At this CVC session, the attendees became the speakers

May 20, 2017
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

CVC rock star Bash Halow ran the microphone around the room to get attendees' brilliant ideas this week in Virginia Beach. Here's a few of the best. Wanna try 'em and see if they shine?

Don't worry, even the smallest of voices were heard during this session. Photo: Getty Images.CVC educator Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM, told veterinarians, practice managers and veterinary team members, straight up, why his session in Virginia Beach was going to lean heavily on their own experiences as veterinary professionals. "I wasted a lot of time [in practice management sessions over the years] not being able to connect what the speakers were talking about with my day-to-day practice," he confided to attendees.

So Halow spent most of the session, titled "Client compliance-builder workshop: Inspiring ideas to drive medical services," leading a pleasant crowd-experience-oriented conversation about a fictional veterinary receptionist named Caroline, who didn't like making those dreaded third follow-up calls to pet owners who hadn't come in for wellness panels the first two times she'd called (sound familiar?).  

After reading about Caroline's situation, audience members piped up with tips they use in their practices to better manage the difficulty that comes with dispirited employees, the frequent tendency to drift in messaging to clients and the strong displeasure with "selling."

Here's a taste:

Make it about "you"

Need to talk up the importance of a wellness panel, a procedure or a preventive? Relate it to the pet owner, said a few attendees. People need blood work at their annual physical and, c'mon, who wants to spend the hundreds or thousands of dollars with an exterminator getting rid of a wicked flea infestation in their home after they skipped the flea preventive? "Uh, nobody" were attendees' answers.

Making it about "you" (in other words, the pet owner) has even worked in explaining why a dog is especially low-energy after a spay: "You don't go home and run after your hysterectomy, do you?" laughed one CVC attendee.

"Perceived value" is about staff

Before most clients will understand the value of wellness, blood work and preventive care, your team will. Your team has to, said one attendee. "If your team doesn't believe in what they're doing, it will never work. We've had to train and educate and develop a team over time that's like-minded in that."

Give examples of home runs

You're probably well aware that you can say something's important until you're blue in the face, but a picture's worth a thousand words-and a good story is worth only a little less than that. One attendee keeps "wins" in mind when she's talking to clients. If you caught a serious condition because of a wellness panel, spread that knowledge around. It happened to you, it happened in your practice, it happened to your patient-that's compelling and true.

You gotta give to get

The room of attendees was split on the power of incentives to inspire employees. Some offered team-based rewards (dinner for everyone if we hit a goal), others offered competitive prizes ("most sold" gets a reward), and some just set a benchmark anyone can reach (call five clients and get them in for wellness panels, get a gift certificate).

Halow wrapped the captivating session up with his own high-energy splash of wisdom, but you'll have to come to CVC Kansas City or San Diego this year. I'm already too exhausted (albeit inspired!) from the high-energy learning, attendee-to-attendee style.