If there’s one question I get asked all the time from other dog trainers, it’s, “how do I get more clients?”
Well, here are 62 answers.
If you’re serious about getting more clients and growing your business, work your way through this list of proven client getting techniques:
- Create a website and check off Google’s SEO checklist to have your site found for top search terms such as, “dog training [location]” (Set up your website on the free Google Analytics to get insights and tips from Google)
- Run facebook ads with a video showing off the results you can get for client’s dogs
- Have flyers created and display them at local businesses – not just pet related but anywhere someone who owns a dog might go. Chat to the staff when you go in – people love to talk about their dogs
- Mailbox drop your flyers. You can pay someone to do this cheaply or if in a busy area, you could wear your training shirt and even take your dog and use it as an opportunity to talk to people you meet and show off your skills
- Train your dog and show off tricks in public areas wearing your training shirt and have your business cards ready to go. You could also put up a sign to say, “ask me about training your dog!” with your business details on it
- Create a referral program where existing clients are rewarded for referring their friends. You could reward them with products, services or cash
- Take chocolates/baked goods and a card to pet related businesses who have kindly agreed to display your cards and flyers
- Contact local community magazines and offer to write for them. Attach an example article about dog training of behaviour and propose you write for them regularly to provide them with interesting content
- Print a newsletter or short article and distribute it to vets, pet stores, produce stores, groomers and anywhere else with staff who may be interesting in learning about training. Offer to give them extra copies that they can give to their clients
- Display your flyer on community notice boards
- Call in to the radio whenever they let people call in and they are discussing something dog related. Offer your advice
- Contact the local newspaper and media outlets and let them know that you are available should they have any dog related news stories. Be prepared and suggest a story or article topic that they could cover that you are happy to provide input on. Seasonal related topics eg keeping dogs and kids safe at Christmas are popular ideas. Dog safety always comes up in news stories when there is an incident in the news.
- Speak to pet related businesses and your local Council and offer to run a free workshop on a dog training related topic. For example, treating and preventing dogs barking – a popular one that helps the community. Choose any topic but make it specific for each workshop you hold. Have flyers and information material available to give to guests
- Create a helpful PDF info sheet or video and give it away in exchange for email addresses. Send your email list a regular newsletter with a short helpful tip and a reminder that you can help with their dog
- Film before and after videos and publish them on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
- Publish any client testimonials on social media and your website with permission
- Call every single one of your past clients (not email, not PM) and have a CONVERSATION about how their dog is going.
- Ask your previous clients for a review in said conversation
- Ask your previous clients, in a verbal conversation, if they know anyone who might be interested in dog training services.
- Join a local group like Toast Masters and practice speaking about dog training and behaviour
- Join a local business mastermind or business group and attend each meeting and get to know other business owners in the area
- Wear your business shirt with name and logo or have a promotional shirt that says, “I’m a dog trainer, ask me about your dog”
- When you get promotional materials printed, go to a printery and speak to people rather than ordering online and not talking to anyone. Tell them what you do and ask if they have a dog. Then ask about their dog. If they don’t have a dog ask if they know one.
- Attend local markets with a stall and do dog trick displays with your dog. Run Q&A sessions at set times during the time you are at the stall. Have informative articles on various topics people can take home – of course it has your contact details and website on it
- Whenever you talk to people, slip it into conversation that you’re a dog trainer and be happy to chat with them – you don’t need to run a free consult and answer their all questions but let them know how you can help people with dogs. If they seem to have a lot of questions, offer to book a lesson and explain how cool it will be
- Look up if there are any dog walking groups in your area and attend with your dog wearing your shirt
- If you need more social media followers because your page is new, invite your friends list to like and share your page. Post on your personal page that you would love referrals
- Offer a bring a friend for free promotion valid for one lesson only, then sell both people more lessons
- Use local hashtags on instagram in posts and stories and show off a dog you have trained or can do tricks with
- Take your dog for vet checkups wearing your training shirt and practice some quiet training in the waiting area while other clients are present. People watch.
- Ask your vet what their clients need the most help with then offer to run a free workshop on that topic for their clients at their clinic. Provide handouts
- Have your website listed on all promotional materials. When you are getting website traffic, run retargeting ads on Google and Facebook to target warm traffic and show them an offer
- Speak to a personal trainer and offer to collaborate on a “fitness with Fido” class where both dog and owner get a workout and some training
- Run a free info session in the park and if you notice someone struggling with their dog, speak to them privately and offer them a lesson
- Write an informative blog post and send it to anyone you think could find it interesting and publish it anywhere you can
- Print said article and hand it to anyone who could benefit – your hairdresser, the gym, the local cafe etc.
- Ask previous clients, friends and family (not in text) if you could run a free learning session at their workplace, perhaps over lunch
- Attend as many local networking events as possible so word spreads on who you are
- Post an ad for free on Gumtree, Craigslist or similar
- Post a free or paid ad on the trading post
- Post a free ad on Facebook Marketplace. Mix it up and repost regularly.
- Post helpful information in Facebook classified and forum groups for your local area. Both in pet and non pet related groups
- Post to local Facebook group stories with interesting short clips
- Make sure when you’re posting that your business is listed on your personal profile as your place of work and links to your facebook page
- Put your website and logo on your car. Magnets or stickers will do to start with – it doesn’t have to be full sign writing
- Run a transform your dog’s behaviour competition
- Run a referral competition for all past clients
- Ask your local schools if you can give a free talk for parents
- Ask your local schools if you can run a dog safety talk and send helpful information home with the kids
- Stand outside busy places and hand out flyers. Having a cute dog with you that they can meet helps. Put a sign on your friendly dog that pats are welcome
- Get a sign made to display where you run classes or teach people so passers-by see what you are doing and who you are
- Give your past and current clients tangible items to keep that will advertise your business for you – dog water bottles, car stickers, magnets, collars, leads, dog vests
- Display a professionally designed ad on a billboard
- Ask your clients how you could improve your services, then DO IT.
- Contact some people who you would love to train but they can’t afford your fees, offer to train them in exchange for referrals and testimonials
- Attend events such as school fetes, fairs and markets and instead of just standing there behind a table of flyers, speak to and connect with people and take their email addresses to enter a competition. Use a real dog as an ice breaker
- Offer a training starter pack to local shelters to include with every dog that gets adopted
- Offer to run a free workshop at your local shelter
- Offer one free introductory class per month to those with newly adopted dogs
- Offer a discount on training for those who have adopted a dog in the last 3 months
- Set up your LinkedIn profile and connect with local business owners on LinkedIn. Have a conversation with them and offer to run a workshop at their business
- Ask to leave informative articles with your contact details at Doctor’s offices, Dentists or anywhere else with a waiting area
There you go my friend, you have 62 things to add to your to do list and act on before you can ever say again that you have trouble getting clients.
Are you feeling hesitant on acting on them? Do you find yourself making excuses in your mind as to why you can’t do them? This is the nature of business, putting ourselves out there. And the sad fact is? Most trainers reading this will let fears stop them from action, and then they will continue to complain that they don’t have enough clients.
Don’t just do these things once either. Marketing takes consistency and repeated tries to work. And then momentum builds.
Now, let’s say you get one client from doing HALF of the things on this list. That’s 30 new clients. Now, what if I told you that you could then make $1000-$2000 per client?
That’s a lot of extra moo-lah!
AND what if I told you that while making more money, you got better results for these clients, they were good to work with, and they then rave about you to their friends and word of mouth spreads and more people hire you??!
What if you knew exactly what to say to lock in the sale when someone enquires?
What if you never had to feel worried when someone says, “no,” to the booking anyway?
Now that you have clients coming in, do you know what to charge them? The income of a dog trainer varies widely but you don’t have to scrape by and you don’t have to guess.
Grab my free guide on how to set your rates so you can earn what you deserve while doing what you love and avoid burnout.