Like many other practitioners you may have taken the big step of transitioning your traditional practice into an integrative one. It is an exciting new model of practicing medicine that is both logical and rewarding. However it does come with its challenges. Learning new treatment protocols does take a lot of time and money. Longer patient visits improve results but often lead to reduced daily patient load. Implementing the right dietary supplements helps revenue and outcomes, but you are also having to learn to retail and manage inventory. All this while trying to grow and create a successful practice!
This is the first of series of publications aimed at helping you build a financially successful practice filled with satisfied patients and a high level of care. Today we will focus on the right way to start selling dietary supplements into your practice. Here are a few simple rules:
They are known for using better ingredients, therapeutic dosing and a formulation process stressing on efficacy. Many of their formulations are also backed with clinical research to support the use of the individual ingredients. You also will not put yourself in the position of having to compete on price with grocery stores and general pharmacies.
This especially applies if you are new to recommending supplements. From my experience in dietary supplements manufacturing, I know how expensive it is for a company to adhere to the FDA cGMP regulations. The big brands normally have very well established quality protocols and quality assurance departments. Considering that over 90% of the ingredients used come from Asia, strict heavy metal testing, spectrophotometric testing and bacterial testing is not only needed but required. The big brands will also generally be able to provide you with better training and education, clinical protocols and support.
People often like to touch and feel the products you recommend to them. More and more patients are highly educated and like to read the label. That would give them the opportunity to begin familiarizing themselves with your products.
Substitute them with educational magazines and articles that reflect your treatment philosophy. Also stop playing the TV news in the lobby. Many vendors should be able to provide you with educational videos on the quality of the products you recommend or on your nutritional therapies. For as little as $500 you can even create your own video. The 15 minutes your patients spend waiting in your lobby are a priceless opportunity to educate them.
Many of the most successful practices have a very high level of staff engagement in the supplement purchasing flow. It is a great idea to incorporate a small profit sharing plan among all the staff members that are in contact with your patients – from the MAs, PAs to check-out. It doesn’t have to be much, but it is a meaningful team building idea. Also get extra samples from each supplement company and encourage your staff members to use the products applicable to them. A personal recommendation is very powerful. Let me be clear – I am not saying you should convert your staff into salespeople. However it is important they are involved in the process and understand the importance of your supplement recommendations.
If your supplement sales are not growing at the same monthly rate as your new patient rate, you have a huge attrition problem. The easier it is for your patients to access the supplements you recommend, the higher the compliance and revenue generated will be. If you are selling multiple brands of products, it is not reasonable to ask your patients to go to each one of their websites, log in, search through hundreds of products, place their orders, and pay multiple shipping charges. Expecting your patients to come back to your office to repurchase is equally as unrealistic. It will happen but not as often as it should. The compliance rate will be around 5-10% at best. Having a shopping cart with all of the brands you recommend in one place with free shipping will tremendously increase your success. Why? For the same reason Amazon is successful – it is easier, cheaper and time effective. That is why here at Wellness Storehouse we have helped many practitioners tremendously increase their supplement sales while also improving patient outcomes.