It’s that time of year again where pharmacists are gearing up for Christmas trading.
But did you know it’s a fertile hunting ground for opportunities to increase your efficiency, sales and professional practice in the coming year, too?
Enthusiasm to see and learn and to identify new opportunities to succeed in your business and in your practice as pharmacists is of course vital to your survival and to your thriving in your local communities, providing ever increasing value.
But when you’re isolated in a small business by yourself or even with a partner, you often forget to take the financial hat off when looking at your marketing. And when you need to be focusing on sales, it’s challenging at times to remember to take off your clinician’s hat.
When you’re in marketing mode, you need to be fully in marketing mode. Being capable of wearing these different hats individually at different times is a challenge for many small business owners but even more so for pharmacists where there’s often some questioning of the legitimacy of selling alongside professional service to customers.
But if you genuinely believe in the value of what you’re offering then ‘selling’ merely becomes a conversation with a customer about their needs and offering an appropriate solution.
And who are the pharmacies that I am seeing succeed and continue to grow? Yes, they exist. Even in these market conditions.
The continuing success stories are those who respect and value the practice of selling and marketing as much as they respect providing clinical services to customers- advice on medication and other beneficial complementary products, meds checks, HMRs. They invest in professional development for their staff and themselves to help them have those conversations with customers in a proactive, caring, ethical and professional way.
They’re not scared of selling.
Selling is in fact a major reason why they’re valued by their local community and why customers keep coming back to them. The local discounter or supermarket doesn’t provide a friendly face or someone who cares to take the time and effort to understand not just what they want but actually what they need as well.
The pharmacies who are forward driven in their businesses, who actively identify the customer’s needs and proactively ‘sell’ products as well as in their professional services (the two being interlinked of course. No surprises there) increase and sustain their profits and their loyal customer base, receiving referrals and becoming the trusted health advisor.
Filling scripts is the bread and butter of any pharmacy. But what else are you doing to understand your customer so you can offer more and diverse products and services to your customers and community? To do that you need to build rapport, listen and ask the right questions and then sell a solution.
If you’re going to APP in 2017 you have a wonderful opportunity to increase your skills in doing so and supporting those skills with innovative new products, services and information.
But are you going to learn and take lots of notes (and brochures) or are you going to get off the fence and join the winners in community pharmacy? These are the guys who take action on what they’ve learned or seen. By doing that, they benefit their customers and secure their pharmacy’s future as an integral part of their local community.
The opportunity is there. It’s up to you whether or not you’ll grasp it.