Discussing preventive care to pet owners can be tricky. Usually, our clients bring their pets over only when they’re feeling sick or for health emergencies. To most pet owners, setting aside time and money for routine check-ups may seem unnecessary and even extravagant.
Establish its value.
When the topic of preventive care is brought up to clients, vets are likely to receive “I don’t have the money for that” as a response. This is a valid reason to not opt for preventive care. But the underlying implication of this common reply is that clients do not see the worth of routine check-ups. As their trusted vet expert, it is up to you to make them see the longterm value of preventive care – not just for their finances but for their pet’s welfare as well.
Make their pet’s wellness an ongoing discussion. Habitually ask about the pets’ behavior and surroundings before and during visits. Suggest the services that would fit the pet’s lifestyle. Additionally, have preventive care materials available for browsing. Avoid discussing it at the end of the visit. It would give off the impression that preventive care is just an opportunity to upcharge.
Also, don’t just list down the individual tests. Instead, take the roadmap approach. Frame diagnostics as part of a comprehensive wellness program. Talk about the tests that the pet needs immediately and the ones that could be postponed. Establish that their pet’s overall well-being is a partnership effort between the owner and you, the primary healthcare provider.
Effectively educate your client by appropriating your message to their pet’s specific circumstance. It’s not enough to say “Outdoor cats must have all their vaccines.” Consider saying “Because your cat spends a lot of time outdoors, he is at high risk of coming in contact with unknown wildlife. Let’s talk about how we could protect him from these risks.”
Moreover, you could also highlight which diagnostics could be prioritized more. For example, a young outdoor dog without heartworm prevention would probably need a fecal exam more than a CBC. An indoor adult cat with no gastrointestinal complications, on the other hand, would require CBC more. Always emphasize how your preventive care services could aid their pet specifically. This would not only deviate your services from being just another business opportunity but also show that you pay close attention and care to your patients.
Always be open.
Listen to your client’s input, whether it be about their pet or their budget and availability. Respond to their questions as thoroughly as possible. If possible, offer flexible service bundles to fit their needs and capacities. Let them know that this is a collaborative endeavor. Above all, the common goal will always be to provide what is best for their pets.
Lastly, if they decline, do not take it personally. It is difficult to shift anyone’s mindset in one go. Just know that you have said your part and that they’re now more informed about the importance of preventive care. Maybe they’ll consider it somewhere down the line. Most importantly, do not shame pet owners who do not subscribe to routine check-ups. Be understanding of their current limitations and help them provide the best care for their pets within their capabilities.