Today's Veterinary Business

APR 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 Be Selective The first step is realizing that all hospitals make conscious decisions about which products they believe are a good fit for their respective clienteles. This is an important detail to share with your staff — that the product lines found in your hospital were purposely select- ed. The practice owner or senior veterinarian should take the time to highlight a product or product line and explain why and when it is recommended. Consider focusing on it for a month or a quarter. If we are going to have a prod- uct focus, we might as well make it fun for the team at the same time. It is the responsibility of team leaders to implement activities they believe will resonate with the staff. These don't have to cost much or be so complex that weeks or months are needed to implement them. Just choose something that will create a buzz and remind the staff to remain focused on the goals at hand. Where do we start? First, identi- fy products or lines that you wish to highlight during selected times of the year. I find that quarterly periods work better than individual months — it always seemed we got into the groove and then the month ended. I can hear some of you asking, "Shouldn't we be focused on all of our products all of the time?" In an ideal world, yes. But let's be practical. You will find greater focus and buy-in from the staff if you keep things simple. The thought of trying to focus all at once on every product you carry is a bit daunting. Set Goals Once we have created a calendar, let's set realistic and objective goals. Look at the previous year's sales and set yourself up for growth. Perhaps you decide to fo- cus on parasite control or flea and tick medication during the second quarter of 2018. Maybe you focus on dental health in the first quar- ter of 2019. The idea is to create a scoreboard and metrics that your team can fol- low daily and visualize how individual efforts help the team inch closer to the goal. On the metrics chart, list three to five benefits of the high- lighted products. We need to keep the focus on the product ben- efits, not the income. Revenue is and should be the secondary focus. Next, create a chart on which team Merchandising SELLING POINTS By Brian Conrad, CVPM members can write the name of a successfully treated patient or a related short story. This is a critical step in achieving traction and buy- in from the staff. To see and hear success stories will lead to repeat behavior by your devout team. Now that you have identified a focus and goals, and the entire staff is comfortable with educating clients about the product or line, it's time to reinforce the ex- pected behavior. I have done several entertain- ing incentive programs over the years. One that comes to mind was a Valentine's promotion during February. At the start of the month, we filled a bowl with over 250 The fun can extend to pet owners, too. When they understand the benefits and value of a product and agree to purchase it, we can reward them. Mix business and pleasure To some team members, selling products and managing inventory is nothing more than a severe pain in the you-know-where. I choose to see the task as an incredible opportunity and privilege. There is nothing better than being able to recommend a solution to a client who has a problem with his pet. To hear the client rave later about the success he found is extremely rewarding. With the improved weather coming, now is the time to do some spring cleaning on our attitudes toward product sales and find innovative ways to showcase our recommendations. Introducing a bit of imagination and a staff focus to product sales can motivate the team.

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