Selling products. As a clinic owner you’re probably well aware that products could help increase patient incomes and boost your revenue's by 10%. But, you've tried selling products before and there always seems to be obstacles.
For one, your prices are more expensive than the big chain stores or pharmacies. This alone can make it difficult to get your clinician's to sell product or include that as part of their treatment plans. Then there’s the issue of having to choose the right product and make sure it sells. Let's face it, the last thing you want is a room full of inventory that sits there collecting dust.
I’d like to share:
- Why you need to introduce product to boost patient outcomes
- 3 reasons why you can charge more for products
- What price you should markup your products
- How to choosing the best products to sell
- How to sell more product at your clinic
WHY YOU NEED TO INTRODUCE PRODUCT SALES
I talk to a lot of clinic owners about why they need to be selling products in their clinic. Recently, I was having a conversation with my clinic accelerator client about how he wants to expand his clinic and double his space. Part of his renovation plans are to build a product retail area into the clinic.
I asked him: “Why do you want to sell retail?”
He said: “I believe in the complete care model and my competitors - physiotherapist and chiropractors - are all offering products so I need to remain competitive.”
That’s smart business.
Patients are always going to purchase products they need. If you don’t offer them products, they will buy poor quality, bad fitting products from the dollar shop or pharmacy. Or, they may even purchase them from competitors.
Okay, I own Clinic Supplies Canada, and since I don’t want you to think I’m bias, I brought in a colleague of mine, Darryl Yardley, to talk about this at our upcoming webinar event.
Darryl happens to be an expert on product sales because he’s got such an incredible background, he’s:
- A physical therapist and a clinical consultant – Ortho & Neurosurgery
- He runs the operations of DSD Management and they have 14 clinics in the greater Toronto area
- He is a professor at Western University, University of Toronto, McMaster University, where he teaches physiotherapist business and entrepreneurship
- He has all the credentials such as CAMPT and has written tons of publications
- He is the chair of the Private Practice Division at the Canadian Physiotherapy Association
- He has hired and mentored over 50 new physiotherapist grads
Pretty impressive profile right?
And let me share a little secret I learned from Darryl, your product sales should makeup 5% to 10% of your gross revenue. If you’re doing $300K of annual gross revenue, that’s $30K. If you’re doing $500K, that's $50K. If you’re doing $1M, that’s $100K.
Regardless of your revenue, you can see that adding product boosts up your bottom line. So let’s get down to some of the more practical stuff.
3 REASONS YOU CAN CHARGE MORE
The following 3 reasons highlight why YOU SHOULD BE MORE EXPENSIVE when it comes to product sales.
#1: You are a trusted health advisor
Your responsibility as a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist is not to be your patient’s financial advisor, but to be your patient's most trusted health advisor, period!
There is something important to remember here: YOU ARE THE HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.
They don’t have YEARS AND YEARS of training and experience. You do. Patients are coming to you because they are in pain or have problems. They don’t know what they need. They are seeing you for your professional advice and recommendations. Therefore, it is ethical that you provide them with this complete care.
#2: You provide exclusive fitting and modification services
You help the patient select the perfect product for them. You help the patient fit the product. You explain how to use the product. You will be the one providing any modifications, for instance, if you’re doing orthotics or knee braces. You will be doing post follow up to see how they are wearing and using their product.
Your big box stores and pharmacies do not provide this kind of service.
So, WHAT IS YOUR TIME WORTH? $150 to $200/hr?
As a clinician, you need to factor in your time and expertise when it comes to selling product at your clinic. If you’re the clinic owner, you need to educate your clinician’s about this, so they see the value you offer to patients by doing this.
My suggestion is you should mark up your products by 1.4 to 2x cost
#3: You provide top quality products that will get the best results for patients
Let’s just say, during treatment you (or one of your clinician’s) makes a product recommendation to patients, but your clinic doesn’t supply it. The last thing you want is your patient to go to the store and buy a crappy product and land up saying this to their friends and family:
"My physiotherapist told me to go get a back brace, but it doesn’t work so I can’t even wear it. It was such a waste of money.”
When products are recommended, patients should never be left searching for the “right product.”
When you leave it to them, it’s common that they purchase inappropriate products from the big chains or pharmacies and end up returning them, or worse, hurting themselves from using an inadequate product.
Do your patients one big thing: Choose the right product for them and incorporate that into your treatment plans so they don't end up buying something that doesn't help them in their recovery.
And if it’s not enough to please the patient. Do it to align yourself in the marketplace. Other clinic's are doing this and you need to provide that full circle of care to stay competitive in the market.
CHOOSING THE BEST PRODUCTS TO SELL
#1: Carry practitioner only products and brands
One great tip Darryl shared was to carry product that is NOT AVAILABLE at the big box stores or pharmacies. Carry products that are practitioner only products that are only available to rehab clinics like physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists.
This is where working with key suppliers like Clinic Supplies Canada works to your advantage. CSC has the biggest selection of preferred professional brands. For instance, Bauerfeind, DonJoy, MedSpec, M Brace, and more. You won’t find these in the chain stores and all of the top brands provide top quality products you can rely upon.
Also depending on where the clinician went to school and trained, they will have a preference for a specific brand. It's best to ask them what product brands they prefer if you want them to start selling product at your clinic. You will get way more buyin!
#2: Work with the right supplier
Another tip is to work with suppliers who offer hassle free returns on products, like CSC. Or even better, an order-on-demand service that allows you to order per patient so you don’t have to stock inventory - CSC offers this service, too.
TRY SELLING ON DEMAND & NOT CARRY INVENTORY
Our goal here at CSC is to make it easier for you to sell products to patients. When a patient has a problem, you get your front desk to take payment and submit the order after the patient’s appointment. We send it to you within 2 days (in most cases), so by the time the patient comes in for their next appointment, you can fit the item and show them how to use it.
If it’s the wrong fit, simply send it back, no questions asked, and we can replace it with something more suitable. This makes the goal of selling products low risk for you, not to mention it provides the best service to patients to aid their fast recovery.
HOW TO SELL MORE PRODUCT
#1: Display products effectively to drive more sales
There are right ways and wrong ways to display products. Do it wrong and it will decrease your product sales. On the other hand, do it right and you’ll instantly see your product sales go up.
There are four secrets to selling more product at your clinic:
1) Product must be displayed in your highest traffic area (reception counter and waiting area).
2) Product must be accessible so patients can touch them.
3) Products are recommended by the clinicians on a regular basis.
4) Get your front desk to show the product again and ask for the sale
#2: Always stock bestsellers
The best items to stock should be products that don't have too many sizes (ie left or right or small/medium/large) and products that sell quickly in your clinic. The rest you can order on demand.
There are five popular product categories that you should consider - pain relief, home exercise, bracing and supports, compression therapy, and pillow and lumbar supports.
By stocking these popular items (and displaying them using the guidelines above), you’ll skyrocket your chances of increasing your revenue.
Then, all you have to do is order on demand for higher dollar items or items that aren’t needed as often.
#3: Talk to patients about products on day one
Don’t wait to start the conversation about products with patients. It’s inevitable that patients will all need a helping hand outside of the hands on treatment you offer. Therefore, on the day of their initial assessment, preframe and give all patients a heads up that you will be introducing selective products into their care plan, products that will help them with faster more effective recovery.
Just to point out again: YOU ARE THE HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.
Patients want to get better, and products can help them do that. Patients not only want you to recommend things, they expect it. It’s all part of you offering complete care.
When you approach this from the very first assessment, then talk about and show them suitable products in the weeks to come, they already expect that and won't feel like you just are trying to 'sell them.'
Most patients won’t feel like you’re doing a hard sell anyway. It’s only clinicians who have this fear. Patients will buy the products anyway and they are much better off buying quality products from your clinic than low quality products from the big chain stores.
There’s lots of takeaways above you can implement.