talking to the customers? Who’s answering the phones? Who’s assisting them in making purchases?
If a customer picks up their dog and your desk person sees that their package of five days of daycare was just used up, they need to say something like, “Today was the last day of your five-pack. You know what most of our customers do? They now go for the 20-pack because it will save you a lot more money. How does that sound?”
That’s a great, gentle upsell and will convert quite a few people if it’s worded and delivered in the right way. Unless you’ve trained your staff on how to sell, odds are they have no idea what to do, so they will usually do nothing. You’ve got to tell them exactly how to do it. Unless you’ve hired someone who’s specifically good at selling, you need to train them.
This is important stuff, and if you don’t take control of the situation, you’re basically leaving your business up to the untrained teenager at the front desk.
Fernando Camacho (Fern) runs Overdog Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in working with dog daycare and boarding facilities. He does private business consulting, staff training and helps pet businesses utilize modern resources to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. Fern is also the author of six books and is a speaker at national conferences and private events. To join The Dog Daycare Business Think Tank or ask a question, go to: www.facebook.com/groups/dogdaycarethinktank