crossroadsHere is a pet sitting lead I recently received:

name: Diana
email: [removed]@gmail.com
phone: 212-241-XXXX
Regarding: Overnight Sitting
location: Noho / Nolita
DepartureDate:
ReturnDate:
message: Please email me your rates for overnight boarding of a 5 lb dog.

Multiple Choice – What do you do in this situation?

Do you:

A) Reply to the email with a list of your overnight boarding rate.

B) Pick up the phone and call Diana directly.

C) Reply via email explaining that your services are custom tailored to each owner and their pet’s needs and a phone call is in order to properly quote a fee.

There is no ‘wrong answer’ as every pet sitter may have a different approach.

My personal approach is (C).

“Why not just respect the person’s wishes and give them the answer via email?”

Valid question. And my answer is because we do in fact customize each job to each client and pet needs.

Here’s what I mean. For private in-home boarding, our rates start at $65 per dog per night.

However, we also give discounts for multiple dogs, discounts for longer bookings, require an additional surcharge for puppies or dogs with special needs, holiday booking, and on and on.

You are Selling a Service, Not a Product

We also know that we are not selling something like a book, where a person can get a few questions answered by email and complete the process online without ever talking to a human.

We are all pet sitters. And we are all professionals.

I plan on developing a strong, long term relationship with each client and will get to know the person over the course of many conversations and an in-person meetings.

Also, remember that you are interviewing each potential client as much as they are interviewing you.

This is sometimes hard for pet sitters to digest (the idea of turning away a less-than-desirable client, but it does and should happen).

My number one goal is to get each potential client on the phone as quickly as possible since we are not just selling our service. We are selling ourselves.

Respect is a Two-Way Street

So when I get a lead like the one above (‘Email me rates’), I can respect their desire to only correspond by email, but I hope you can see that a conversation is in order sooner rather than later.

I will, in fact, send her an email giving her as much info as I can about the way our service works, how we arrive at a fair quote for service and leave my number for her to call.

Depending on my work load, I will also have no problem sending the email and calling Diana directly within the hour to discuss things further.

Remember this: Your potential clients are in need of your service (most often, in desperate need). You are not cold calling. You are following up with a person who is inquiring about your services.

Don’t be afraid to lead the tone and the direction of how the process works.

Establish the bond, the trust and the report with your potential clients as soon as possible and you’ll find that you are closing more leads while worrying less about price shoppers and your competition.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts below and tell me how you handle such requests?


  • Copycatdogcare

    Like you mentioned, there really is no wrong answer. I would probably choose option ( B) & phone her directly. Option (C) works but then I’m waiting for her to call me. I’d much rather follow up her initial email w/a phone call & take that opportunity to explain how we customize care, etc. & really “pitch” how awesome our pawjama visits are in a real conversation. I supppose you could answer her email & then follow up w/a phone call but that’s double the work in my book!

  • Ty Brown

    This is a great post. Our company does option C as well. If you just list your prices you are basically setting yourself up as a commodity and you aren’t in any position to differentiate yourself. The only way to get premium rates is to educate consumers about why you are different and better. You don’t achieve that by sending out a rate sheet.

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