4 Post-Pandemic Revenue Building Musts
By Laura Laaman
The COVID virus first started making headlines around this time last year—and we’re not yet out of the thick of it. However, for savvy and strategic business owners, this year has also been filled with learning experiences and, believe it or not, unique opportunities.
In fact, the most adaptable and proactive pet care businesses are not only surviving as we enter 2021—they’re thriving! Here are a few of their important approaches that you may want to adopt.
1 Sell What Pet Parents Need and Want
Many pet care facilities are experiencing less than 50% of their normal occupancy and are unlikely to recover or survive without significant and immediate adaptations. But smart business owners look for opportunities. Rather than putting their head in the sand and waiting the pandemic out, they shift to services that are in demand, and many have found a strong dog daycare program to be their lifeline.
On a positive note, animal shelters, rescues and breeders have reported an incredible increase in dog adoptions nationwide—and sooner or later these new pet parents will need services like yours. Appropriately targeting, reaching and securing new daycare clients is a critical move for revenue now and in the future.
The initial reward and revenue boost when you convert a new daycare client is even faster than boarding. Think about it; a prospective client calls on Monday and, hopefully, the pet’s first visit is Tuesday or Wednesday. If you’re successful at converting that pet parent into a new daycare client, you have revenue in the bank that same day or week. This is an even faster return than boarding or training. And, pet parents who visit you for daycare are extremely likely to use you for other services like boarding when they feel comfortable traveling again.
2 Build and Maintain a Quality Phone Team
Yes, even millennials will choose to make first contact with you on the phone. Why do they bother to pick up a phone instead of simply filling out a factual form? They want to speak to an actual person when seeking a new home-away-from-home for their furry baby. Your phones are the threshold between your customers and your business, so it’s critical you choose and train the right people to not just answer the call, but ensure these valuable prospects are converting calls into revenue.
With the right combination of telephone sales skills, compelling and consistent messaging and training, employees answering the phones will establish a connection, promote the superiorities of your business and book (or attempt to book) a reservation on the initial call. They’ll also make outbound calls to welcome customers back in for your wonderful services. When every inquiry is more valuable than gold, you can’t afford not to have a highly-skilled team handle these critical revenue opportunities.
3 In-House Training
This pandemic has motivated loving pet parents to adopt needy canines at wonderful rates. And if they’re like most pet parents, they’ll soon realize the need for training to help settle their new pet into the family. Training can be a highly profitable and effective service that requires limited capital investment if structured and marketed well. However, there are few common mistakes with training that should be avoided:
• Choose your segment of training needs carefully. Most pet parents need someone to teach their pet basic manners, social skills and obedience commands. At least initially, avoid the specialty areas such as agility training, therapy training and “expert-level” skills such as scent work and protection.
• Avoid outside trainers. Although highly skilled, they’re often very expensive and diminish the profitability of a training program. They also tend to operate independently rather than as a part of your business. A better alternative is to deliver effective “pet-level” training provided by members of your existing staff if they’re given the appropriate training.
• Don’t offer group obedience classes. These classes have proven incredibly unprofitable for pet care businesses. Chain pet stores offer these as a loss leader, luring pet parents into the store. Once they are physically in the store, the hope is they will buy lots of profitable products. Also, retailers are only capable of offering this type of training, while a pet care facility can offer much more effective options including training camps, which can be very profitable. Again, training is a very much needed and timely boost of revenue.
4 Track Closely
This industry is notorious for not closely tracking performance. This is likely due to the mass quantity of pets and clients that come through the business on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. However, the pandemic and loss of boarding business has made it more important than ever to measure and value every inquiry in every sector of your business.
As depressing and daunting as it may currently seem, it’s important to compare your current performance to how you performed pre-COVID. The most significant numbers to begin tracking are new and returning daycare, boarding, grooming and training (if offered) inquiries you receive per day, week and month.
If you’re not receiving an adequate number of leads, it’s time to improve your marketing. In order to determine the performance of those leads, you should be tracking the number of actual bookings you receive from the inquiries above. The percentage is your conversion ratio. If it’s below par, you may not have the right people on the phone, or their training and coaching may be lacking.
For those that didn’t convert—why not? What happened? Is there some internal process that is blocking your success? Does your team know how many new customers you need to survive this pandemic?
These valuable numbers will show you what areas need improvement and will benefit from your attention.
Being in business is not for the faint of heart. COVID-19 has dealt this industry a massive, vision-blurring gut punch. By shifting your focus to areas that are within your control, then improving them, you are likely to not only survive, but thrive.
Laura Laaman is president of Outstanding Pet Care. Outstanding Pet Care guarantees to substantially increase the revenues of its clients with its proven services. If you’re interested in significantly growing your revenue, schedule an individual consultation with Laura Laaman or one of her team members. Call Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 or go to www.OutstandingPetCare.com.