Soulmate Client Relationships
Hello hello and welcome to Greedy Bitch, a podcast where groomers stop apologizing for charging their worth. I’m your host River Lee, founder of the Savvy Groomer where I teach you to go from burnt out, broke, and broken to healthy, wealthy, and happy- building a grooming business you love!
Soulmate client relationships: what are they and how to find them
Every groomer wants to run a high-end salon, but not everyone wants to deal with the baggage that comes along with high-end clients. Often, your services just aren’t a perfect match for their needs.
What is a soulmate client?
A soulmate client also called an ideal client or ideal client avatar, is essentially what it sounds like: your target market or the perfect type of client you want to attract.
I like the term “soulmate client” because comparing your perfect client to someone you are dating can be a very helpful analogy.
Often, when someone calls your salon to make an appointment you immediately say yes. You need the money so you’ll take any paying client you can get — it is only natural. Similarly, in dating, you might be tempted to say yes to anyone who wants to take you on a date and buy you dinner.
But wait! To make sure this date will be worth your time, I recommend asking some questions first.
Figure out your dealbreakers
It is important to figure out what are your dealbreakers for this relationship. When you’re dating, this might be 'do you want children?' For grooming appointments, a dealbreaker might be how often do you want your pet groomed?
For me and my grooming business, I wanted someone who needed grooming regularly. A soulmate client was someone who would be happy to sign up for my membership, get on a regular schedule, and need monthly grooming services. One-off clients or irregular clients were not worth my time.
Figure out what traits your soulmate client has
Many people want to be a high-end salon owner who charges top dollar. This usually means they think their soulmate clients are people who make six figures — maybe doctors who live in wealthy areas.
But just like you might expect in dating, there are downsides to attracting clients with this lifestyle. Say you’re dating a surgeon — they are going to be very busy and on-call often. This means they might cancel dates (or appointments) often and need you to be very flexible. If you know you want to date a doctor but need someone who is more reliable, then maybe a dermatologist is a better choice for you!
Let’s look at another analogy: coffee drinkers! Maybe you think your soulmate is a Starbucks drinker. If they pay $7 for a Starbucks drink, they want it to be perfect or else they’ll be annoyed and send it back. Similarly, when you’re charging top dollar for your services, people are more likely to get mad when something goes wrong. In pet grooming, Starbucks drinkers are tough clients to have as a soulmate. Maybe your soulmate is actually someone more middle of the road like a Dunkin Donuts drinker.
Analogies aside, my point is: everyone wants high-end clients but don’t want to deal with the crap that comes with them. Middle of the road clients are more flexible, willing to work around your schedule, and are usually nicer and easier to please. If the relationship with a high-end client is not working, maybe you’re mismatched. Many people should actually be dating middle-ground clients because they fit their goals better.
Figure out how to attract that soulmate client
In personal and business relationships, if you want a relationship with someone amazing then you have to be amazing. Put another way, you need to be a good friend to have good friends! Simply providing a great haircut is not enough to attract and keep your soulmate clients.
You need to think about what you bring to the table for your clients. How do you meet their needs? Are you making them feel cared for? What do they need out of a grooming relationship: is it convenience, emotional connection, or reliability?
While you should always keep things professional, you should be thinking of ways you can nourish your client relationships. Maybe you send home a report card with their pet or call after every few grooming appointments to ask if they are satisfied with the groom. Maybe you need to change your cancellation policy or offer pick-up and drop-off services.
Figure out who your dream client is, how you can meet their needs, and how to nourish that relationship on an ongoing basis.
Set boundaries and reward those who put in the effort
Once you have this initial conversation with a new client and finish their first grooming appointment, the next steps are very important to your relationship. To go back to the dating analogy, this can be like wondering if you ask them for a second date or do they? Do you wait for them to call you?
If you meet someone and you think you might be each other’s’ soulmate, you’re going to naturally go through the effort to stay in contact with them and build a good relationship.
By contrast, if you aren’t hitting it off then you’re not going to ask as many questions and just try to get it over with. Or maybe you find that you are playing a kind of game with your clients trying to get them to book an appointment — Maybe when you ask them would you like to book another appointment? They say, No, I’ll call when I’m ready. Maybe this client waits until they are a little desperate to get their dog groomed because they waited eight weeks instead of four and so their dog is a mess (which is going to be more work for you).
Here is where you set your boundaries and expectations with people. Many groomers have toxic and codependent relationships with clients where they essentially teach their clients to treat them like shit. Instead, you want to reward people who go above and beyond in the relationship to make things work, and discourage those who don’t make an effort or follow the rules. The more exclusive and harder to get your services are, the harder people will work to get the reward.
“Dating” questions to ask a new client
So what should you ask your new clients? Below are a few great example questions.
How often do you have your pet professionally groomed?
If they answer:
- Less than 4 weeks = high-end client
- Like every 6-8 weeks = middle ground client
- When it gets dirty = bad client
What are your expectations of your groomer? What services would you like to be included?
- Many specific requirements = high-end client
- I just want him clean = middle ground client
- I don’t know that’s your job! = bad client
How can we improve upon your past grooming experiences?
- Tell me more about your pet.
- What kind of haircut do you like?
If you’d like more, you can sign up for my business membership, where we’ll create a cheat sheet of questions for you to ask your new clients.
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