I went out with a nice man the other day. We ended up in a high-end restaurant on the water, and usually along with a higher price, you’ll get much higher service.

Now I know this isn’t always the case. However most service people who cater to the affluent are excellent at their jobs and are compensated for it. Pet professionals can learn a lot from them.

What was unique and why I’m bringing it up for you to mull over and use to your benefit is how our server greeted us.

He walked up to the table, looked us over and said, “You look like a really fun couple!”

The truth is we aren’t a couple, we were on the second date, and yet ....

I’m certain both of us feel that we are “fun” — and the praise washed over us and settled in as a glow of opportunity. We would certainly be a “fun couple” for this nice man serving us. And we were!

The server’s expectation, led us right where he wanted, and we all benefited from it immensely. How can you use this in your pet store or service business?

When you begin with a sentence of praise and it’s what you are expecting and wanting, he or she will no doubt rise right up to be that person.”

Determine your expectations and let them be more than, “I hope they buy something.”

When you greet people, rather than the standard, “Welcome to [name of business]” and “How can I help you?” shift that to what you want to experience.

Do you want your customers to be:

  • Fun?
  • Happy?
  • Creative?
  • Like they’re on a mission?
  • Filled with joy?

Shift from “Welcome to my store!” to  “You look like a fun person!” or even, “Wow, what a happy dog you have!”

Then track how the rest of the experience plays out, and you may be a convert and can use these other ideas:

  • “You look creative!”
  • “You look like you are on a mission! ... And I’m here to help you with that!”
  • “Your dog is filled with joy! What magical things can we find for him/her today?

When you begin with a sentence of praise (the caveat is that it must be true ... if she is a mean-looking person with a growling pet, don’t say anything!), and it’s what you are expecting and wanting, he or she will no doubt rise right up to be that person.

We did. We were a fun couple and we ordered, consumed, lingered and compensated well. Isn’t that what you want from your customers?

Shift your greeting and let me know how it works!

Shawna Schuh  is a certified speaking professional, an executive coach, master neuro linguistic programming practitioner and president of Women in the Pet Industry Network. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of PETS+. 

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