How do you 'sell' preventive medicine?


Remember the marketing principle that 20 percent of clients make up 80 percent of your revenue

It is a philosophical question that practitioners need to ask themselves, especially when discussing preventive medicine programs with clients.

Dr. Paul Hobson, a practitioner from London, England presented a talkon selling preventive medicine programs at the Western Veterinary Conference(WVC) in Feburary. He says most pet owners don't have enough knowledge todiagnose a pet illness or know how to prevent disease, and that is exactlywhy they are seeking veterinary services.

Hobson adds that selling and marketing have very bad connotations inveterinary medicine, but they shouldn't. Discussing preventive medicinedoes not have to be a hard sell to clients.

"If your practice sends out reminders or sells flea control products;that's marketing," he explains.

"I feel very strongly that you are doing a client a disservice ifyou don't make them aware of the services the hospital offers," Hobsonsays.

The person on the hospital team who sells preventive medicine shouldbe the technician.

"Veterinarians in general do not have the time. They are typicallynot interested in it, while nurses are very good at it and very thorough."

Hobson recommends that practice owners give technicians sufficient timeto address preventive medicine topics like vaccinations, flea control, diet,exercise and behavior with clients. He recommends devoting even more timewith clients during puppy or kitten visits.

"That is exactly when the converts take place."

Technicians should also be trained in communication techniques. Hobsonadds that when a technician believes in a procedure like home dental careand can tangibly see the benefits to the patient, he or she will talk openlyabout the importance to clients.

Remember the Pareto Principle, especially with preventive programs, Hobsonsays. This well-known marketing principle states that 20 percent of a business'clientele pay 80 percent of its revenue. Hobson says practitioners needto identify their "Pareto" clients, and they are a natural todiscuss preventive medicine topics.

Personal touch

He adds that telephone calls rather than sending out reminders is anexcellent touch. A receptionist could call during the day to remind clientson prescription refills or physical examinations, Hobson adds.

So what does "sales" have to do with it? Not much, Hobson adds,because when you believe in a program or concept and you can see the long-termhealth benefits, it's easy to recommend

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