Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 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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60 Today's Veterinary Business Merchandising The troubling part is that near- ly every type of technology and molecular makeup introduced over the past 25 years is still for sale. Each package, each box, each car- ton is beautifully scripted with con- nect-with-consumer words such as "safe," "fast," "simple," "advanced," "veterinarian recommended." (Code for at least one veterinarian agreed to endorse it.) The list goes on. The average consumer has no objective knowledge about how to select a flea and tick product for their pet. Too Much Information Take a moment and do a Google search for flea and tick medications for pets. You will be overwhelmed by the amount of information your client will see during a simple search. How could a client possibly make an educated decision? As if that wasn't enough, the price variances are atrocious. Your client can purchase a three-pack of flea and tick meds for under $6. And for $6, they even get a pretty little box showing the consum- er words above. Why would I pay my over- priced veterinarian any more than $6? So, there you have it. We work hard to gain compliance within our veterinary hospitals, ensure that our patients are protected with the most up-to-date flea and tick products, and keep product sales in-house. But the thought of Google or an undertrained big-box or grocery store clerk advising the client about such an im- portant purchase is plain scary. Once you and your staff realize all this, we can refo- cus our efforts, devise a concrete plan, and help our clients make objective and smart decisions about what is best for their pet. Sounds easy? Not in the least. From the method of administration to the efficacy to the near immediate kill rate, advancements in flea and tick medications over the past 25 years will impress anyone in the medical and scientific worlds. But are pet own- ers just as impressed? Do they realize what the veterinary world gets so excited about? I would venture to say no. Merchandising SELLING POINTS Scratch that strategy Your approach to promoting flea and tick medications needs to evolve, just like the preventives have. By Brian Conrad, CVPM Timing Is Crucial Let's begin by accurately identify- ing the flea and tick season. There is going to be a gray area, but you, the practice owner or medical director, need to use all the infor- mation at your disposal to best identify the months during which you recommend full coverage of pets in your geographical location. For some, you might realize that 12 months' coverage is optimal and necessary. For others, eight or nine months is critical. Our message needs to be honest and transparent. Discussing fleas and ticks might be difficult when snowplows are outside your exam room walls. While you may find that a month or two does not warrant flea and tick coverage, the client education, recommen- dations and product availability should and must happen year- Stocking three or four products that offer similar benefits is not an effective strategy for gaining client compliance.

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