Here’s an idea to strengthen your customer relationships as a veterinary Distribution Sales Representative (DSR):
Help independent clinics foster healthier pets and happier clients while competing more effectively against the local competition.
Yes, that’s a vague statement, but hear me out.
If you have customers committed to running their veterinary practices independently… you may be hearing that they struggle to compete against formidable practices in their area. There may be a retail chain store clinic down the street or a major corporate hospital nearby, all vying for the same clients.
This means your customers might want to consider doing these three things, with your guidance:
- Make sure they’re offering similar fundamental services their competition offers (so local pet owners aren’t choosing the competition for basic needs).
- Offer something different (and very appealing) that the competition doesn’t offer (you can help practices brainstorm ideas based on what you see during clinic visits in your territory).
- Build strong relationships within the community with a “super-local” approach (again, help your customers come up with ideas based on other clinic efforts that work).
In this blog post, we’re addressing the first consideration independent clinics should explore with your help: offering local pet owners the same or similar fundamental services as the competition.
Take veterinary wellness plans (aka loyalty plans), for instance.
Here’s how AAHA describes these bundled or packaged care plans:
“A wellness plan often requires a pet owner to sign a contract for a particular time period, usually 12 months. The pet owner then pays a monthly fee and receives a set of services that may include exams, laboratory tests, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, nail trims, deworming, heartworm testing, dental care, and others. Participants in pet wellness plans also often receive discounts on additional veterinary services."
When pet owners sign up for a year of care that includes physical exams, screening, diagnostics, nutrition discussions, and more — plus discounts and other exclusive benefits — they’re more likely to bring in their pets for proper care AND remain loyal to the practice.
Plus, wellness plans meet pet-owner demands: “46% of dog owners and 44% of cat owners stated they would be more likely to take their pet to the vet more often, ‘if I had a payment plan where I would be billed in equal monthly installments,’” according to In the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study.*
With veterinary clinic wellness plans, everyone wins.
Clients have a clear plan, a fixed payment, and access to the right care without having to guess (or forget) when it’s time to bring in Fluffy or Fido.
Patients receive proper screening checks and preventive care throughout the year, and early detection if there’s an issue.
Clinics get to improve their consistency of patient visits and compliance with regular client conversations that build loyalty and better care — AND a steady revenue stream from monthly payments and add-on services.
For all these reasons, most (if not all) corporate veterinary practice groups offer wellness plans to clients.
With independent practices (your dream customers) you even win because:
- you’re helping your customers compete more effectively for local business, and
- more client visits turn into more consumable purchases and potentially more equipment needs from the practices in your area.
What’s not to love?
When you’re visiting clinics, bring up the subject of wellness plans and see if there’s an opportunity for you to help your customers establish a plan.
If you need facts, statistics and other information to help clinics justify a wellness plan… show them the Today’s Veterinary Business article, “Wellness Plans Make Great Business Sense” by Wendy Hauser, DVM. She pointed out (with details on each benefit) that wellness plans:
- Help increase the number of client visits per year
- May set you apart from neighboring hospitals
- Are client-retention tools
- Enhance the quality of patient care
- Help manage client financial limitations
Who else wants these benefits for their practice?
Probably many of your customers, don’t you think? It’s just that they may not have been able to focus on a wellness plan or they weren’t sure where to start.
You can steer them in the right direction by showing them easy ways to establish a wellness plan. With a simple setup, they’ll actually do it!
Introduce your customers to several wellness-plan providers with programs specifically for veterinary practices, such as Partners for Healthy Pets led by the AVMA and AAHA; Premier Pet Care Plan, based in Roswell, GA; and VetBilling, a division of Electronic Billing & Customer Support (EBCS). These providers not only set up plans, they help clinics market them to their clients.
Another great piece for client education is the AAHA article that spells out, to pet owners, “What a Wellness Plan Can Do for Your Pet (and Your Pocketbook). This article encourages pet owners to ask their practices about wellness plans. Wouldn’t it be great if your customers all offered them?
Make a commitment to do all your customers a big favor by exploring the many benefits of wellness plans with them.