Start complimenting other veterinarians in your community
In veterinary medicine, we often think about the competition and wonder: How do we win? How do we beat other practices at their own game?
But isn't their game our game? If a competing practice wins, do we automatically lose? In order for us to win, must the other practices in town lose? Excellent veterinary practices have the same objectives—great client care, patient wellness and financial success. So, are other veterinary practices in the community truly a threat, or is it good to be surrounded by excellence?
Sharing successWhat if, when someone asked what we thought of a veterinarian whom we knew to be excellent, we raved about how great they were, without feeling as though in doing so we were somehow admitting that we weren't great? If we actively engaged in that sort of community-minded attitude, wouldn't our reputation among our clients and veterinary colleagues soar?
What if we let go of our hold on clients long enough to send them down the street for a service we don't provide? If that practice didn't send our clients back or support us in what they said and did, we'd know for next time and would have a more accurate perception of veterinarians in our community who represent the profession as we want it represented.
But what if that practice told our clients how great we were and sent our patients right back—in better health, no less—for the rest of their veterinary care? Patient and client care within our own practice—and within our community at large—would improve exponentially.
Of course, what our own team does is more important to our success that what any other team in town does. We only have control over ourselves. If we work smarter or harder or longer to attract clients to our practice, everyone wins—our patients, our clients and our practice. And if other practices are doing the same thing and winning too, we should celebrate with them.
This is a powerful attitude—subtle and gentle, but definitely powerful. It's a brave attitude. While other veterinarians clamor to keep their tight, yet imaginary, grip on clients and live with an "us vs. them" mentality, we should be saying—in both our words and our actions—that we aren't threatened by awesomeness. In fact, we should celebrate with our awesome colleagues the realization of our shared goals of great client care, patient wellness and financial success.
So, be the practice clients choose. Be the veterinarian other veterinarians compliment. Be the practice other practices trust with their clients and patients. Set an example for the rest of the practices in the community and beyond. Do what you already do so well—just be awesome.
Dr. Shawn Finch is a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and associate veterinarian at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals in Omaha, Neb.