Parasite preventives: Offer less to get more

March 8, 2017

Though it may sound counterintuitive, offering fewer choices for flea and tick control can lead to more sales and more satisfied veterinary clients.

CVC educator and veterinary practice consultant Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM, recounts an interaction he witnessed while observing a veterinary hospital one day:

Confident communication

This should go without saying, but we're going to say it anyway, just in case: Don't send your clients to a big box store to buy flea and tick preventives! Making the case for why pet owners should buy from you is simple. According to Halow, you should say, “Because I am your pet's healthcare provider, I want to be able to oversee all aspects of its care, including preventives. We offer preventives at the clinic both for your convenience and to ensure quality.”

"A woman walked in at around 5:30 pm-probably straight from work-and asked the client care representative what flea and tick product she should get for her pet. Now, there were probably seven different products offered by this hospital that the person could be sold, and the client care representative launched into a litany of questions to try to determine the best fit for the pet. At the end of the interrogation, the representative said, 'Well you know, based on what you've told me, all of these products are really good. So go ahead and pick one.'”

This is a bad approach, Halow says. Most consumers freeze up when they have too many choices. “Your job is not to be Walmart-you're not an aisle of flea and tick products,” he explains.

Instead, Halow says your message should be: “I don't need to offer you a wall of products. I know all about that wall. This is the best product for your pet. Buy this one.” If they refuse your recommendation, you can send them to your online store to view more options.

Don't get yourself in a jam

The Harvard Business Review article cites a 2000 study from psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper in which shoppers at an upscale grocery store were presented with display table of 24 jams one day and only six jams on another. Shoppers who sampled the jams were given a $1 off coupon to use on any jam. Though the larger display attracted more interest, those who visited it were only one-tenth as likely to purchase a jam as those who visited the smaller one.

Halow's approach has scientific backing. According to the 2006 Harvard Business Review article, ‘More isn't always better,' research has shown that when consumers have too many choices they are less likely to buy anything. And even if they do end up buying something, they are less likely to be satisfied with their choice. 

So instead of picking your clients' brains with a bunch of questions, pick a flea and tick preventive and be ready to explain why you, the expert, know it's the best.

Listen to the clip below to hear Halow's advice in his own words.