WHERE DOES PRICE COME FROM?
First and foremost, understand that your potential clients are not looking for the cheapest service. They may say they are, but they most certainly are not.
The cheapest cost would imply the cheapest service and no self-respecting pet owner that would make a perfect client wants to put their pet in harm’s way.
Entrepreneur Magazine once put it this way:
If price is one of your advantages, that’s great. But remember, you need something that keeps the competition away and secures your relationships for the future. I remember seeing this statement above a local printer’s office:
(Please pick two)
Really think about this.
In your mind right now, combine any two and notice that the third will suffer.
If you choose to lower your price, something else may suffer. No matter how tough the market gets, you’ll have to stick to your principles to sell the value that differentiates you from your competition.
So, where does pricing come from?
ANSWER: Inside you!
It comes from your self worth – If you don’t think that you or your time is worth anything then how are you going to tell other people that you are worth it? How much do you value your time now? What about your time later, when you are older? What do you like to do with your time? What is important to you? Your family? Your friends? Traveling? Your grandkids? Having financial freedom?
You need to believe you are worth it before anyone else will. If you were working at another place of employment wouldn’t you have already asked for a raise? i would have. In fact i would EXPECT one or at least the chance for one every year. So what part of being a business owner makes it ok to throw this out the window?
Exercise: Think about the very last profession or career you had before you became a pet sitting professional?
Now think about how often you asked for, received, or expected a raise. Across the working land, it is reasonable to ask for a raise about once per year.
According to the website Salary.com, “If it has been more than a year since your last pay increase, it is probably time to ask for a raise.”
Ability to stand up for yourself and others. Your prices are going to be the number one thing in your business that are going to take a constant beating every day. The minute you realize that people are ALWAYS going to tell you that “it is too expensive” is the day it will start to get easier. You need to stand up for yourself and stand up to them and find a way AROUND it. It is called objections and rebuttals. If you need help with these, a quick 60 minute session with Bella at Jump Consulting will give you all the rebuttals you will ever need!
The rebuttals are like the infantry who gets the first strike in the war. You need to make sure you build this up strong so it can withstand the attacks. You need to be strong so you can withstand the attacks!
Nobody can afford your prices – no matter how low they are. Understand this and you will be in much better shape. It’s not about which pet sitting provider has the lowest price. It’s who can provide the best VALUE for the service offered.
Ability to create value. Do you really understand the difference between “because we care the most” and “don’t just take it from us…. ask the vet down the street who they recommend.” What is something that your customer will value about your services and how are you going to highlight that in your phone sales, website, brochures, social media instead of focusing on the tasks that you perform? The more value you can show = the more you can charge!
Here is a great way to look at the difference in value. Suppose you see each of these service examples on two different pet sitting websites:
-We provide a loving and caring 30 minute visit.
-During our 30-minute visit, we will give your pooch the love, attention and exercise she desperately needs while providing YOU with a handwritten note detailing that day’s adventure, a brief text message letting you know all is good so you can relax and go about your day, a few candid pictures so you can experience first hand the fun your pooch enjoyed, and a short video of how we spent our time! You’ll truly love it almost as much as your fur baby!
Which pet sitter would you sign up with? Add Value!
A SIDE NOTE WITH DAN KENNEDY (BUT FIRST, WHO IS DAN KENNEDY?)
Dan Kennedy, entrepreneur and author of dozens of best selling marketing books, writes that the affluent buy expensive things because of the experience and exclusivity of the services.
Let’s discuss this for a moment because it’s a really important concept to understand for your own pet sitting business.
First, let’s consider the word ‘affluent.’
Yes, by definition, it usually means someone who is rich, wealthy and well off with material possessions, but let us expand our definition a bit.
For the sake of this exercise, start considering the word affluent as nothing more than a frame of mind. Similarly, the words rich and poor can also be considered frames of mind.
The goal now is to start choosing to cater to the affluent in your community.
Before you start responding with “I don’t live in a wealthy area” or “No one in my service area is above the lower-middle class income level,” remember by affluent, we are speaking of a frame of mind.
Want an example?
Have you ever had a client demand that their dog should be fed exactly 23 pieces of kibble? Or that Fido can only drink bottled spring water? Or that Snuggles needs to be fed at exactly 4:30 and not a minute later or she will get cranky?
That, my friends, is a wonderful affluent frame of mind!
Also, never forget that we are service provider and a specialized, luxury service provider at that.
Don’t believe me?
How many pet owners have run to your home for the meet-n-greet? How many times have you dropped everything to care for a client in need? How alert, cautious and responsible must you remain during even the shortest of visits? Are you not also responsible for the pet owners home, property, valuables and everything in between?
Have you been asked (or offer) to provide written notes, daily texts or emails, or photos and videos of your efforts?
Is this all starting to sound just a bit more specialized and luxurious that you may have thought before?
And allow me to repeat that this typical service we provide as pet sitters is not only for the clients who are rich!
Even those clients we serve who may not have a ton of money still want the very same experience from you.
Now, once again, as Dan Kennedy writes, the affluent buy expensive things because of the experience and exclusivity of the services.
How can you create this in your pet sitting business? Begin by accepting the fact that not everyone can afford a pet sitter.
The people who buy the more expensive items are more brand and experience focused. They are more loyal and least affected by the shift in the economy.
And naturally, those who are middle or lower class tend to always be shopping for the next best deal. Cutting coupons. Trying to save money.
Both these groups are motivated by different things. How are you going to attract (through value) those that you want to acquire as clients?
Seems that gaining affluent clients (in frame of mind) — the clients who understand and appreciate the specialized service we provide — will lead to less work for more money and will remain more loyal. Rather than trying to serve more clients at a lesser rate.
Seems like a no-brainer to me!
NEXT, LET’S VISIT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN.
Join the Conversation (with a comment below)
Do you view your pet sitting business as a specialized service? Do any of your current clients ask for specific requests that would suggest ‘affluent’ or specialized service? Can you highlight or promote a certain level of affluent service on your website? For example: “We cater to the ‘affluent’ pet. Want Fluffy to be fed only at an exactly specified time? Does she require bottled water? Is her bowl only to receive 23 pieces of kibble? We get it! Call us today.”