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Jockeying for position in your area
It takes effort to position your practice as a top-notch facility.
Why should clients come to you? Veterinarians, practice managers, and team members need to know the answer to that question. In the business world, it's called positioning. It's how you differ from the competition and why you should be the provider of choice. It means closely looking at quality of care, location, hours of operation, high-tech capability, practice scope, and fees. To determine your positioning, start by answering these four questions for your own practice:
What do people think? Ask colleagues, team members, and clients for adjectives to describe your practice. Then ask yourself how well these words match the image you want to project.
Who's your competition? Do other local practices offer the same or similar services? How do their equipment, hospital hours, scope of services, fees, and so on compare with yours? How can you differentiate your practice to make it more attractive to potential clients? Give this question considerable thought before you spend a lot of money on additional training, buying new equipment, or redecorating your hospital to alter your position in the market.
What clients do you target? Who are you most comfortable with in the exam room and who appreciates you the most? Whose needs best match the core competencies of your clinic-the particular things you do best?
Is your team on board? If your staff doesn't embrace your idea of what makes the clinic special or your team members aren't experts at customer service, positioning won't work. Clients' perceptions are largely shaped by how they're treated by your team. Hire the right people to communicate the message you want delivered to your target audience. Then train them to deliver it.
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is a speaker and writer based in Roslyn, N.Y.