When you think of engagement in business, your first thought is human to human contact right?
We hear this all the time, especially on Social Media.
But this time, I’d like to share a story with you about human to animal engagement.
A bit of history
My son who’s in the Canadian Military wasn’t able to properly care for Chaos (rescued Calico cat) because of deployments, so we took her in. She made herself at home and is Queen of Mia (our rescued dog). Chaos has had an eating disorder since she was adopted 7 years ago and she’s highly allergic to almost everything.
When it All Hit the Fan
Everything was normal, feeding time, walk with the dog. Nothing out of the ordinary until we got home from our walk and notices this massive wound on Chaos’s neck. Her neck fur is so long, we didn’t notice when this first started and with my allergies, I only cuddle with Chaos if absolutely necessary.
First thing you are probably saying is “take her to the Vet” and yeah, that would have been my first response as well, but Chaos can’t stand car rides and the last Vet she saw…well, let’s put it this way, it was the Vet that needed stitches.
We went to a local Vet that opened up about a year ago. Car ride would be only a couple of minutes. Went in and told them what happened and how Chaos was with the last Vet. They gave us a blanket with a Pheromone spray that might help calm her down and told us to come back in two hours for the next opening.
I dreaded having to get Chaos in her carrier, but after 15 minutes, we got her in. The Pheromone spray didn’t work.
You may we wondering what the heck this has to do with engagement…but wait, this is where it gets interesting.
We got her to the Vet, the tech brought us to a room, opened the carrier door and we put Chaos on the scale for a weigh in. She was meowing, howling and just plain miserable. We warned the tech again about what Chaos was like with the previous Vet. She said she’d let the Vet know and that they may have to sedate Chaos if things got out of hand.
He said hello, introduced himself and shook our hands. Asked about what was going on and then her turned his attention to Chaos who was on the floor. At this point, from previous experience with Vets trying to handle Chaos, all I’m thinking is “cha-ching”…the longer you are at a Vets office, the more it’s going to cost and here’s this Vet on the floor with Chaos!
He’s talking to her, not touching her, touching the floor, getting her attention. Ok.. who does this? he gets a little food, she’s smelling it but turns away. He keeps talking to her and she rubs up against him. Ok, this is blowing me away. He’s able to pick her up (she’s not hissing or growling) and put her on the exam table.
Now he starts all over again, while she’s on the table and he’s just petting her and talking to her. She pushes a bit into his hands…you know that kitty rub they all do.
I’m thinking to myself that this guy must have some type of catnap in his skin, because in 7 years, I’ve never seen Chaos act this way. No sedation, no gloves and no fangs. He just kept saying “handle her gently” while he did the rest of the exam, gave her two shots and the rest is history.
We were there for about an hour and I was expecting a bill around $400. We were only invoiced for 15 minutes of time plus the cost of the shot. HELLO!!!!!
I wasn’t going to complain but I had to say something.
- Once we paid the bill, we were there for another 20 minutes, he just chatted with us. What I learned was the way he handled Chaos can so easily be applied in any business situation.
- How he handled Chaos = how we handle our customers, making them more comfortable and slowly gain their trust.
- Being there for well over an hour and only being billed for 15 minutes of consult time = in the grand scheme of things, you give away 80% of your best stuff to build relationships and sell 20%.
- Spending time talking with us, not rushing us out of the office = spend time talking with your prospect or customer. Really listen to what they have to say. It may not seem important to you, but it’s important to them. Authentically care about your customer and they will trust and respect you.
- Not trying to oversell medication or Vet food (a problem at the three previous Vets) = Never push a sale to someone. It’s icky! Build trust, build a relationship and make an offer. You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date right? same thing here… don’t try to sell a service before you’ve even gotten to know who you are building a relationship with. Nobody likes being “sold to”.
If you’re thinking this is because it was our first visit, guess again.
We had a second follow-up last Friday and the experience was exactly the same. Asked the Vet about introducing Mia to the office and to him. You see, Mia does not like men, she’s afraid of them. Being a rescue, I can only imagine the worse. The Vet said to bring her by as often as we wanted and come in the door, leave, talk with the tech. He’ll just stand there each time and let Mia approach him on her terms. All at no charge.
At no point, did the Vet ask for anything in return. He’s very smart…he’s counting on word of mouth advertising and I will gladly pay that in full!
In closing, what’s one thing that you can do when talking with a prospect for the very first time to build trust?
Currently don’t have pets but do have a step son who is a vet and he has a similar approach. He is with other partners but everyone asks for him. Must be a reason. What I love most about this post is your wonderful way of extrapolating a day to day experience and relating it to business. You did that when you referenced your experience as a jewelry customer and customer service.
I read many posts that offer great information about marketing and social media but am often left wondering how it applies to my business. You take that guess work out.
This is a great post about how to build trust and not ask for or expect anything in return. Maybe my daughter is lucky, but the vets we take her dog to are very much like this. They have a sincere love of animals and spend whatever time the animal needs and not just a specified appointment time.
The lesson for us all is to “listen” to the other; whether that other is a customer, a friend, a pet. Any relationship is built on a sincere interest in the other and giving more than you receive goes a long way. This is how we warm to another and ultimately how we all want to be treated. I appreciate how you took this everyday experience and shared it in a way that we all can relate to and identify with in our own lives. Thanks Gisele! Appreciate the great read. Happy both your pets have found such a wonderful vet too.
Glad you enjoyed the post Beverly. Trust is the hardest thing to build 🙂
Speaking from a customer’s perspective and a pet parent who has only ever had highly strung furry babies, Gisele, this vet has nailed it. Sometimes trust is built by observing the authentic sales person who has all the time in the world to educate us and lets us take the decision for ourselves.
On a more personal note, our vet won Miss Coco’s trust by treating her with respect. We were changing vets at the time because the other one was giving her anxiety and stress and she needed to be muzzled even for a temperature check. He was a good vet who had looked after my 4 dachshunds but too detached as he had tons of clients. Miss Coco was picking up the vibes.
Here new vet has been her friend for the last 5 years and I can see the difference. She actually gets into the car readily for her visits compared to the time when we needed the guard, Mom and myself and anyone else around to literally get her into the car. 🙂
I’m so glad to hear that Miss Coco is doing so much better with the new vet. I think a vet that is disconnected or is not a “cat” or “dog” person, will be picked up by the animal and then there are problems.
We’ll see how Miss Mia does 🙂
Wonderful story and an example of how to run a business. What did he gain? Referral business, a great reputation and people are talking about him. Why? Because he respected his customer needs, both in service and financially and that what good business is all about.
As a pet parent I drive an hour to go to an amazing country vet. She does that same, she charges per visit not time, she doesn’t charge for rechecks as it more important to have the follow up for the animal then to stress the owner out of the cost. Do I refer her? All of the time!
You have a wonderful Vet!!! She’s obviously all about the well being of animals! Word of mouth referrals for her would be the best type of payment ever 🙂
Hi Gisele 🙂
What an awesome story and post! You know as I was reading, I keep thinking to myself this is how we should treat EVERYONE we meet for the first time, so that we can gain that trust 🙂 Love to hear that your vet is amazing like that and allows you to bring in your pets, especially your rescue dog at NO CHARGE just so she can get used to him 🙂 AMAZING 🙂 Definately as a network marketer we should treat anyone that we meet with that kind of compassion, always 🙂
Thanks for sharing such an awesome post!
Thank you Joan! gaining trust, especially for pet parents is something I think that’s harder to do than trusting a human being 😉
Know, like, trust – this vet’s got it down. What a great environment to take your pets to – if only the medical world would follow this model for treating people!!
Agree.. “know, like and trust”…three simple things to do, but are hard to get done. I think that makes sense 😉
Your vet sounds awesome! My coaching business is 100% referral, so I understand how powerful that can be when clients trust you and think you’re wonderful. I have found that honesty and consistency seem to be my magic bullets….wish I could do that with my blogs, lol.
Hey Liz… you just have to set your mind to be consistent with your blog. Maybe an editorial calendar will help?
Gisele, This is a great post – and a great reminder to listen to our prospects, give valuable advice. I do truly believe the money will follow if you give genuine and valuable advice to your prospects to build trust. I volunteer my services and offer workshops in a small price range and have upper range services too; so that I can help as many business owners as I can, no matter what their budget. I love this story – there aren’t many vets like the one you have; he’s a gem! Hope Chaos is better now.
Hi Tamara, thanks for the lovely comments. Chaos is doing better, but she’s going back on Friday again for more shots. I’m not as worried now with her fighting the vet 😉