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The right way to retail

The Right Way to Retail: Sell the ‘why,’ not the ‘what.’

BY ADAM BOENDER, DC, AND JOE FREEMAN

It’s a wonderful thing having a clinic at your disposal. You have access to a number of tools to help effectively treat your patients. However, how do those patients find relief when they are not at your clinic? Do you have protocols in place to serve your patients when they are not in front of you? If not, you should.

As a doctor, it’s your obligation to make sure your patients not only have effective treatment options available to them to them at your clinic but also products that can be employed outside the clinic as well. The products that you prescribe for use outside of your clinic should serve as a complement to patient treatment and should fall inside of the standards of care you have established for them.

Like most doctors, you probably see a number of new products—all of which promise to be the next great thing—come across your desk daily. But, the question is, how do you determine which of these products are the right fit for your patients and practice? There are a five key questions that you should ask yourself to sort through products to find the best:

  1. Would you personally use the product for yourself and your family?
  2. What benefits will the product bring to your patients?
  3. How does the product benefit your practice?
  4. Does the product complement your treatments?
  5. How will you implement sales of the new product?

Picking your products

In any business, you must look at how a new product can be of monetary benefit. To break it down simply, science is science and technology is technology. Now, that may sound self-evident, but when you look at a product, you’ll see it is made of a specific formula or from a particular technology. That product will most likely work

It’s your responsibility as a doctor to lead your employees to an understanding of the benefits of any newly implemented product and how to properly educate your patients about it.

The exact same way for every patient who uses it, but it’s the experience and perception that come along with that formula or technology that sell the product.

We all know that there are superior and inferior products, but just because one costs more, has been around for a longer period of time, or makes more claims, doesn’t necessarily make it better. It all comes down to helping the patient understand why they need that product. How does it help them reach their goals?

When your patients begin to grasp the benefits of the product, it will start selling itself. In other words, put value in the expected outcome of using the product, and it will bring profits in more ways than one.

It’s your responsibility as a doctor to lead your employees to an understanding of the benefits of any newly implemented product and how to properly educate your patients about it. And most importantly, your employees and patients need to understand why you are bringing on a new product.

What it all boils down to is that you never want to sell a “product” in your office, you want to sell the “experience” that product will give your patients. You don’t sell the “what,” you sell the “why.”

Success with sales in your practice

A large number of practices offer some type of products for retail sale to their patients. Depending on the size of the practice, the products can be sold by the doctor, a chiropractic assistant or the front desk personnel. Once you make the decision to carry products, there are common strategies for achieving success with them.

First, select quality products that you feel comfortable recommending to your patients. Look for products that have been used by a variety of customers over the years. Try the products yourself and make sure you approve of how they perform. You can compare multiple products in your office if you ask for samples from prospective vendors.

Second, create an organized display area in your office. Identify a space that allows you to showcase products you want to sell to your patients. Oftentimes, the location can be close to the checkout counter, which serves as a high traffic area with great visibility. The customer should be able to easily see the products and be prompted to ask your staff for information about them.

Third, educate your staff on the value of the products to your patients and the value of product sales to your practice. Ask vendors to host an in-office training, webinar or conference call to talk with your staff so they can answer questions as patients bring them up. Your staff can help you make these programs a success if you invest in their education.

And last, find products that have some sort of exclusivity to your industry. Offering products that are easily available in other outlets (and often at lower prices) makes it unlikely that the patient will choose to purchase from you. Look for brands that want to focus on medical professionals and work with you to help retail products to your patients. Look for a brand with multiple items in their product line that can allow you to resolve various patient issues. There is value in maintaining the simplicity of dealing with only one or two vendors.

Take your time

Selling products in your clinic can be beneficial for your patients as a complement to your treatments. They can also be an additional revenue source for your practice. There are many options in the marketplace. Take your time and try to find quality vendors who want to work with you, who provide ease of ordering, and offer timely responses and quality customer service. Finding the right product lines can have a profound effect on your patients and your bottom line.

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