Remember that phrase, “Keep your friends close & your enemies closer?”
It’s true. Even in the pet industry - except, let's remove the negativity and just stick with the term competitor or partner instead of 'enemy.' Because, we're big proponents of community over competition here!
One of the biggest and most common strategies for marketing pet businesses is partnering with other pet businesses that offer different services in order to get referrals from one another. For example, a doggie daycare facility could go to a groomer to partner up. One would think a groomer would be the ideal referral over another daycare facility, right?
What if I told you your BETTER & more VALUABLE referral could actually come from your biggest and most direct competitor?
I'm here to tell you that 95% of the time, it's actually more effective and more reliable of a referral. Even if you only get 1 referral from your competitor and 10 referrals from a different sort of pet business.
Okay, so how does this work??
Here are two doggie daycare facilities located down the street from one another:
1. Doggie Daycare Place #1: fun, active cage-free boarding facility for those doggies who just need to get out their energy all day!
2. Doggie Daycare Place #2: relaxing boarding facility that allows for many breaks and accepts older and smaller pets.
As a business owner, you know more than anyone else that some pets just do not fit into your business model or environment. But, you probably also know the best environment needed for each dog that walks through your doors.
If you get a rambunctious dog in your facility that just won’t work for your business model and YOU KNOW the place around the corner has a space for dogs to run around all day, why not refer them to the other facility?
The big question: How in the world does this help your business??
1. It establishes you as a business that cares & puts the animals first, even if that means losing a potential paying daycare guest.
2. That customer, even if they don’t use your services, WILL respect and appreciate your business, which means he/she will be more willing to refer others to your business and let’s face it, if you own a daycare-going dog, you are probably friends with other people who have dogs, too. Which means, they know people - people with dogs that may fit your business better.
3. This is the biggest point - If a daycare facility is referring to another daycare facility, that customer is MORE likely to follow your advice/recommendation to the other business. And that would work for you in return. So, if the other business refers to YOU, you are more likely to get that other customer as well.
4. P.S. Partnerships with your direct competitor can also be useful when one business is booked up. For example, if one daycare books out for Christmas, they can refer to the other. This works both ways for all holidays and times of year.
If you want to know how to actually set up partnerships with your competitors or other pet-related businesses different from yours, read my post all about setting up partnerships for your pet business.
The referrals that come from a genuine place WILL be more likely to result in more loyal and higher-paying clients walking through your doors.
Have you tried this in your pet business? What strategies have and haven't worked? Let me know in the FREE Facebook Group, Unleashed Petpreneurs.