It's a marathon, not a sprint: Don't give up on selling parasite prevention

February 27, 2017

Despite the ubiquity of big-box-store loss-leader promotions, there is a future for flea, tick and heartworm preventive sales in your veterinary practice.

Feel like you're sprinting to the finish line, trying to get clients to take an active role in parasite prevention for their pets? Or have you turned the corner to thinking that selling parasite prevention in your practice is giant waste of time? Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM, is here to tell you why you're wrong.

His top two reasons why:

1. Your products, with the assistance of manufacturer incentives, are nearly always competitively priced.

2. You can be the one-stop shop. At the end of a long workday, your client doesn't want to have to drive from your practice to the mile-long aisles of Costco to purchase their Frontline just to save a dollar or two. (Besides, won't they end up spending an additional $40 on stuff that they never expected to purchase once they walk through the doors? Do. Not. Need. The. Giant. Tub. Of. Hummus.) People are tired and eager to finish their daylong to-do list. Don't add to the stops that they have to make on the way home. Sell them the medication that their pets need while they're in the building.

How do I convince my manager/boss/owner this is a good idea?

Think about the language you use

Learn to ask about clients' need for flea, tick and heartworm (FTHW) products in a productive way. "Do you need any more flea product?" is almost always answered "no." Instead ask, "How many doses of ______ do you have left at home?" as a way of starting a discussion on the need for year-round protection.


Believe in what you sell

Is year-round flea medication really necessary? We say it all the time, but do we believe it? How compliant is your own team (or you for that matter) with year-round protection? If you're not compliant, ask why. Uncovering the team's reluctance to follow the same direction that they've been giving to clients for years may clue you into more effective messaging for everyone involved.


Switch to orals

Many studies have shown that orals are not only more efficacious in stopping all parts of the flea life cycle, but because they are dosed out every three months, their use boosts client compliance.


Explore an online store of your own.

Online stores have come a long way since the old Vetcentric days. Now they're easy to use and do an excellent job at following up with clients and driving compliance. In studies conducted by Vets First Choice, clients were three times more likely to be compliant with recommendations to dose their pets year-round with a flea preventative if they purchased their flea product through the online store.


The value of prevention

I've been working in the veterinary business for nearly 20 years. Each year, at every conference I attend, there is some lecture about the value of year-round FTHW compliance and every year, I'm shocked that the lecture room is packed. But sit in and listen and you'll find out why. Real data about real disease, once disclosed, is jaw-dropping. Dr. Mike Dryden, a frequent CVC speaker, offers sessions packed with information on the value of prevention based on his firsthand experience conducting research on the topic.

The fact is, fleas, tick and heartworm parasites are everywhere. And the primary and secondary impact of an infection by any of them is cause for much of the disease we treat in our practices annually.

Remind your clients: We eat with our pets, ride in the car with our pets, sleep with our pets and hug and kiss our pets. Keeping them parasite-free is just smart. It's better for our pets' health, better for our health and better for our wallet. As a veterinary team, rediscover the value of the products that you sell and understand the value of buying them through your business as opposed to another source. 

Itching for more? 

We've got you covered. Join us for an all-new parasitology track at CVC throughout 2017-starting in Virginia Beach, May 18-21. Go here for more information and learn how to register.

And don't miss our Essentials pacakge on fleas, with the latest updates on flea invasion, discussions on prevention, ways to eradicate infestations, how to gain client compliance with preventives and more.