Build Rapport with Your Clients

We all have our lived experience shaping how we interact with the world around us.

When our clients are struggling with their dog’s behavioral concerns, they are left feeling confused, frustrated or even worried about what’s going to happen.

For sure they don’t want the issue to get worse, but they are also inundated with conflicting information which doesn’t leave them feeling confident in how they can address what’s going on effectively.

This is where you, the pet professional comes in.

Most often, you’re the last resort.

The pet parent is relying on you.

Establishing the client relationship is a delicate balance of being supportive as well as grounding the client in how they choose to implement training protocols and management strategies as a lifestyle routine.

None of this is easy.

But, it can happen when the rapport between you and the client is established allowing for harmonious communication to flow through you all.

Here are useful strategies in starting off the client relationship on the right foot.

  1. Remember your client’s (not just the dog’s names!) This helps you connect with the person in front of you.
  2. Find common ground. As a pet professional, you most likely went through some struggles and were determined to find answers. You also felt worried or had other concerns about what your dog was experiencing. Remember, you clients are in the same boat! They sought you out for answers and your own experience can help you get into the shoes of your client.
  3. This leads me to say, remain empathetic. People are really struggling and in order to help the dogs, you must understand where the person is coming from too. Even our ideal clients struggles. Understanding how to reach your clients in the way you’ll be received and seeing that satisfying their need to be heard and understood will help you, help their dog. The human-human connection is vital for change.
  4. Mind your body language. When you’re active listening, make sure to give your full attention. Nothing says, “I don’t care” when attention is taken away by being distracted or not giving eye contact to your client. But also, don’t stare!
  5. Active listening is vital to the client relationship. Being able to hear the emotions under the words being spoken and reframe these sentiments to your client. This can help your client be heard. In many situations, our clients may feel alone as others in their inner circles don’t understand their struggles. Be the person who understands and reframe their beliefs can help you connect and get at the heart of the matter.

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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