At the end of the day, what is the number one thing your potential pet
sitting clients want from you?
The best care for the pet? A fair price?
Sure. But the most important thing a pet owner is looking for is peace of mind.
Peace of mind knowing they have made the right decision by hiring you
(rather than anybody else).
How can you be certain you are properly providing them this trust and
security in the first place?
By asking lots of questions.
Asking questions proves that you are competent, professional and
experienced. It also suggests genuine interest in the person
How else are you expected to learn about the individual needs, fears
and desires of each client if you do not ask questions.
You Must Ask The Right Questions.
And I’m not talking about asking the normal questions such as when do
you need service, what’s the feeding schedule, etc.
I’m talking about questions that get to the heart of their true
concerns, and their true fears.
Remember this fact: Every new client you speak with falls into one of
these three categories:
-She has either depended on friends or family in the past for her pet
-She has chosen never to leave her beloved pet behind.
-Or she had an experience with a pet sitter in the past and decided
not to go back.
Unless the pet owner just got a new pet, it’s a guarantee she falls
into one of the categories above. And it becomes your job to
determine the What, the Why and the How of the current situation.
This is where it becomes necessary to ask the right questions. Do not
be afraid to ask and do not think it’s none of your business.
It is your business to fully understand the big picture and, more
importantly, to assure the new client that it won’t happen under your
Doctors do it all the time. When you visit with a new doctor, he will
ask plenty of questions about your past to help determine how to
properly move forward. Without seeing the complete picture of your
history, the doctor can not make a proper judgment going forward.
While we are not doctors, I will argue that a similar level of trust
needs to be established. It’s a doctor’s responsibility to best care
for our bodies, and it’s the pet sitter’s responsibility to care for
the pet owner’s property, belongings, valuables, house, and of course,
furry loved ones.
So, what can you learn by asking specific questions?
If a past pet sitter didn’t promptly return phone calls, you’ll know
to make it a point to return calls to her in a timely manner.
If a friend made a mess of the litter box and ruined the carpet,
you’ll know to take extra special care when cleaning up after the cat.
Remember, it’s these little things that sent the new client running in
If you never learn that a prompt phone call is a big pet peeve of this
client, you might not think anything of returning the call in the
evening. Yet, it could cost you like it cost others in the past.
And never forget that she, too, is looking for a qualified person to
serve her in the best possible manner.
All any client ever wants is reassurance that the person they are
trusting with their furry child has the skill, talent, knowledge and
expertise to handle most any situation that arises in a timely fashion
so that she can stay relaxed.
Nobody wants to be at work agonizing if the dog is OK.
Nobody wants to go on vacation having their heart race every time the
phone rings thinking it’s the pet sitter with bad news.
Pet owners want nothing more than reassurance and to place all the
confidence in the world into you.
If they come to you as a new potential client, and they do not
automatically reveal what their past situation was with care for their
pet in the past, it is absolutely acceptable to inquire.
It’s the only way you will be able to do the best job possible.
Plus, I guarantee you, if asked, pet parents are more than happy to
share bad experiences with you.
Not, of course, to bad mouth, but to educate. She will be so thrilled
that you care, and are listening.
That way, you will be able to empathize with her past situation and,
you guessed it, prove to her that you will certainly not let that
Here is the one greatest question you can ask new clients to help get
the ball rolling in the right direction.
Don’t be afraid, shy or timid about asking during the initial
conversation (or at the meet-n-greet), “Can I ask what you did in the
past for pet care?”
Your Homework Assignment:
The very next time you are on the phone with a new potential client,
ask her the magic question listed above, and note her answer.
Come back here and let us know the results.
– Josh Cary–