Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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59 December 2018/January 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Take it as a compliment that the veterinary industry is on the radar of many businesspeople who want to compete for those veter- inary dollars. What worked for us in the 1990s and early 2000s isn't going to cut it in today's market. The good news is clinics can do plenty to adapt and find success and relevance in the pharmacy market. Everyone Shops Around I see irony when the practice owners and managers who tend to cry about the prescription marketplace are the same people who buy eyeglasses at discount outlets and groceries at warehouse clubs. These clinic leaders also play veterinary distributors against each other in search of the best deals on products to stock in their clinics. So I have to ask this: Why is it OK for you to shop around but not your clients? Don't get me wrong. I'm on your side, but some of what we are seeing is human nature. What is that cliché? It's not person- al, it's business. Are you ready to get serious about winning back your pharma- ceutical revenue as opposed to throwing in the towel? I am a firm believer in that you, the veterinarian, know what is best for your patients. When you make a product recommendation you have to educate the client, explain, set expectations, convince and, by the way, make sure you have the item in stock. Clients and consumers of all kind value easy. The days of "Come back next week and we will have the product in stock" are over. You have drugstores promising to fill a prescription in 30 minutes and text and e-mail you when it is ready for pickup. In fact, "Don't bother getting out of your car. We have a drive-thru!" Get it? Easy! We live in a world of "Right now" and instant gratification. How do you think UPS and FedEx became so entrenched in society? Overnight shipping! Maybe Veruca Salt, a character in the 1971 hit movie "Willy Wonka and the Choc- olate Factory," knew something about the future. Her famous line was "I want It NOW!" Don't Be Afraid I see veterinarians working tirelessly to evaluate and communicate pa- tient medical plans. Many of these plans involve products designed Merchandising SELLING POINTS By Brian Conrad, CVPM to achieve or maintain peak health — what a client wishes and desires for a beloved pet. The veterinarians have done their research, been educated on the products, and understand the safety information and precautions. They get it. Each of us is an advocate for the well-being of each pet we serve. But when we get to the final step of the recommendation, we become shy or detached about ensuring the product leaves with the pet. We act this way because we fear we might come across as a salesperson rather than as a com- passionate, educated, loving pet care provider. Salespeople are sometimes seen as cold, pushy and even cut-throat. That is not what any of us want to be. We worry that we will be labeled as uncaring or in cahoots with the product manufac- turers that apparently paid for each and every veterinarian to complete school. That is not true, of course, but the fear and anxiety are real. Are you ready to give up? After all, clinic owners and managers frequently complain how the internet and box stores have taken over their prescription business and cut into profits. Please don't expect me to sit on that comfortable bandwagon with you and join in the pity talk about the good ol' days. Business is about innovation and change. And guess what? The prescription and retail business and client wants are continually evolving. For us to sit around and pout will do no good. Rise to the challenge Pharmaceutical sales and other retail products are not a lost cause. You can find revenue by committing to do more, looking for deals and communicating value.

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