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  • How Do Pet Sitters Respond To Service Requests?

    Posted July 6, 2015 By in Pet Sitters With | 1 Comment

    Color paint image

    As you know, there are many ways to respond to an incoming service request from a potential pet client.

    If a call comes in and a message is left, logically you would return the call.

    But how do you respond to an email or contact form request?

    Sometimes, the potential client will dictate how they prefer to receive a contact back, but in other cases, no preference will be provided.

    You are probably on the run most of the morning or afternoon and may not have time to pick up the phone to call back until later that evening.

    And we all know the quicker you make contact and “win” the client over, the quicker she will end her search and thank her lucky stars YOU are their perfect sitter.
    Read More …

  • How Your Pet Sitting Business Can Operate Like A Hollywood Movie Studio

    Posted November 16, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
    Successful business people know this to be true and live it by hiring
    the right employees and forging partnerships with the most appropriate
    people.

    Louis B. Mayer was a Hollywood film producer best known as one-third
    of the movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Before taking over
    Hollywood, Mayer formed his first partnership with a friend that
    helped them control the largest theater chain in New England.

    In 1916, Mayer partnered with another film executive to create Metro
    Pictures Corporation, a talent-booking agency in New York.

    However, the most successful partnership for Mayer did not happen for
    another two years. In 1918, Mayer moved out West to Hollywood and
    formed his own film production company. Six years later, a gentleman
    by the name of Marcus Loew – of the Loews movie theater chain – had
    the brilliant idea to merge Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Mayer
    Pictures into one powerhouse entity.

    MGM was born, and Louis B. Mayer was successfully in charge of the
    studio for the next 27 years. Under his supervision, MGM grew into the
    most profitable motion picture studio in the world signing exclusive
    deals with legendary movie stars such as Judy Garland, Clark Gable and
    Katherine Hepburn.

    More than likely, you will reach various times in your career when you
    do not have the appropriate expertise or resources to accomplish
    something. This is the time collaboration and/or networking is
    valuable. These relationships can help you answer questions, provide
    guidance, and provide the ongoing support and encouragement you will
    need.

    How you win from a community of like-minded individuals

    A real world example:

    Networking and building business relationships with other pet sitters
    allow you to grow your business. You may receive a call from a
    potential client outside of your coverage area. However, this person
    may be smack dab in the middle of Cindy’s area.

    It would be a bad idea to thank the client for her call and hang up
    leading her back to the drawing board. Instead, tell her all about
    your colleague Cindy who is at the top of her game and would be better
    suited to take care of her pet since she is more conveniently located.

    You then graciously pass off the potential client to Cindy, expecting
    nothing in return. “Expect nothing in return? Why in the world would I
    do that?” Because that is the one golden rule of networking and good
    business practice: Give out more than you expect back.

    The phrase ‘What goes around, comes around’ has never been more
    appropriate than in business. You can be certain that with this kind
    of mindset Cindy will be tremendously thankful for the referral and
    will speak well of you and your business.

    I assure you Cindy will now be looking for opportunities to send you
    reciprocal business and will inadvertently become a walking billboard
    for your business, too. Plus, the original client may have friends in
    your area and you may receive some referrals from her because of the
    pleasant exchange you first had.

    Who knows… you may even develop a partnership with another business
    owner (like Louis B. Mayer did) that will take your pet sitting
    business to new heights.

    Now, Your Turn…

    How can you find strategic partnerships that will help your pet
    sitting business grow? Have you partnered with others in the past?

  • Join us for our 2012 Virtual Conference!

    Posted September 14, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

  • Pet Fire Safety Infographic

    Posted September 12, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    Thanks to Compliance and Safety for sending me this great pet fire safety infographic today.

    Please feel free to share with you clients and friends. When you share please give credit to Compliance and Safety – http://complianceandsafety.com.

  • Do You Think Chocolate Chip Cookies Can Make You A Better Pet Sitter?

    Posted September 8, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    “The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember,
    the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love
    to do, be the best at doing it.”

    Debbi Fields was born in 1956 as the fifth and youngest daughter into
    her large family.  As a young child, she developed an interest in
    baking cookies that kept her occupied.  She quickly noticed the
    recognition she received from family and friends and adored the
    satisfaction she received.

    When Mrs. Fields was just 13, she got her first job – a foul line
    baseball catcher for the Oakland Athletics – which paid $5 per week.
    She used every penny of her income to enhance the ingredients in her
    cookies by purchasing real butter, vanilla and chocolate chips.

    Barely 19 years old, Debbi Fields found herself married to a man who
    brought home plenty of money to support the two.  After some time of
    playing the housewife role, her childhood dream of opening up her own
    cookie store crept back in.

    Her peers said she was crazy for considering going into business with
    no prior business skills.  They also thought she was nuts for
    attempting to start a business just selling cookies!

    Debbi Fields continued to dream and eventually turned that dream into
    the most successful chain of cookie and baked goods stores.

    She has said in a recent interview, “Everybody said I couldn’t do it,
    I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have money, I didn’t have formal
    education, I just had a recipe, and a dream.”

    Debbi Fields stuck to her dream and today her cookies make everyone smile!

    To succeed, you need to have dreams and aspirations. Be honest with
    yourself as to what you want out of life and what you want to give of
    your life. Allow your mind to dream and think big.

    Verbalize your dreams.

    If you’ve ever had a dream of starting your own pet business or
    growing your current pet sitting business, chances are someone in your
    life has shot down the idea.  That’s only if you’ve actually shared
    your passion or dream with another person.

    Many of us keep our true dreams inside for fear of how our friends and
    family would react.

    Sadly, people have their own agendas that do not always coincide with
    ours.  They’ll feel it necessary to shoot down our dreams, desires and
    aspirations because they are fearful to pursue theirs.

    If they see us living our dream, waking up happy and enthusiastic each
    day, doing what we truly want to be doing, they feel threatened.  To
    them, it highlights their inadequacies or lack of motivation.  This is
    where jealousy and negativity seem to thrive.

    Mrs. Fields had the dream and desire to start her own cookie business
    from a very young age.  What would have happened if she listened to
    the nay Sayers who told her to be real and focus on something
    legitimate?

    Mrs. Fields kept her dream alive and lived each day with her sights
    squarely focused on her dream of one day opening up her own cookie
    shop.  Today Mrs. Fields has over 650 locations in the US alone, and
    over 65 international locations in 11 different countries.

    That’s a lot of cookie and plenty of dough!

    Embrace your dream and say it loud!

    The more you say your dreams and goals out loud, the more real they
    become.  They are not just thoughts in your head.  They become
    tangible plans.  Things you can work towards.  You also inherit a bit
    of accountability by verbalizing your goals to others, which will go a
    long way.

    So, what’s next for you?  What do you secretly lay in bed at night
    dreaming about?

    What one thing are you dead set on achieving during this one lifetime we have?

  • Are You Gaining The Right Info From Your Potential Pet Sitting Clients?

    Posted May 15, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    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?
    Read More …

  • 10 Important Goal Setting Questions

    Posted March 31, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    Human beings are goal-seeking creatures. We are impatient and try, and fall, and try again until we learn to walk. We babble and coo and struggle until we learn to talk.Skinned knees mean nothing in the quest to ride a bicycle. Recently, the world has watched Olympic athletes over-come incredible obstacles in the quest for a medal. When a client tells me they have had a goal, but in the past 6 months they have made little or no progress towards achieving it, I encourage them to ask themselves the following 10 questions: Read More …

  • How To Handle A Negative Comment and Turn It Into A Positive Trait

    Posted March 19, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    Where do you draw the line with a potential client’s demands?

    One of the things my pet sitting business prides itself on is
    availability. Being accessible to clients and potential clients.
    I’ve learned early on that the pet sitting industry is highly
    competitive, especially in New York.

    I say especially in New York because unlike a rural or suburban area
    where the client homes are spread out in driving distance from each
    other, New York is so dense that you are competing with at least a
    dozen other companies and sitters who can all be at the client’s home
    for the initial meet and greet within 10 minutes.

    I know the importance of making sure each client gets a live person on
    the phone when they call in because they are literally going down a
    list of the first ten Google results of pet sitters in New York.

    If they call and have to leave a message, they are moving on and very
    well may have a conversation with pet sitter #2 and decide to go with
    them and their search is over. If I call them even five minutes
    later, chances are they will not be open to hearing what I have to
    offer.

    Side note: There are plenty of responses you can give to a potential
    client you call back that says, “Oh, I’ve already spoken with another
    sitter. I’m all set now. Thanks anyway for getting back to me…” but
    that’s for an entirely different blog post.

    I was manning the phones recently and received a call from a potential
    client who was calling around for more info. I was in a meeting and
    had some errands to finish up so I was forced to send this call
    straight to voicemail.

    By the time I got back to my desk ready to return the call, no more
    than 3 hours or so had past. I call the woman back and one of the
    first things she says to me is, “I’m surprised it took you this long
    to get back to me. I called you earlier this morning.”

    On one hand, I was flattered. Flattered by the idea that from just
    visiting our pet sitting website, this woman had already given us the
    benefit of the doubt that we are a professional business, running it
    in a professional and efficient way.

    On the other hand my thought was, “My goodness, this woman is a tough
    cookie.” She wants what she wants when she wants it. Apparently, 3
    hours was a bit long for her to be waiting for a return call. And her
    travel dates were NOT just around the corner.

    Here’s the thing… she’s the potential client. She has every right to
    make the rules.

    Now, I do not mean that she has every right to make the rules on how
    we run our business (quite the contrary) but she does have every right
    to set the rules through her expectations.

    She decided that she wants and expects the pet sitting company she
    hires to call back immediately and/or be available immediately.

    We as the business owners have to play by her rules (expectations) if
    we want her as a client. This is not to say that we have to expose
    ourselves and be a whipping post for every potential client that comes
    our way.

    There are plenty of times a client is expecting too much or becomes
    too difficult to deal with that we feel it best to pass and send her
    on her way. But the woman who expected a call back before 3 hours
    passed is not in that category. We can deal with that.

    So where were we? Oh yea, the phone conversation… she just expressed
    her surprise that ‘it took that long’ to get back to her.

    What do you say in response to her?

    “Sorry, I was in a meeting all morning?” “I was running errands?” “I
    was busy?”

    You could, but it won’t get you very far. Why? Because she’s not
    looking for an excuse.

    She’s looking for a response. She’s testing you to see how you handle
    such a question. If she’s going to establish a long term relationship
    with you and trust you with the care of her beloved pet, she needs to
    get inside your head a bit.

    A drab, even honest, short response won’t do the trick. You need to
    be clever and creative and turn the tables back her way – while still
    being honest.

    Here is the gist of what I say:

    “As you know, I put the words ‘Call Anytime’ on our website because we
    are available to potential new clients and current clients anytime day
    or night.

    “However, being consistently reliable and accessible 24/7 can backfire
    on us at times. My clients are spoiled with total undivided attention
    whenever they need it, that the minute some time goes by and they
    haven’t heard from us, they start to worry.

    “I understand having the reputation of always answering the phone and
    providing unparalleled service to our team can sometimes get me in
    trouble on those rare occasions someone catches me in a meeting.

    “My motto is this: I like to give each of my clients my undivided
    attention and, when you first called, I was in the middle of a first
    meeting with a new client and I didn’t want to be rude to pick up the
    phone at her place. We were going through the instructions, step by
    step, of how to best care for her dog while she’s gone.

    “You, too, can be sure that when you become a new client of ours,
    you’ll be receiving the same undivided attention so we can do the best
    job possible while caring for your pet during your absence. And I’d
    never interrupt a call or meeting of ours by taking another call.”

    Obviously that reply is long-winded but I hope you see the point.

    I didn’t give her an excuse or simply state the reason why I couldn’t
    answer the phone, I turned it around and showed her how it would work
    in her favor.

    There are ways to turn a potential client’s negative comment into your
    favor. Remember, the goal of any phone call is to establish trust,
    display expertise and build rapport.

    So, how would you respond to a potential client saying 3 hours is a
    little long to be hearing from you?

  • Pinterest: What Pet Professionals Need To Know

    Posted March 6, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    Though Pinterest launched over 2 years ago, it has grown faster than any other site in the U.S., reaching nearly 10 million unique hits per month. This is yet another social media app where people share things they like… but it IS much different.  How is it so addictive? Why are user sessions longer than on youtube? It is an extreme in visual enjoyment.

    So does it have use for your pet sitting business?  It might. As usual, a new method of marketing can be useful depending on the time you have to put into it. Keeping that in mind, sitters do spend their days with a dream that so many others have: ‘Playing with dogs all day.’ Perhaps you can let them escape to a fun-filled life while at work… through you.

    Unlike Facebook or Linkedin, your posts are seen by anyone looking for something under a specific pinboard. For example, if you created a ‘board’ called ‘cute dogs’ and began posting pictures of cute dogs, anyone could repost those pictures.

    The focus comes in with creating useful pinboard names with pictures / articles people want to reshare. For example, you could put the name of your business… or ‘Cute Dogs in (enter town here).’ Be creative. With so many people now on Pinterest, it is worth it to see if it would work for you.

    Here are some statistics of pinterest. Review them and see if it fits the current demographics of your clients.

    • About 50% of Pinterest users have children.
    • 28.1% of users make over $100,000 per year.
    • 68% of users are female
    • Average session time for users: Twitter = 3.5 minutes, Facebook = 12.1 minutes, Youtube = 16.4 minutes, Pinterest = 15.8 minutes.
    • 1.36 million users per day
    • Between July and December 2011, retailer traffic grew 289%
    • Pinterest receives more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google+, and Youtube combined. (More people get to a post on Pinterest than from a referral to the others combined.) People are sharing!
    • 27.4% of users are between 24 – 35.

    (Source Modea –  http://www.modea.com/)

    In sum, the typical Pinterest user seems to be young, upper-middle class, and female.  It just so happens that this demographic is pretty similar to those who also have a passion for dogs.

    Do you use Pinterest?

  • Pet Holidays Wallpaper

    Posted February 26, 2012 By in Pet Sitters With | No Comments

    Awww — How nice! Someone made a computer desktop wallpaper for APSE with ‘pet holiday’ reminders on them. That was so nice, we’re putting them all here so you can download them and use them for your computer screens.  Read More …

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