Don’t sell product sales short

January 10, 2020
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.

Vetted, Vetted June 2020, Volume 115, Issue 6

Recommending and selling products is not a veterinary hospital’s primary function. But it’s still an important part of patient care and client education, says Fetch dvm360 speaker Brian Conrad, CVPM

Do you know what the great thing about box stores and online shopping websites like Chewy.com is? Lots of choices and options. You know what they’re short on?

Fetch dvm360 San Diego speaker Brian Conrad, CVPM, wants you to know: They’re short on what you’ve got in spades—education and specific, smart, medically sound recommendations.

Don’t give up on recommending and selling products out of your veterinary hospital when it makes sense, said Conrad: “I don’t want you to be salespeople. I don’t think you’re salespeople. You’re advocates—doctors and technicians.”

Conrad recommended four overall tips to maintain product sales in a veterinary hospital, but he was careful not to be perceived as a product hawk: “Look, if I can get a product dollar or a service dollar,” he told attendees, "I’ll take a service dollar every time.” But don’t give up on products, because your clients need your advice and a lot of times they want a convenient sale right now. So make sure you’ve got:

• A consistent message from doctors. Make sure doctors meet monthly to discuss any changing product options. Find one line of products everyone can agree on, along with default pet food diets.

• An educated and trained staff. Organize 30-minute, practice, picture-filled lunch-and-learns on practice product lines and recommendations. Ask team members for a list of product topics they’d like to cover.

• Available products. “There’s nothing worse than doing [asking a sales rep for] a lunch-and-learn and not being sure you’re going to stock it,” Conrad said. Educate team members on items you’re going to carry; don’t give free samples and get your staff pumped about something you’re not going to recommend and sell.

This isn’t too much, Conrad emphasized. And it’s for the good of patients’ owners, who without your help, are going to go from website to website, store to store, to try to solve their most itchy, agitating problems.

“Every hospital has the ability to complete each of these goals.” he said. Your clients still need you to sell.

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