The first thing you think of to increase your revenues might be to increase the number of clients and patients coming to your practice, right?
But that poses a challenge…
Where do you put your advertising budget?
Is it better to invest in PPC, Organic SEO, FB Ads, Directories or even Word Of Mouth?
And let’s say your advertising is getting you leads.
The next challenge is converting them – getting them in the door to see your Veterinarians
Are they serious or price-shopping? Do they have the money or are they tyre kickers – A, possibly C or even D grade clients?
These challenges take up a ton of your and your staff’s time and mental capacity.
And while it’s necessary, there are easier ways to go about it.
Here are 3 “easier” ways to increase revenues:
There is a saying that goes, ‘The Second Sale is Always Easier’ and it’s darn true for our industry as well.
Once you have spent the time, money and effort attracting a client to you, it takes minimal effort to keep them. Here’s how:
- Increase the # of times your patients return to you
While there are many loyalty programs available, they can be complicated for the clients and the staff to figure out so here’s another idea.
Have your own program that is super easy for everyone to understand. Give each client a simple customized card that gives them increased savings each time they
visit. On their 4th or the 6th or the 10th visit, that card is used up so they get a new one.
- Increase the amount they spend at each visit
I call this, ‘Do you want fries with that? Make this a SYSTEM in your practice.
My inner-circle clients use a one-page checklist to make this happen and on average they will increase their counter sales by 43%
Before anyone jumps in and starts talking about up-sells and cross-sells being un-ethical, let me state categorically that you ONLY upsell / cross-sell ethically – this is paramount.
Upsells and cross-sells can be as medically orientated as bloods with surgery or IVF with surgery, senior blood screen with a senior pet vaccination or as simple as a worm tablet with every flea/tick sale, lead with collar or conditioner with every shampoo sale.
The majority of your clients don’t look at you as a retail outlet so they spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year at the local pet store because they don’t know better.
Most clients would prefer the convenience of getting everything they need NOW, while they are with you; rather than going elsewhere (pet store), finding another parking spot, getting ‘bub’ out of the car, etc.
And YES – 30% of people will buy everything they need on the internet. That still leaves 70% of clients who will purchase their pet care needs from a bricks and mortar business – you!
But rather than pressure them into buying your products, make it easy and comfortable for them to choose to buy your products on their own with a little help from your well trained staff….
- One of my Queensland clients has a number of ‘This Goes With That’ baskets in reception. One basket has all the flea control and associated products, another has all the dental products, another all the skin care products, etc.
Clients therefore find it easy to understand what other products will be of benefit to them. And the staff find it super easy to show/demonstrate to the client exactly what items they need.
Since using this ‘system’ their sales have increased massively.
Ensure that all your team are trained to ask:
- I see you are getting some flea control today. Let me ask you – when did you last worm your pet? Or
- If you are getting a shampoo, then let me suggest you also get a conditioner because the two will work much better in combination? Or even
- Why not add a matching lead to that collar – that will really make Fluffy ‘pop’.
BTW – a system like the two above ‘don’t just happen’. You need to develop your system and train your team. It’s well worth the effort though.
- If you’d like to chat to me exactly how to implement this in your practice – just send me an email and we’ll make a time to chat.
- Increase the # of referrals they give you – develop a ‘Heroes’ program.
Each of your clients have, on average, a circle of 250 people they know (family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, gym buddies and so on).
Make it easy for them to talk about you AND refer you to them.
Have customized business-sized ‘Friend-Refer-A-Friend’ cards printed with a special offer to experience your services for the first time.
These cards should be distributed everywhere possible:
- On your checkout counter
- On checkout counters of any business you do business with (alliances)
- Mailed to your current clients to pass along, and so on.
There are all sorts of ‘gifts’ you might give a client who refers you one of their friends. It may be as simple as a Thank You phone call or card to something more substantial like a $25 or a $50 gift card.
Many of my inner circle clients will also put on a ‘Client Get Together’ evening which is exclusive to clients who refer more than 5 new clients in the previous 12 months. This evening will go for 2 or so hours and will consist of drinks, canapés and the like.
Two ‘Extra’ things happen from this sort of an evening;
- You will have clients approach you asking how THEY can be on the invite list
- Manufacturers will fall over themselves to ‘host’ this type of event for you – i.e. they pay for EVERYTHING, you get the cudos!
BUT…..Don’t Bother Doing the Above Until You Read This:
No matter how many creative strategies you come up with, nothing beats customer service for client satisfaction, retention, referrals and 5-star reviews.
All clients with ‘full’ credit cards want to feel cared for and cared about.
I am still surprised how often I see clients of veterinary practices spend thousands of dollars on surgical or medical care for their pet and never hear a peep out of anyone from the practice afterwards.
Nobody checks in to see how the patient is doing, whether the client can get the medication in, whether the patient is improving, etc. It makes them feel like the practice doesn’t care.
Your clients feel the same way. If you don’t care enough about how their pet’s treatment went, they are not going to care about you when it’s time to spend more money on veterinary care.
You must develop and have protocols in place to email/call/text some two days after the visit/treatment to be sure all is well.
I call this the ‘Courtesy Call System’ and my inner circle clients tell me that it’s one of the biggest practice building tools that I give them.
BTW – you can’t just ring, text or email the client and use any old phrasing – you need to carefully think through what you say or write – otherwise you run the risk of your client thinking that something was wrong with the treatment, visit or procedure.
This system also allows the client to tell you if there was a glitch with the visit or if they are unhappy in any way – and that’s GREAT!
There’s a chance you’re saying right now, “Diederik I’m not looking for trouble” but there’s a different way to look at it.
Trouble would be the unhappy patient who silently disappears to your competitor and/or tells all of their friends. Worse still – they start posting on Social!!
That’s the reverse of referrals… it’s the new client deterrent!!!
It’s much cheaper and easier to make a client happy than it is to replace them with another new client, so take care of your clients and they will take care of you.
There you go – three simple and highly effective ways to grow your practice. If you’d like to talk through any of these in detail – just holler and we’ll make a time to talk.
Diederik (– easy ways to grow your practice -) Gelderman