The only time I can remember walking a dog was when a neighbour asked me to take her dog for a walk because she was unable to take the dog out herself.
When I set off with the animal I soon discovered what the problem was.
That dog took you for a walk, not the other way round. It wasn’t a big dog but it was strong. If it wanted to go left, you went left. If it didn’t want to stop to go into a shop, then you kept going. If it wanted to run ….
That, of course, wasn’t the sort of dog walking that’s the basis of a successful business. The story does illustrate something about the life of a dog owner.
People who have dogs, and who care for their animals, need to ensure they get exercise.
Addressing a need such as this is essential in business.
Thinking about getting clients for a dog walking business and, more particularly, getting well-heeled clients for a dog walking business, is a task that can help every one looking to sell to the high net worth marketplace.
Sell a service that the high net worth market buys
It’s old advice, but it remains good advice.
Sell something that people are already buying and are already used to paying for.
Some dog owners do make use of dog walking services. The need for the service could be based on lifestyle, where the owner doesn’t have time to walk the dog. Something could be preventing the owner from walking his or her dog, possibly ill health. The owner might not want to walk the dog. Perhaps a family member has left the dog with a parent who doesn’t want to take on the responsibility for the animal.
As a businessperson you know that someone who is looking for a dog walking service needs some spare cash to pay for the service. The dog owner’s disposable income needs to be sufficient to allow him or her to purchase the service.
As a potential purchaser of the service, the better off you are the more likely you are to be in a position to justify this type of expenditure. That’s not to say that you will necessarily use a dog walking service, if you have plenty of money. It’s just that you could – if you wanted to.
If your business is dog walking, you’ll be offering to save dog owners time via your service. You’ll be promising to keep the dogs safe whilst they’re away from the owner’s premises and in your care. You’ll be selling peace of mind for the dog owner, too.
You’ll be doing the sort of things that all service providers do.
- You promise to make life easier.
- You promise to get a job done.
- You promise to take away a problem.
You’ll do all of these things in return for money.
Position the dog walking service to appeal to affluent dog owners
Let’s talk about dog walking but remember that we’re also talking about your business and your service.
Your target market isn’t the high net worth market. It isn’t dog owners.
Your target market is well-off dog owners.
So what else can you offer to get those affluent people to buy not just your basic service, but the enhanced versions and the more expensive options?
You might look at helping the dog owner to keep his or her dog in good health. Maybe you have experts in canine fitness on your staff. Perhaps you’ve linked up with a veterinary practice to offer this type of help. Maybe you offer advice on what dogs should eat to keep healthy. Maybe you also advise what each dog needs in terms of nutrition – after checking out the current state of health of the animal – of course. Perhaps you even supply food supplements.
Everything you do is taking away a burden from the dog owner. You’re also helping the owner to be more confident that the animal is being well looked after. You’re adding value in lots of different ways. (Of course, I’m assuming you’re offering a fantastic service.)
And the price?
Well, you won’t be selling your services on price. You’ll be selling on value. Your enhanced services are targeted at that better-off dog owner, who may also be a high net worth person.
Getting affluent dog owners to come to you
It’s all very well having a great service that’s well targeted and which delivers real value. It won’t bring you much profit if hardly anyone knows about it.
Your real challenge is to sell your offer to the high net worth market.
The owner of our dog walking business knows better than to sell to a demographic – the high net worth individual. (Demographics is about dividing up a population into those with particular incomes and with so much behind them in terms of assets.)
That knowledge doesn’t actually help any one to sell to high net worth market.
Knowing some of the characteristics of the high net worth market doesn’t help you that much.
The owner of our successful dog walking business knows to sell to a niche rather than to a demographic.
The dog walking business targets dog owners who are also well off or affluent.
To bring in clients the business owner writes articles in doggy magazines about how to keep your dog fit and well. If the business advertises in these magazines it only uses direct response advertising. It asks readers to visit its website and sign up to get a special report entitled:
Of course, the business has a website with lots of hints and tips about looking after your dog. It also sets out the range of services available for dog owners to buy.
If the business is really successful it will take a stand at dog shows because that’s where its staff are most likely to meet the well-off dog owners in its target market face to face.
What can you learn about selling to high net worth individuals from the dog walkers?
There’s a lot all service businesses can learn from the dog walkers.
- Is your service as targeted as the dog walking service?
- Is your understanding of your market as well developed?
- Are you selling to a niche (an interest, a passion or a problem) rather than to a demographic (specifics about people’s income, where they live etc)?
Are you succeeding in selling your product or service to high net worth clients?
What can your business learn from the dog walking business about selling to high net worth individuals?