Matching prices isn't the only way to stay competitive. Other ideas from attendees included encouraging clients to "buy local"
and reminding them to support the businesses that pay for schools and parks in the community.
Table: Eat up these numbers
Another strategy is to warn clients of the risk of buying products elsewhere. Wood suggests citing recommendations from the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)
and other authorities. What's more, he told attendees to be blunt and say, 'We hate to see our clients buy pharmaceuticals
from non-experts.' Veterinarians should emphasize that the clinic's products aren't expired and are stored at appropriate
temperatures, Wood says.
Wood also had a warning for veterinarians. "You all must be prepared to answer the $64,000 question from clients: 'What do
I get from your practice that I can't get from http://petmeds.com/ or Costco?'" Wood says veterinarians must be able to answer quickly—and they can't say, 'I want to make more money.'
Explain that when pet owners purchase products from the clinic they are buying the veterinarian's professional opinion, which
isn't sold in big box stores, Wood says. "Tell them that the client-patient-doctor relationship at the clinic comes with a
warranty—and not just a money-back guarantee," Wood says. "If the veterinary product fails, you'll cover the cost of treatment."
After veterinarians tell clients, they need to show them. "Veterinarians give clients too much credit," Wood says. "Apply
a free dose on the pet right there while the client can watch." This will literally demonstrate the value of your services,