Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Southern Ontario
The Business end...By the DVM360
How to Play offence in the pharmacutical marketplace
Don’t blame Betty White. Don’t throw your hands up in despair. Stop playing defense and start playing the pharmaceutical sales game by your rules. Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP, says veterinarians must play offense to realize their revenue potential and gain home field advantage over retail pharmacies.
The rules of the game have changed quickly and dramatically. Medications are no longer exclusive to veterinarians, big-box stores discount prices, and the weak economy makes client compliance for things like heartworm prevention a hard pill to swallow. Despite all that, Wood says clinics can do a better job of selling products--to stay healthy financially, they must. “Generally speaking, products sales are at least 25 to 30 percent of your business and businesses aren’t in a position to give up and lose a quarter or a third of their business,” Wood says. “The only alternative is they have to defend their business--even grow it.”
That’s why every team member must be involved--the veterinarian can’t do it alone. “You have to look at each of those touch points and ask, ‘What do we want to happen here.’” Woods thinks conversations on products usually happen randomly, not intentionally. A recommendation and compliance cannot be achieved with one suggestion. “It has to be reinforced probably multiple times, by multiple people, probably by multiple media,” he says.
Marketing the message
That means not only talking with clients, but actively advertising and promoting too. Wood says to make banners and signs; send emails and reminders; display products and deals--address medications when clients come through the door. And regardless of price, always keep the message about standard of care. It’s not just about selling a product; it’s about healthy pets. Wood even suggests providing videos of heartworm removal. “Show them what non-compliance looks like.”
The value of veterinary expertise
He says veterinarians can keep it about wellness by avoiding the feeling of retail--like having the receptionist offer the medication as a client is leaving the office. “If the doc puts the product on the table in the exam room--that’s medical.” And that translates to the client.
He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Unknown