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How to ask for money (Great tips for everyone working in the veterinary industry)

Posted in Festival of All Things Dental @ Aug 27th 2015 - By Dr Ilana Mendels Director VetPrac
How To Ask For Money Tips For Everyone Working In The Veterinary Industry

Think your veterinary clients won't pay for dental treatments? Maybe you're just not asking them the right way....

It's dental month again, and since all our small animal dental workshops are developed individually for small groups now, I'm not here to advertise. Instead, I felt it would be appropriate to talk about how to discuss money since we seem to find it hard to ask for $800-$1500 for a dental... 

I've always found it a curious thing that money is such a touchy subject.

But, like all things important, and bound with emotional and physical values it needs to be approached gently and clearly. 

When I was a teen, I would just ask for money and my mum would give me some, I didn't get the way the value of things was determined because this is actually quite an adult concept and why economists are so well paid. 

The great challenge of our roles as animal health care providers and professionals is that the outcomes of our "services" is never certain. And since we live in a buyer beware market, it feels like we should be certain of these outcomes if we are going to charge for them, right? WRONG.

We know and our clients know and our bosses know, that very little is certain - especially not in the realm of Animal Health and Welfare.

So, how can one overcome this uncertainty? Make it known that you are certain there is uncertainty to everything you do. 

Weird idea?

When we go through school and uni we are tested to ensure we know the answers. We are expected to get the answer correct with certainty in order to pass. So, it probably comes as a shock that once you walk into the real world of veterinary practice, that very little is certain. Once this idea is mastered, discussions about the value of your service become less about how effective you are as a clinician, and more about how effectively you apply the skills you have as a clinician to the given situation. 

This becomes an important distinction. Because your value is not intrinsically tied up in the fate of your patients. And this is very important for our professional and personal health.

Now, if you can identify the skills you have as a veterinarian and as an employee. Then you can place a value on them. You are not placing a value on you. You are INVALUABLE. The skills you have help define the role you play in employment. They generate income for the business and an outcome for the patient. This is where VetPrac comes in, to help your develop your skills. 

The person you are defines how people trust you, how people get along with you and how much talent and influence you have in applying the skills you have learned.

And the good thing about this, is we can all find people with whom we can achieve this. We just need to find the right place where we are appreciated. 

The best thing is when our skills, our strengths, our virtues all line up and feel appreciated: We feel valued and life just flows... 

So, how do I talk about money?

Differently in different situations... But mostly, I follow the same pattern.

To clients, I say:

"These are my skills, this is what the hospital can offer (we have x-equipment, y-vets with z-skills.....), I want you to know that I care about "fluffy" and I want him to get better. Nothing is certain. But this is what we have, this is what we can do and this is what I hope to achieve. This is how much it's going to cost... What do you think?"

To employers I say:

"These are my skills, this is what I can offer the hospital, I want you to know I care about (quality) veterinary services and performing my role with integrity and honesty and I want to advance the health and welfare of animals. Nothing is certain, except I want to keep growing as a veterinary professional and help your business be profitable. This is who I am, and I'd like to be earning X... what do you think?" 

To employees I say:

"This is my business, this is what I can offer you. I want you to know I care about your enjoyment at work as well as your professional growth. I want you to work with your strengths and I want to run a business that achieves its mission with you a part of it. Nothing is certain, but this is a good place to be, and this is what I'm willing to pay for you... what do you think?"

To my parents, I say:

"Hey Dad?! Can I have $20?"

And the funny thing is... at 35 yrs of age... he still pulls out his wallet and begrudgingly gives me a few notes... ;-D

When we grow up and start working, the conversations we have about money need to change.

They can be learned and they don't have to be difficult or uncomfortable.

If you'd like to ask Ilana any questions about Vetprac Workshops or fnd out more about how to ask for money...why not ask her in the comments section below?


About Ilana

Since graduating from the University of Sydney, Dr Ilana Mendels has worked in a variety of veterinary practices as well as a locum in England. Throughout her experiences, Dr Mendels became aware of the “isolation” a vet can feel, particularly in a rural community, when things get busy or times get tough. 

 In September 2009, Dr Mendels founded VetPrac to meet the professional and social needs of registered veterinary surgeons interested in provided quality services to their clients. VetPrac workshops have provided practical training for over 300 vets.

Click here to visit the VetPrac Page in the Vetanswers Busines Directory


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