You know the feeling. The phone is ringing and it’s a number you don’t know. A potential new client is on the other end and you really want to make a great first impression. You’ve got your pitch down and can talk about all the benefits of pet care and what makes your company special. The new client has some great questions about you, your qualifications and credentials and you’ve nailed them. Now that the voice on the other end is sold and ready to move forward - what next?
It may seem silly but the questions you ask a new client can be just as important as the questions they ask you. The answers can save you from a lot of unnecessary headaches. Remember - that not only is the client hiring you but you want to make sure that your business is going to be the right fit for them too!
So what are the right questions? These vary for each business but we’ve found some that should be included in every new intake call. Here are five of them:
Where are you located? Might seem silly right? Your service area is listed right there on your website but you’d be shocked to see how many people find you on Facebook or on Yelp and they never even looked at your website. It’s important to ensure this client is in your service area before you put their address into your GPS for the Meet & Greet!
What types of services are you looking for? Your company probably has a specific set of services. You may not have a service for someone who is looking for boarding or for chinchilla care. Be sure you can offer what they are looking for.
What dates do you need services? Just like the "Where are you located?" question - you’ve got to make sure that you have availability on the dates they need you. If it is Christmas Eve and the client needs three visits on Christmas Day - you probably don’t have any availability.
Have you used a pet sitter or dog walker before? This is a great question to help understand how familiar your client is with this type of business. If they’ve just moved to the area and had a pet sitter they loved in their old city - you can probably skip the “what a pet sitter” does monologue!
Tell me a little about your pet’s routine? This question helps ensure that you feel comfortable with the situation. Your business may have a policy against leaving dogs outside at night and if that is the routine - this client may not be a good fit for your business.
Bonus Question: Will anyone else have access to your house during these visits? This could be a deal breaker for you. Many pet care companies have policies against “shared visits” because there is too much risk associated with several people caring for the pets. Additionally, you’d hate to wake up Uncle Steve from his mid-day nap when you thought just Fido would be home!
Don’t forget - your clients are probably contacting a few pet sitters so it’s important to make sure they know why your company is the best. Talk about yourself, your pet sitting insurance, why you do this and what separates you from the pack!