Last week one of my favorite restaurants offered a buy-one-get-one-free entree special. What a great deal at this high-end restaurant! I asked the manager if he did this often, and he said, "Just when we feel like it's time to stimulate business."
Most veterinary practices could use some business-stimulating tactics. Today's trifecta reality is most likely that:
> You're seeing less of your regular clients.
> You're seeing fewer new clients.
> The clients you are seeing want to spend less.
The bottom line? This doesn't do any favors for your bottom line.
So what can you do to stimulate business? You should already be providing great customer service, enhanced client education, and expanded comprehensive service with a focus on client compliance. Here in Michigan—and maybe where you're at, too—it seems like that gets you only so far. Now's the time to brainstorm and get as many ideas on the table as you can. Here are some that might work at your clinic, especially with cost-conscious pet owners:
1. Hold a weekly vaccine clinic at discounted prices.
2. Hold a monthly or quarterly spay-neuter clinic.
3. Offer a free trial exam to a hesitant phone shopper.
4. Create all-inclusive dental and wellness care packages that include bundled services at a package rate.
5. Revisit your alliances with adoption and rescue groups.
The idea is to be innovative and try some new ideas—some strategies will work, others won't. At one of my clinics, we offered a sizable discount to clients who were six months past due on wellness care. We got a great response, and many of these clients spent more than $500 once they were in the practice. So keep an open mind and keep on pushing.
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is president of Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals in Michigan.