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Digital Radiography: Help Practices Choose

By Vet-Advantage
March, 2015

Today's digital radiography (DR) landscape offers your customers a number of excellent, high-quality options in your current catalog.

Since it's a highly competitive space, when you walk into practices and start asking about their DR equipment, you may bump up against competitors painting a pretty picture of a superior product at affordable monthly payments.

Help your customers take a closer look, fully understand what’s in front of them, and know what you have to offer.

Why your customers need you

  • Some competitors may charge a very high retail price for equipment that's not dramatically different from the lower-priced options. All veterinary DR products use state-of-the-art software and imaging technology. They all offer fast image acquisition, multiple leveling options and annotation/measuring capabilities, and can be transferred into the medical record. So really, some DR companies are charging higher prices for no clear reason.
  • In addition, some DR manufacturers may require 5-year maintenance agreements. In other words, their warranties are limited. Check and compare this to the equipment you are offering. Many include a 3-5-year warranty with the purchase, with no additional maintenance agreement required.
  • Some DR agreements may include extra costs. Make sure your practices don't realize this until it's too late because these agreements can add a lot of cost over time, especially when you consider that the DR flat-panel plate makes up the bulk of a DR investment.

Now you get to be a hero to your customers by enlightening them on DR choices.

The next time you're scheduling a sales call, ask the customer about their DR investment. Find out if they've just purchased a system or if it's time for an upgrade.

When you find customers who aren’t locked into a new agreement, ask if they'd be willing to look at DR options that could save them a ton of money over the next five years and beyond while still delivering exceptional image quality and convenience. You can expect customers to say yes when you put it this way!

Sales call strategy

  1. Ask about the current cost of their current DR equipment: the initial retail price as well as any maintenance agreements.
  2. Add up a total for the equipment purchase, including the agreement cost over five years.
  3. Now, be ready to compare that total with the lower-cost options you can provide, and explain these beneficial points:
    • The DR system you represent also offers advanced technology, images, convenience, etc.
    • Your system offers a 3-5 year warranty on equipment, which can save the practice thousands of dollars each year.
    • This combination may deliver an excellent package at a much lower cost… especially when you show them a 5-year total investment comparison.

Does this always work?

Most animal health clinics and hospitals are excellent candidates for this approach, unless they just signed a new 5-year agreement with a DR company. This includes practices considering a new system or upgrade as well as those that hadn't thought about making a switch.

Prospecting tips

Ask the right probing questions and narrow the choices down to one or two DR companies (at the most), even if you may have a half dozen DR companies to offer your customer. If you were to call all six companies and have them present to your customer, all you're doing is creating a very competitive situation that will only drive the price and margin down, perhaps even to the point that your company will have to sell the system direct and leave you with only a finder’s fee.

Also keep in mind that over time, you'll come to trust a manufacturer’s representative in your area that you can get in a good rhythm with to close a few deals a year. There are still many good opportunities left in the marketplace. Take inventory in your territory that may have purchased CR (Computed Radiography) or DR five years ago, or longer. They may be primed to upgrade to DR.

Here's a list of probing questions you can ask the clinic’s decision maker so you can recommend the one company that will best fit your customer’s needs. Using just a few of these questions, you'll identify your customer’s situation. 

Probing questions

  1. What do you know about Digital X-Ray?
  2. What are you currently doing in your practice to obtain radiographs?
  3. Have you ever used Digital X-Ray before? Where? What system?
  4. How old is your current X-Ray System?
  5. When was the last time your processor went down?
  6. When was the last time your system/processor was serviced?
  7. How often do you have your processor serviced?
  8. Which Reference Lab do you currently use?
  9. What is your current monthly expense on chemicals?
  10. What is your current monthly expense on film?
  11. How much do you think you would have to spend to upgrade to Digital Radiography?
  12. Do you understand that there are three types of “Digital Radiography”?

Once you get the answers, you can take it from there.

Next time, we'll discuss strategies for competing against competitors offering in-house screening tests (assays).

Let us know what else we can cover in a future post on this blog CLICK HERE.

Topics: Digital Radiography