Teach your team to reinforce your recommendations

Teach your team to reinforce your recommendations

Our team members aren't salespeople. How can we teach them to reinforce our recommendations to clients?
source-image
Nov 01, 2009

There are many reasons why team members fail to reinforce the veterinarian's recommendations when they speak to clients, says Karyn Gavzer, MBA, CVPM, a practice management consultant in Springboro, Ohio. Sometimes they're not well-trained in communication and don't feel confident speaking to clients. Other times they're so busy that they don't have time to talk to clients. Training and scheduling are the answers in these situations.

But often the problem is that there are no clear standards of care—written statements of the care that doctors believe is best for their patients—to guide staff members' conversations. Without these standards of care, team members are afraid to suggest anything for fear of contradicting a doctor. For instance, what if one doctor believes in annual heartworm testing and one doesn't? The staff members will be wrong half the time, no matter what they say to the clients. When doctors don't agree on standards, staff members usually say nothing at all to avoid trouble. Creating practice-wide standards of care is the solution.

In other cases, team members sometimes simply don't know how to make suggestions. They feel like they're being pushy or that they appear to care only about money. In situations like these, it helps to teach staff members that most clients have limited knowledge about animal health and that they appreciate the staff's knowledgeable suggestions. Also think about giving staff members tools such as educational handouts and brochures to get conversations started and make it easier for them to start a dialogue with clients.

Hot topics on dvm360

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.

The war between shelters, veterinarians needs to end

Despite practitioners’ legitimate gripes, they’re hurting themselves.