By Joe Zuccarello
By now, unless you have been living under a rock, you have seen a definite uptick – an explosion, actually – in dental products, services, and certifications in the pet industry. Have you followed my advice from numerous writings and the advice from others in this field and started making boatloads more revenue by offering dental services and selling dental products in your facilities? If not, what are you waiting for?! Even the slowest adopters of new innovation are jumping into dental solutions with both feet.
Think about some of the ideas or inventions that have come along in the past decade or so that some thought were fads or just the “flavor of the day.” How about the Internet? Texting? Facebook or Twitter? Online shopping?
I remember when people thought a smaller mobile phone was ideal. Technology companies are now capitalizing on larger screens and even some mobile devices that do not fit in your pocket like that really cool flip phone I once had.
It is time. It is time to make more money than you ever have. It is time to provide for your customers a service or product that doesn’t demand a ton of extra time that you don’t have to begin with. It is time to assume the role as a partner with the pet parent and as a caregiver for their precious pet. It is time to be the expert in a new subject. It is time to explode your business potential, and one sure fire way to do this is to always be essential.
Let’s focus on this word for a minute. Essential. The dictionary defines this word as “of the utmost importance” or “ importance to the highest degree.” These are pretty powerful definitions. Who are the essential characters in the pets’ lives now? Their owners. Their veterinarians. Their pet sitters. Of course these are essential, utmost important people in the pets’ lives. But why not their groomer? Why? Because for many of you, you have only assumed the role of “beautician” and not “caregiver.”
While no one can say you don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to hair styles, shed control, and even solutions for dry flaky skin, many pet parents will not think of you when it comes to their pet’s dental hygiene, bad breath, and even worse – tooth loss, pain, poor appetite, and weight loss. All of these things can be prevented if someone who is seen as an “essential” member of the pet’s life suggests preventive measures and daily solutions that are easy and, better yet, affordable for the pet parents to do at home in conjunction with what can be done in your facility.
By assuming a “partnership” role in these and other health issues, you are making a commitment and giving the pet parents a reason to think of you first. When they think of you first, you are essential.
Back to the power, the dynamite, that comes from offering dental services and products. Only you can determine what products and services are best for your business. Some of you may offer services such as toothbrushing, some may offer breath sprays, and some may even offer scaling. You may carry some retail items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, mints, water additives, etc. Of course I am biased to offering products that you provide as a service and sell in your retail selections. I am a fan of spending as little time as possible and making the most amount of immediate impact on the overall outcome and, as a result, more profit and repeat business.
Here is a simple way to look at the Dental Dynamite equation: Most will say the average dog’s lifespan is just under 13 years. Many say without proper oral hygiene efforts, a pet’s life can be shortened by as much as 1.5 years! What does this mean for your business? Yep, it’s math time! Stay with me.
During this lost 1.5 years, the average pet would have visited your facility 13 times (one visit every six weeks). For this example, let’s say the average cost of a grooming visit is $40. This one pet has just cost your business $520 by passing prematurely.
If you are a small, one-person shop, and you can groom eight dogs per day. If you work an average of 250 days per year, you probably have approximately 300 or so regular customers. If every one of those pets passes prematurely due to poor oral hygiene or other preventable circumstance, this business loss equals $156,000!
Enough doom and gloom. Let’s look at the positive. Say your 300-customer base of business purchases a dental service every time they are in your facility. Typically, dental services average about $10. This means a business increase of $18,000 annually, and if these pets live longer because of it, that means more visits and more revenue! Add this to the customers who will also purchase products to provide daily care at home, and you have pure Dental Dynamite!
Whew! Is anyone else as excited as I am about this? I once heard someone say, “You cannot eat an elephant all in one bite.” While that is pretty gross now that I think about it, the saying makes sense. You may not get everyone to buy this extra service or to purchase a product from your retail selection, but you have to ask everyone to make any impact at all. One thing you can control is what you say to the customers. Ask everyone, and you will be shocked at the results.
Start small, and grow big. Pick a dental service, preferably one that truly provides immediate improvement with as little effort on your part as possible. Make easy-to-use products available for your customers to purchase. Most of all, remember to stay essential. ✂
Joe Zuccarello is National Accounts Sales Manager for Tropiclean, Naturally Green Products, as well as a pet industry consultant. To find out more about Tropiclean Shampoos and Tropiclean Fresh Breath Made Easy! dental products, please visit www.tropiclean.net or call 800-542-7387. Follow Joe on his blog by visiting: www.joezuccarello.com