In my last blog post, I explained why the door and window salesperson must “sell” the dog to have a good closing percentage in households with dogs. Now it’s time to learn how to turn a guard-dog growl into puppy love.

Control Your Emotions …

Dogs are very smart at figuring out our emotions. Anger, anxiety, nervousness and fear cannot be hidden from a dog. When a dog senses these emotions on a strange human entering their home and mingling with the members of their household, they will play the role they have been given by thousands of years of evolution – “Man’s Best Friend.”

We could change the phrase “Man’s Best Friend” to “Mankind’s Best Friend” to be politically correct, but let’s not lose sight of the reason for the dog-human relationship. The prehistoric partnership between man and dog exists to help each other survive. Dogs have our back. Literally. When we enter the home of a dog owner, we must remember the dog is genetically engineered to protect the humans who harbor and feed them.

Experts agree that dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell. Dogs can’t necessarily smell the emotion that is fear; however, dogs do smell the changes that happen to our body when we are afraid. Whenever a human is afraid, adrenaline is released in our bloodstream, our hormone levels rise, and we sweat. This is what humans have always done when presented with a situation where we will need to flee or fight. It is our survival instinct, and it produces a scent that dogs can smell.  Dogs also see movements and body postures that may help them sense when a person is nervous, anxious or afraid. When the dog senses we (or their master) are afraid, anxious or nervous and our scent tells them we may be there to fight or harm their humans, the dog goes into protection mode – guarding the human household from us…

Anxiety and Nervousness…

We can avoid some of the nervous and anxious feeling we have on an in-home sales call when we are knowledgeable about the services we provide, believe we can help the prospect achieve their goals and are comfortable calling on strangers. I’ve often advised readers here that being on time, prepared and educated about the services provided and the products offered will improve sales closure rates. That skill set will also improve our relationships with the prospect’s dogs by lowering or eliminating anxiety, fear and nervousness that cause a dog’s mistrust. Practice and experience can also help us become more relaxed at the doorstep.

Fear of Dogs is Natural…

A big, barking dog showing its teeth is potentially dangerous, so it is only natural to be afraid. Even a small yapping dog nipping at our heels can threaten and scare. Fear is the natural response of a human when they are confronted with danger or a threat to our well-being. The first step to improving our closing percentage in households with dogs is to overcome our fear of a strange dog, because our fear triggers the dog’s instinct to protect their master and guard them against us. Our fear is the death of a sale in a household with a dog. Our fear may even cause the dog to snap or bite at us if they perceive us to be a threat to the members of their household.

I must admit that, when I began knocking on doors 35 years ago, I had a fear of dogs. I realized I had to overcome this fear to be more successful. I rationalized that no property owner would knowingly put a visitor at risk. Allowing another person to meet a dangerous dog would show a criminal disregard for others and might just jeopardize the dog owner’s financial well-being and perhaps even their freedom.

When the homeowner is with their dogs when they answer the door, we can presume the following:

  • The homeowner has let their dog loose around strangers before;
  • The dog has never bitten anyone — or at least not bitten anyone seriously enough, or often enough — to create a legal or financial problem for the homeowner, and;
  • You are probably safe from being bitten.

That should be enough reason for a logical, mature adult to alleviate their fear of dogs. If not, I suggest the following ways to get comfortable being around dogs:

  • Get a dog. Living with a dog provides a different perspective about dogs and may pt you in touch with other dogs and dog owners. Living with a dog will also give you and your clothes the scent of a dog. That scent alleviates some dog’s mistrust of the strange human in their midst.
  • If getting your own dog is not an option, get exposed to being around strange dogs. Visit pet stores and meet a variety of dogs for sale. Go to a dog park and get used to being around a variety of dogs. Introduce yourself to the dog owners and let them know you’re trying to get over a fear of dogs. They will be glad to help. Volunteer at a dog shelter. You’ll help the community as you cure your fear of dogs.

Making the effort to overcome your fear of dogs will improve your closing ratio and increase your commission checks. Since more than 4 out of 10 households include dogs, you will be more successful and make more money when you aren’t afraid of dogs.

Over the last 35 years, I’ve perfected a way to make man’s best friend YOUR best friend. To learn how, read my next blog post: Sell More… Be a Dog Whisperer!

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