The topic of ‘selling’ and veterinary services is a hot topic at the moment.
I recently posted how fear of price is the #1 reason why vets struggle to sell veterinary services. This post will focus on the concept of client-centred value.
Firstly, what is client-centred value? Client-centred value simply means talking about the veterinary service or treatment plan with your client from their perspective. There are four elements to delivering client-centred value that will help you with vet selling.
Vet Selling Tip 1: Understand the client and what matters to them
You will be more successful at selling your professional recommendations to your clients if you first take a few moments at the beginning of the consultation to:
- Build rapport: ask them questions about themselves and their pets to break the ice and show that you care. Spend a moment greeting the pet. Open-ended questions are best as they let the client speak freely.
- Consider whether you are a fast or slow person. I’m not talking about intelligence here. The speed refers to how they prefer to communicate. If they respond with fast, short sentences, this suggests they prefer fast. If they take their time, consider their words, and answer in long, detailed sentences, they prefer slow-paced.
- Consider whether they are task-focused or people-focused person. Task-focused people will move from rapport-building to the veterinary problem at hand very quickly. If they are people-focused, they will care about how things affect other people, their feelings and their pet’s experiences.
The key to all of this consideration is to then deliver your service in a way that suits this particular client. Speak faster with more facts with a fast and task oriented person. For a people-oriented and slow person, talk slower be empathetic and show you care.
Vet Selling Tip 2: Show them the problem
This is a step so often overlooked simply because we take for granted that as vets, we know what’s going on. But do your clients? The more they can appreciate the significance and severity of the problem, the more likely the client will be motivated to follow your treatment recommendation. There are many different ways you can show the problem to your client and they could include:
- Draw a picture on paper or a white-board
- Show a diagram using an anatomy atlas
- Show a model e.g. jaw for dental disease, bone model for osteoarthritis
- Show a radiograph
- Show the injury, clinical signs or affected area on the pet themselves
Vet Selling Tip 3: Tell them both the benefits and the negative consequences if they don’t proceed
It’s always great to present a number of benefits the clients will receive along with perhaps one negative consequence if they don’t proceed. The key to remember here is to speak in terms of benefits to the clients, not veterinary medical benefits. Also, remember to speak using simple language and not veterinary jargon. I’ll illustrate this using a dental treatment as an example.
The benefits to performing a dental treatment could include: your pet will have fresher breath which will mean more kisses and cuddles; your pet will be able to eat any food without experiencing pain. Negative consequences of not proceeding with treatment could include worsening dental disease to the point of a tooth-root infection or bacteria circulating in the blood stream affecting other organs.
Vet Selling Tip 4: Tell them all that you do for their pet
Again, this tip is often overlooked in favour of printing out a detailed technical estimate and running through this with the client. The problems with this approach are:
- You are focused on veterinary jargon and not the elements of the procedure that the owner cares about
- Since the estimate is focused on money, money is all the client will focus on
So what’s a better approach? Firstly, describe the procedure as though you were telling a bed-time story. Include only the details that add value to the client. Such things typically include:
- who will be with the pet
- what sort of procedures will happen when the pet is awake versus asleep
- what medications are administered to calm the pet
- what sort of bedding and handling with the pet experience
- when should they hear from someone at the clinic
- what sort of monitoring equipment will keep their pet safe in your hands
After you tell them the complete story of what you will be doing with their pet, offer a simple price range, full stop. No plus this and optional that. If you believe extras are necessary, put these into the story and include them in the price range.
Tell me in the comments section below what process you engage in to get more YES’ from your clients successfully? Do you do all this yourself or utilise the assistance of support staff?