One of my practices that I am “Preparing for Sale” was sure their clients could not afford annual wellness blood work. They were positive their clients would not participate because they tried a wellness plan previously and only two or three people signed up.
I have a different perspective. I felt the doctor and staff simply didn’t know how to present the wellness plan to their clients. The doctors and staff did not want to be seen as “salesmen” or “pushy” to their clients, and there were no checks and balances put on to make sure the program was being offered. I find it interesting how everyone agreed that a wellness plan was great and would extend lives. They knew they would find problems earlier, but they were positive their clients could not afford it.
I reminded them they already had a basic wellness plan in place. The clinic was already doing heartworm and fecal testing on the majority of dogs. The clinic was not very good with internal parasites or bloodwork on cats.
Over the next few weeks we designed a wellness plan and presented it to the staff in the form of a professional brochure. We encouraged the staff to be involved in the design and presentation of the program. The clinic’s programs were for pets from 1 to 6 years, and for 7 years and above on a geriatric program. When designing any new program, one of the most important things is to keep it simple to start. Things can be added down the road but it’s more important to get the basic concept and then the presentation. Client acceptance will follow.
At the staff meeting the “new” program was presented. Since it was new, the owner agreed to a team incentive. The new program was an additional $50.00 over what the client was paying already (HW and fecal), but they received a lot more information in return. The clinic would make a profit of $38.00 on each additional $50.00 the client paid.
When proposing a new program, it is imperative that you present facts. Doctors are scientists and they need to see numbers. The facts are: March 2014, the clinic had 640 appointments and saw 227 healthy dogs (annual vaccines) and 64 healthy cats. In addition to the wellness plan, we started a “new” reminder program which actually meant “Looking at the record” every time the client brought in their pet or came in to get OTC (HW/Flea and food). In addition, the staff must believe in the program and that the goals set are attainable.
The owner incentive was, if they had 10 people sign up for wellness testing in the first month, he would buy lunch for the staff. The goal was simple and attainable and 100% of the staff felt they could hit their target of 10.
From my extensive experience, new programs such as this must then be periodically monitored and measured with the staff to ensure accountability and long term success. It is important to be consistent and to follow-up.
I called this clinic two weeks later and they weren’t close to getting lunch!! I talked to the receptionist, lead tech and owner to find out where the communication gaps were. This led to another staff meeting and in the remaining 12 days they did 14 wellness tests. This astounded everyone and the clinic began to think like a team. Additionally, in this case out of total 17 wellness packages done, three pets were found to have subclinical problems. The owner ended up buying lunch and this clinic is now beginning to understand the benefits of offering wellness programs.
It does not take magic to transform your staff. There is not one person that will disagree with wellness concepts, but there are a lot of people in our clinics that don’t think our clients will pay for them. This belief is stopping you from doing a higher level of medicine and extending pet’s lives.
These are the take away items from this article:
- People do not do what you expect, only inspect.
- If you don’t ask, you will never know.
- When presenting a new program provide facts.
- Provide incentives for the team, not the individual.
- Don’t expect immediate success.
- If you try and do not achieve success, this doesn’t mean the program is a failure OR YOU ARE A FAILURE. It may be as simple as getting a third party in that has the templates and the information to create success.
In April, the goal of this clinic was to do 15 programs. Last night, they sent me their numbers. THEY DID 22!!
If you have questions about this article or general questions, call me 469-867-3647. I do not charge to answer questions.
Randy P. DVM Carsch
Give me the opportunity and I will EARN your business