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How to Close the Gap in Presenting Equipment to Veterinary Practices

By Pam Foster
August, 2017
5 Easy Steps to Capturing More Equipment Business

Recently we posted an article about the AVDA (American Veterinary Distributors) survey showing that practice decision makers strongly prefer buying products from Distribution Sales Reps (DSRs) versus directly from manufacturers.  

In the Equipment category, distributors didn’t score quite as well as in other categories, suggesting there is work to be done. Looks like there’s a gap there - one we’d like to help you close!

To get you started on closing that gap, we came up with 5 steps you can take right now to get in the door and amp up your equipment sales. 

1. First, know that there’s a massive opportunity in equipment sales. 

Here are the primary categories of veterinary equipment; products you could be selling more often:

  • Anesthesia
  • Autoclave
  • Cages and Kennels
  • Centrifuge
  • Chemistry, Hematology, and Electrolyte Analyzers
  • Dental Equipment
  • Digital Radiography
  • Electrosurgery
  • Grooming Equipment
  • IV Pumps
  • Laser for Surgery and Therapy
  • Lighting
  • Microscopes
  • Monitoring
  • Otoscopes
  • Scales
  • Stethoscopes
  • Tables and other exam equipment
  • Ultrasound

Are you seeing a pattern in this list?

These categories are filled with big-ticket items, which means big opportunity for you. Not only with the main equipment, but also with ongoing supplies to run tests, perform procedures, etc.

To fully understand the scope of opportunity in each category listed above, we have a collection of Vet Advantage equipment reference guides. Each guide spells out:

  • The purpose of the equipment in the specific category
  • The cost ranges (this is where you’ll see the big wow)
  • Details on how the equipment is used
  • Trends on the latest technologies, efficiencies, quality of information provided, connection to other equipment and patient records, reasons to upgrade, and so on. 

These guides are not product or brand-specific, so you’ll want to work with manufacturers and get their latest equipment materials as well. 

OK, now that you have a picture of the tremendous opportunity, let’s take the next step toward closing that gap.

2. Plan to evaluate each practice you visit, and make notes on what you find. 

Try to set up visits where you can include an inventory check during the call. This will give you a chance to look around at the clinic’s existing equipment while you’re checking on current supplies, etc.

Armed with a checklist based on the above equipment categories, you can evaluate the following:

  • Does this practice have equipment in each category?
  • What is the age and condition of that equipment, from what you can tell?
  • How is the equipment set up (is it in a good spot, with easy access, etc.)? This comes up because I’ve seen diagnostic analyzers placed on bathroom toilet seats because the practice ran out of room, for example. When you see something like this, maybe you can help them find a better location or suggest a new corner workspace!)
  • What’s missing — what equipment aren’t you seeing? (For instance, do they have dental equipment or laser therapy equipment?)

With this equipment evaluation, you’ll understand exactly how to move on to the next step.

3. Ask each practice about their equipment during the sales visit. 

Now, you don’t just want to open up with, “Hey have you seen this new dental equipment? It’s fantastic.” 

You want to make sure you ask questions that prompt the decision maker to talk about his or her needs… and hear about benefits that may get their attention.

For instance, “I see that you’re still using traditional halogen lighting. Have you ever looked into high-tech, eco-friendly LED lighting, which has a much cooler output, a much longer bulb life, and operates on a fraction of the electricity? Today lighting is available specifically for veterinary surgery suites, exam and treatment areas, and general areas. I could show you what a difference the LED lighting can make for you and your team.”

You can do this with any equipment category. Ask about what you saw during your evaluations, how they feel about their current situation, and what if you could make their lives easier and help them grow their profits. 

Ask if they’ve looked into — or heard about — the latest options that deliver major benefits. 

And then ask what it would mean for them to have those benefits.

4. Be prepared to run the numbers that show their return on investment. 

Once you have a decision maker interested in specific equipment, you’ll want to demonstrate its value.

For example, “With this advanced laser-therapy equipment, you’ll be the practice in town that offers the most advanced care with alternative treatments. This is something you can promote to pet parents in your community. 

You can charge $XX.XX-$XXX.XX per laser therapy session, and if you schedule 10 sessions a week, that’s $XXXX.XX in extra profit per week. Laser therapy is the type of service that you schedule with each client for weeks at a time, right?” So look at how it adds up to extra profits over an entire year.”

5. Help the practice make an easy choice and experience a smooth transition.

If you can show the practice all the benefits of the new equipment, along with the value and how to make it affordable and profitable, you’ll go a long way toward getting yes.

Just one final issue. Quite often, a major objection is the hassle of transitioning to new equipment. When practices switch to new equipment, they often have to adjust to a new way of working while learning new tools. How can you make this painless for them?

Be sure to ask equipment manufacturers about their installation and training procedures. What can they offer that will give the practice full confidence in adding the equipment? They’ll want to make the sale work as well, so you can expect them to support you and the practice in every way possible.

Ready to close the gap?

Try following these five steps to become a superstar to the clinics that will benefit from the new equipment.

Topics: equipment, DSR Facing Blog