If you’re a pharmacy owner and you missed the 2018 PDS Super-Conference, you left vast opportunities to grow your pharmacy on the table. That is the truth, plain and simple.
There were over 2,000 in attendance including the most progressive owners and professionals in the independent pharmacy industry. All of them piqued and ready to engage in the knowledge-sharing culture that has become synonymous with Pharmacy Development Services. Let’s break down PDS 2018.
Who Attends PDS’ Premier Pharmacy Business Conference?
To sum it up, they are life-long learners. Registering for a conference is easy, showing up is the next step, but it doesn’t guarantee value for your investment. Pharmacy owners that leave with new business insight and a clear understanding of what needs to be done once back at the grindstone have a singular quality that makes the difference between being in attendance and being truly present and engaged.
In the words of our leadership keynote speaker; they are ‘Learn-It-Alls.’ Our most engaged attendees and successful members understand that…
- There is hope and opportunity to grow in the independent pharmacy industry. Owners get frustrated by challenges facing their pharmacies such as DIR fees, below-cost reimbursements, and PBM abuses. Through thoughtful and active participation, the learners quickly realize that there is a way to make those issues irrelevant. Opening up to a new way of thinking allowed them to leave the show understanding that opportunity is right around the corner (and ready for the taking) when they focus on the factors within their control.
- They are not the smartest person in the room. As Dan Benamoz is fond of saying, if he thinks he is the smartest person in the room, he’s in the wrong room! The people who attend are the top-performing owners in pharmacy who continue to climb because they know that they discover more growth by learning from each other. The PDS Learners ask questions, try new things, and empower their teams. The result is a thriving culture with an inspired pharmacy team operating at the top of their pharmacy license.
- There is no competition among independents. We have a culture within the PDS membership that no independent competes with another. The heart of our mission is the idea that we lift each other up to reach new heights of success. After all, the more we help others, the greater our success will be. This credo is palpable at the conference, with so many of our attendees connecting and fostering beneficial relationships with each other.
Who Was on the Stage at The PDS Super-Conference?
We’re just bursting at the seams with pride on the caliber of presentations that graced the big stage on all three days. We can’t go through all of them here, but check out some of the highlights of the show:
- John Maxwell | #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach and world-renowned leadership expert treated us to the Five Levels of Leadership. He was a huge crowd-pleaser and captivated the audience with crucial leadership principles every pharmacy owner should understand as they aim to grow into a better leader.
- J.R. Martinez | “We all grow up with goals for ourselves…but sometimes we can’t take the most direct path to our dreams.” J.R. Martinez talked about how to adapt and overcome anything that life throws your way with resiliency, determination, and a sense of humor.
- Earvin “Magic” Johnson | Wow, his presentation was “magic!” The attendees were riveted by his presentation on “The Winning Way,” where he taught us how to build and empower high-performance teams that support the vision of their pharmacies.
- Steve Gutzler | One of the nation’s top thought leaders on emotional intelligence, personal transformation, and leadership development. This interactive and engaging keynote walked our PDS learners through the ‘How-To’ of tapping into their full potential and performing at the top of their game under pressure.
- Jeff Philipp and Josh McJilton | Unveiling PDS’ new version of proprietary software, RxAnalytcs, Jeff and Josh revealed our show-stopper on stage. This new software will enable PDS members to truly get behind their business analytics to discover the clear path to profitable scripts. But you’ll have to be a member to test drive!
Don’t Just Listen to Us
The reviews are in! We’ve been fortunate to have a flood of positive feedback about PDS2018. Instead of us going on about it; we’ll let them tell you what they thought:
“You get so much out of being there and taking time to focus on yourself and your business. It is also great for networking and meeting like-minded people within our industry and learning new growth opportunities.”
“It is a no brainer. My mistake is that I watched the free webinars for 5-6 years and didn’t join sooner. The cost scared me off for years. I didn’t think it could be ‘worth it.’ I was wrong. PDS helps your financials tremendously, but it changes your culture and your quality of life even more. As pharmacists, we all make a bunch of money no matter what. It isn’t about the money, it is about seeing the change in you, your staff, your patients and your family. Just do it. You will thank me later.”
“Every independent pharmacy owner is leaving money on the table, and I believe the programs PDS has in place addresses that. “
“Don’t wait around any longer and expect opportunity and success to trip and fall into your lap — get up, surround yourself with the best, and go find it.”
Special Edition Pharmacy Podcast featuring Highlights from PDS2018
Conference Guest Todd Eury, with Pharmacy Podcast, interviewed conference attendees and PDS Founder, Dan Benamoz, CEO, Jeff Phillip, and featured exhibitor Wellgistics.
- Hear more about why Bill Henning, Pharmacist and Owner of Giant Genie Pharmacy continues to not only invest in the PDS Super-Conference but has also started bringing key staff to attend as well.
- Cliff Holt of Hurricane Family Pharmacy has been attending for ten years, in spite of his initial plans to sign up for only one year. Once locked into PDS value, he realized that membership is a key investment he couldn’t afford NOT to make.
- Learn about the goal that PDS has to become THE catalyst for independent industry growth and how we will leverage the extensive network of independents and industry exhibitors to make 2018 the best year for independent pharmacy.
Watch it For Yourself!
Now you don’t have to leave profitability, stronger leadership skills, and an upshift on culture on the table. You can still watch the 2018 PDS Super-Conference from the comfort of your own home. We have the Livestream available for those who wish to purchase at a special price… and you can watch it with your team! But hurry, access to the Livestream ends on March 31st.
We’ll be the first to admit that the cards are stacked against pharmacy owners. Pharmacies are faced with fees, clawbacks and dwindling reimbursements at every turn. It’s no wonder many are trying creative methods to squeeze extra profit from any source they can find in order to avoid shrinking margins. Your PBM could make matters far worse. Optum users, we’re looking at you. Read on to find out more.
The creative method we’re referring to is the practice of choosing smaller wholesalers in order to save a few bucks. Generally, this makes sense. You pay less for a drug on the wholesale level to increase margins on the retail side. But this is a slippery slope, especially if your wholesaler is not compliant.
What Does Compliance Have to Do With Profit?
For pharmacies that contract with Optum, everything.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably know that Optum is one of the “Big Three” PBMs responsible for 80% of all insurance claims. Starting April 1, 2018, Optum is requiring all wholesalers and suppliers to be VAWD Certified and if they’re not, the pharmacy dispensing the drug can expect audits, clawbacks and possibly even loss of the contract.
This is why it’s so imperative that you do not unsuspectingly fall into this hole while you’re chasing a marginal increase. Is a 2% bump worth an audit or a loss of contract?
What is a VAWD Certification Anyways?
VAWD stands for Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributor.
This credential is in addition to the standard operating procedures that are required to get licensed in each individual state. In the United States, each state has their own set of guidelines required to become a wholesaler. What is required by one state, may not be in another and can cause potential misfires when doing business across state lines. The VAWD certification is important because in some states, it is very easy to get a wholesale license and the standards for where the drugs can be sourced from is more relaxed.
VAWD ensures that not only is the wholesaler meeting the qualifications and standards of their home state, but they’re also meeting the qualifications of all 50 states, the FDA, and more.
While this certification is raising the drug chain standards, stopping gray market drugs and is safer for the patients, it does create an extra layer of headaches for pharmacy owners.
Find Out More in Our Crucial Latest eBook
In our latest eBook, the Pharmacy Wholesaler Buyer Beware Guide we’ll show you what those extra layers of headaches look like for owners and how to ensure you’re properly protecting your pharmacy.
In this FREE eBook, you’ll also learn…
- What it means to be VAWD certified
- How to identify wholesalers that could be harming your standing with Optum
- Why sourcing the cheapest drugs isn’t always worth the risk
- The 3 questions to ask your new and existing suppliers
- The impact reputable wholesalers can have on your bottom line and patients’ lives (We’re talking $3,000 in additional profits per week!)
Download the eBook now and save yourself or a fellow pharmacy owner from the dreaded clawback, audit or lost contract.
Launch Your Profitability the Right Way
Why make an extra 1–8% in profits and risk your Optum contract by saving pennies on a wholesaler, when you can earn thousands towards your bottom line by doing what the most successful pharmacies do?
Come see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life and improve the profitability of your pharmacy that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of the PDS Super-Conference after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.
Still Not Convinced?
If attending a career-changing event is not for you at this time, you can join the discussion on topics just like this one, with other owners on PDSadvantage. It’s free to join and allows you to access the pharmacy owner forum and participate in these trending topics. Click here to create your free account on PDSadvantage,
Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce Liberty Software; read on for their sponsored blog post about the benefits improving patient care and profitability through strategic efficiency.
Independent pharmacy is no stranger to competition. The industry becomes tighter by the day and owners have to look for innovative ways to stay above the curve. We can all agree we’re in the business of helping others, but we also need to make a profit to stay in business.
One solution many owners ignore lies behind the pharmacy counter. Improving the workflows behind the pharmacy counter will drive your business into better productivity, better patient care, and better profitability.
Below, we’ve included five significant steps that you can take to improve your pharmacy’s workflows – in turn improving both the care you provide your patients and your profit margins.
Examine the Status Quo.
Examine the current state of your business. How are technicians and pharmacists operating now? Are there pain points or bottlenecks in existing workflows? Speaking with technicians and pharmacists who do the work every day is one of the best ways to identify areas for improvement.
If you don’t measure where you are now, how will you measure whether changes are positively impacting your business? Scripts filled per hour is a good starting point. Consider using software to track data entry errors. Customize your metrics to your company’s unique practices and needs.
Improve the Use of Space.
You want to physically minimize the amount of movement involved in filling a script, as well as make sure technicians and pharmacists aren’t vying for the use of the same space at the same time. Small slowdowns can add up to big drops in productivity, so focusing on your most-used spaces and heavy-traffic areas, both for employees and customers, can make a big difference in your pharmacy’s productivity.
Your employees need to be operating at the top of their licensed capabilities to provide the best service to your customers. Pharmacists shouldn’t have to spend time doing the work of technicians, and technicians don’t need to spend time on processes that could be automated. From automatic prescription processing to software that minimizes time spent on data entry, automating repetitive pharmacy workflow operations can have a measurable impact on your bottom line.
Focus on Strategy.
Strategic decision-making shouldn’t be limited to upper-management, back-office meetings. Get your staff on board with the company’s big-picture plan, and you’ll be aligning your entire operation around the same goals. Don’t hand down mandates – ask those in the trenches for their considerable expertise and input.
As you implement changes based on these steps, remember to periodically step back and measure the effects of those changes. Move slowly – don’t implement 20 new initiatives at once, or you’ll have a hard time determining what caused the changes you’ve measured. Deliberate, strategic moves in collaboration with your highly qualified staff will help your business maximize pharmacy workflow and profits in a challenging market.
About the Author:
Pharmacy software for pharmacy success. Liberty Software helps pharmacies improve profitability, increase patient safety, and enhance patient care. Here at Liberty, we believe that we have designed a revolutionary pharmacy management software platform. Why do we say that? It’s not just the technology, although it is built on Microsoft’s newest technology platform. It’s not just the feature list, although it is impressive. More than anything, we believe that it is the user experience. Prescriptions can be filled quickly and accurately while protecting patient safety. Many pharmacists say that it is the easiest software they have ever used.
What we’re about to show you will likely make your blood boil. It did ours. These are pictures you must see to affirm your sneaking suspicion that yes, you are in fact getting duped by PBMs, such as CVS Caremark.
The images below were provided by a fellow pharmacy owner and were obtained during the process of filing a MAC appeal with the Medicaid HMO, Molina. Like many owners who bill to CVS Caremark, she noticed a consistent pattern of being underpaid on reimbursements. In response to the complaint, she received the following files which show the charges to Molina for the prescription, a stark contrast to what her pharmacy received.
|Prescription||Amount Submitted by Pharmacy||Molina Paid Caremark||Pharmacy Reimbursement||PBM Spread|
|Guanfacine HCL ER 2 MG tablets ER 24H||$320.00||$121.55||$7.60||$113.95|
|Neomycin-Polymixin-Hydrocor 3.5-10K-1 solution||$106.00||$50.32||$5.40||$44.92|
Images one and two show what Molina paid CVS Caremark for two prescriptions while images three and four show what the pharmacy was paid. This highlights the reality that pharmacies are regularly underpaid for prescriptions while the insurance plans are charged far more, and the PBM gets to keep a considerable spread of profits in their pocket.
We’ve also attached the documents for download here.
What This Means
There are approximately 22,000 independent pharmacies in the United States. If we looked at the Guanfacine prescription alone, the yearly payout to PBMs is $29,832,000 if the baseline assumption is that pharmacies nationwide fill this script once a month.
MAC list pricing by PBMs puts independent pharmacy owners at a considerable disadvantage. Adding insult to injury, the majority of the pharmacy owners on the PDSadvantage message board are in agreement that the appeals process is ineffective. A best-case scenario is periodic price adjustments depending on the appeal, which, in the long run, never affect changes in pricing for pharmacy owners as a whole. Overall, this process is designed to force busy owners to choose between below cost reimbursements or an endless cycle of appeals with little change in outcome. Many argue that the effort invested in submitting appeals isn’t worth it because the core of the problem isn’t addressed, and it takes up precious time that should be spent on growing the business, not in the pharmacy.
Fight Smarter, Not Harder
CVS Caremark and other Pharmacy Benefits Managment companies, such as the other 2 of the “Big 3,” OptumRx and Express Scripts, will continue to intentionally narrow the gap between reimbursement and acquisition cost while keeping the appeals process ineffective in the face of repeated price adjustments. This leaves independent pharmacies underwater. We at PDS don’t count ourselves among those who think fighting is futile. The answer is fighting smarter, not harder by making these issues and any other unfair regulations IRRELEVANT to how you operate your pharmacy business. Here and now, we can affect change that will make issues like unfair MAC pricing a blip on the radar. If we come together, our own collective and individual success will be exponentially greater than any threat the PBMs can sling. Filing appeals is a start, but alone it is not the answer. Informed pharmacy owners know that the focus should be on putting effort toward strategies that directly impact your bottom line.
Taking Matters into Our Own Hands, Together
There are over 1,800 pharmacy owners and professionals that know the value of fighting smarter with a proven plan, backed by a community that supports and stands with them. This gathering happens every February in Orlando, Florida.
Independent pharmacy owners just like you gather with the experts and titans of the industry to:
Give owners proven, sustainable strategies that will pay immediate dividends
Light the passion for pharmacy most owners lose in the landscape of this unfair game
Give you the confidence to battle MAC pricing, DIR fees, below-cost reimbursements and any other obstacle in your way – and win
Find your people. Fellow owners that are walking the same path as you. The value of this support and knowledge-sharing is priceless. If you’d like to continue to file appeals and disputes on your own, we commend you. At least you’re doing something and making your voice heard, but that is not your only recourse.
Attend the PDS Super-Conference and see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.
Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce LP3 Network; read on for their sponsored blog post about the benefits of blended learning in your pharmacy.
At some point in our educational careers, we have all found ourselves thinking:
- Is this really the most exciting way to learn something new?
- Is this an efficient way to learn?
With advances in instructional design and the implementation of blended learning concepts, continuing professional development is being reshaped and revitalized, allowing people to obtain the training they require in an exciting and stimulating manner.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a newly successful practice that involves a hybrid of traditional and practical methodology.
The world of compounding encompasses both new and experienced pharmacists/technicians, all of whom need initial and ongoing training to safely compound personalized medications for their patients. Unfortunately, the specialized knowledge required to compound is not taught in most pharmacy programs. For those who wish to learn more about pharmacy compounding, there are now solutions available that do not require tedious and uninvolved classroom-like courses.
The most engaging and effective way to learn is through hands-on experience. Especially in a profession like pharmaceutical compounding, the skills needed to create quality preparations are most readily obtained through real-life observations and demonstrations. In laboratory trainings, participants get the chance to prepare different dosage forms and work with innovative equipment in a compliant environment. Laboratory trainings are undoubtedly valuable; however, subject knowledge on the matter is vital as a prerequisite.
The optimal form of training is a combination of theoretical and practical methods — blending the two.
Using self-paced learning with an interactive live course, success and retention are optimized. Providing both the background knowledge and hands-on experience enables participants to successfully compound in their own pharmacy. This unique form of blended learning ensures that participants are fully briefed with the specific knowledge required prior to hands-on activities in a lab.
This hybrid teaching method is undoubtedly the ideal way to learn best practices and enhance competency retention, as it allows participants to absorb the material at their own pace through home studying, followed by training with subject-matter experts in a state-of-the-art compounding laboratory.
Next time you’re in the market to truly train your team or yourself on invaluable strategies that will grow your pharmacy, look out for ways to make learning fun and practical. You will not regret it! The ability to incorporate the wisdom gained through live event courses into a pharmacist’s everyday practice is invaluable. But more importantly, a hybrid learning experience brings excitement back into the curious minds of pharmacists.
About the Author:
At LP3 Network, the educational process is reinvented in engaging ways. With a vast spectrum of courses to choose from, participants can learn all the things they need to lead a successful compounding career. The style of courses vary to suit every person’s individual needs from:
- Home studies
- Live events (seminars and laboratory trainings)
Our courses allow pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to reinforce their theoretical knowledge and provide compounding pharmacists with concrete training that they can use in their everyday profession. This blended approach allows participants to choose when and where they want to learn more about compounding. With busy agendas, it is often difficult for participants to follow a rigorous course schedule. There are now many options for participants, affording them the opportunity to study at their own pace, and choose the learning methods that suit them best.
Do you remember taking marketing or business classes in pharmacy school? Yea, we didn’t think so. That’s because pharmacy schools don’t teach for pharmacy ownership. Owners must go out and find unique and impactful ways to grow their business. Most do it through trial and error, and we respect those that do because that means they’re in for the hustle! But if you’re reading this blog, you know that there are better ways to grow your business than to take unnecessary risks on your money and time.
These better ways involve putting your faith in your pharmacy owner peers and trusted pharmacy experts. These people have done the research and development for you and have replicated success time and again. It all boils down to one question:
Would you walk away from proven results, incredible ROI, and steeper growth in your pharmacy?
Many owners will read this and walk away. We get it, no one likes to change unless their life depends on it. For those who are willing to jump in and get their feet wet, we’re talking to you.
At the PDS Super-Conference, we’re pulling out all the stops to make every single moment a teachable one. Learn more about how to drive growth, build a productive culture and increase profitability among the most elite pharmacy owners in the country. Come see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life and improve the profitability of your pharmacy that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of the PDS Super-Conference after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.
If you’re like many of the 20,000+ independent pharmacy owners in the nation, you went to the business school of life… which means that you didn’t go to business school at all. You rely on different sources from networking to online literature (like this blog!), business coaching and everything in between.
Fear not, weary warrior. We’re here to bring you a powerful, yet simple tool you can use with your team to uncover the next big opportunity your pharmacy can leverage.
We’re talking about a SWOT Analysis. If you have heard of this, you know that this is a simple, yet powerful tool. When used thoroughly and thoughtfully, it can help identify your business’ strengths and weaknesses as well as any opportunities and threats that lie in wait to stall your growth. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. As far as general business strategy, this handy little tool can be a starting point to open up major team discussions.
You guessed it, we have the worksheet you can download right here!
Make sure you download and print the file first, then read below with your team to learn how to use the matrix.
Conducting a SWOT Analysis on Your Business
(Do this with your team!)
Do you have your worksheet ready and printed out? Good!
A SWOT matrix is normally a worksheet divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant represents one element of the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Each quadrant should ask a series of custom questions you can answer to fill in that quadrant. Focus on the questions that are most relevant for your business, community and current situation.
Dig Deep and Ask Relevant Questions
For this section, think about the attributes of yourself, your team and your business that will helpyou achieve your objective. Sample questions to get you started:
- Where are you most profitable in your business?
- What do you do exceptionally well?
- What skills do you have that are unique to you, your team and your location?
- What are your specialties?
- What do you do better than your competitors?
For this section, think about the attributes of yourself, your team and your business that could hurtyour progress in achieving your objective. Sample questions to get you started:
- What areas do you need to improvement?
- What areas do you need more education or experience?
- What parts of your business are not very profitable?
- Do you lack any resources?
- What are the initiatives that cost you time and/or money?
For this section, think about the external conditions that will help you achieve your objective. Sample questions to get you started:
- What are your current business goals?
- Are there untapped target audiences you can reach?
- How can you improve your current customer experience or customer wellness?
- Is there technology that you can apply to improve your business?
- Can you think of any supplemental products and services that provide an opportunity for your business?
For this section, think about the external conditions that could damage your business’s performance. Sample questions to get you started:
- What are your obstacles?
- What is going on in the economy that can potentially affect your business?
- What is going on in the industry that can potentially affect your business?
- What are the strengths of your biggest competitors?
- What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
You’ve Filled it Out! Now What?
This worksheet won’t help you unless you can analyze the data you’ve compiled and put it into action. While going through, you may have already identified some strategies and goals for your business. Your next steps should be:
- Create a plan to expand on the strengths you’ve identified
- Identify ways you can diminish, dispell or defer your weaknesses
- Set achievable goals for each of the opportunities you have identified
- Use your strengths to decrease the threats you identified
Mix It Up.
Now the opportunities should start flying off the page. Explore ways in which you can combine your strengths and opportunities to develop new strategies. Try combining strengths and threats to identify threats you can eliminate and look at your weaknesses and opportunities to create a list of areas ready for improvement.
You should also make a list of areas to avoid that fall under weaknesses and threats. Once you can read your data and understand the recordings, you can find ways to use it strategically. The best part is that you can use this tool over and over again to explore new opportunities, uncover lurking threats, and improve your business year after year.
Join us at the PDS Super-Conference
If you’re ready to accelerate your success, profitability, and team, now is your chance to act. Come see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life and improve the profitability of your pharmacy that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of the PDS Super-Conference after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.
This is a philosophy I share with almost all pharmacy owners whenever we speak about employee performance. Why? While managing people is often labeled as daunting, everyone understands the fundamentals of sports.
From the players on your team to the programs, or plays, you implement on the “court,” the same mindset and skills required to craft the best basketball team can be applied to operating a wildly-success pharmacy business.
That’s why I’m thrilled to welcome Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the greatest athletes of all time, onto the stage at the 2018 PDS Super-Conference this coming February.
While he was a sensational talent in the 13 years he played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, what was magic about him, and still is to this day, was that he understood how to make his teammates look great. He was the consummate team player and understood that while individuals score points, teams win championships.
In fact, since retiring, he has translated that skill into the business world and has continually invested ownership in many lucrative businesses including movie theaters, urban real estate developments, restaurants, an infrastructure fund, EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, ASPiRE television network, professional sports teams and others. Recently, he was named the President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers.
And that’s exactly what I want him to share at the conference — that business is no different than sports. That if you look at your business as a game you want to win, you will see massive results in your business, bottom line, and, ultimately, your life.
- Your front line is your bottom line. The teams with the best players win. Every pharmacy owner wants a superstar team that will generate new business, solve problems and engage with the customers. But the downside is that high-performance people need to be surrounded by other rock stars. The question is… what are you going to accept or tolerate? As businesses evolve, so do the type of employees needed to execute the plan. Just because they were a great employee 15 years ago doesn’t always guarantee they are a high-performer today. You must continually evaluate your team and fill out the ranks with remarkable talent.
- Your Culture Is a Defensive Strategy. Just because you sell the exact same products to the exact same people doesn’t mean you’re in the same business. Your pharmacy’s culture – your team’s bond – is the intangible that’s driving competition wild. It’s almost as if they stick their head in and they look and see, “How much merchandise do you have? How is it merchandised? What’s the price?” Nobody considers “Wow, they make you feel welcome here. They’re knowledgeable. They’re trained. They’re personable. They care.” When you focus on fostering a stellar culture within the four walls of your pharmacy, it actually becomes both an offensive and defensive strategy. After all, your competition doesn’t steal your customers, you give them away.
- Be Coachable and Work the Playbook. Johnson and his team went to the NBA Finals nine of the 13 years he was on the team. They didn’t get there alone. They had numerous coaches with strategies that led them to countless victories. Not only do you need to have top-notch employees, you also need to work with experts who can look at your business from the outside and provide a roadmap to success, access to ideas and programs, that will turn your ideas into a reality and significantly add to your pharmacy’s bottom line. The amount of time you spend thinking about your business – identifying opportunities, evaluating weakness, etc – versus grinding away at your task list, should be just as much as an athlete practices. However, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. Work with an expert who can see you shoot and fine-tune your skills along the way.
Simply shifting your perspective can change your reality. From innovative perspectives, extraordinary networking, data-driving solutions, this three-day event gives you the playbook to make you even more profitable. This is where the superstars of the independent pharmacy industry go year after year to continually improve and learn how to win championships. Our pharmacy programs are the industry’s best-kept secret. Come see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life and improve the profitability of your pharmacy that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of the PDS Super-Conference after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.
Flu season is upon us, and as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How will you be conveying that message to your patients this flu season?
Here are 22 marketing tactics to position your independent pharmacy as the go-to for their healthcare needs this flus season. The ideas below are all highly effective with little to no-cost investment. Whether you choose to implement one or all of the ideas, they’ll make your job a lot easier and your pharmacy marketing tools much more effective by keeping your brand top of mind.
1. Flu shot gift cards. This is a simple flu shot solution for younger patients with elderly parents, friends or neighbors. Have the gift cards available at your cash register and strategically place some signage throughout the store. Your all-star pharmacy team should also be trained to mention this offer while the patient is receiving their shot. Before you know it, your independent pharmacy can be the go-to healthcare destination in the community.
2. On-site flu shots to local businesses. The flu takes a real toll on workplace productivity. Reach out to local business leaders and organizations offering them the solution they didn’t know they needed. Send a letter or make a personal phone call offering to administer on-site vaccinations. Take the stress off their plate allowing them to focus on running their business while you build yours.
3. Send out a voice broadcast to your past flu shot customers. If they received a vaccination in the past, they’re likely to continue. Consider sending a voice broadcast to elderly and diabetic patients. Remember these best practices while you’re planning the campaign:
- Create a short script that runs no longer than 30 seconds.
- Avoid scheduling the call too early in the morning, too late at night or during typical dinner times.
- Think about what type of voice would be pleasing to the ear.
- Don’t forget to give the customer the ability to opt-out from receiving future calls.
4. Record helpful and educational videos. Engage and education existing and potential customers. Videos can be posted to your website, shared on social media, played in the store or linked in an email campaign. Here are a few video suggestions to get you started:
- Demonstrate how flu shots are pain-free and easy to administer by using a live patient (make sure you get their consent first!).
- Create a fun, candid video
- Tap into the knowledge of a staff pharmacist or the pharmacy owner and ask them to record an educational video. Sample topics: The Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Flu Season (tie-in products they can buy in the store) or How to Wash Your Hands Effectively
- PRO TIP: Ask a child to join you in the video – their mom will surely show it to 20 people.
5. Record a new on-hold message. Sometimes putting patients on hold is unavoidable. Make the most of this (hopefully) brief hold and remind them about the importance of getting a flu vaccination. Keep the message short and to the point and when your done conducting the business that they called about, ask them if they’d like to schedule their flu shot appointment
6. Place a sign by the road that reads, Flu Shots Here. Simple, cost-effective, and most importantly, it works.
7. Pass out “I got my flu shot, did you?” stickers to each flu shot customer. This patient will be a one-day walking advertisement and testimonial for your pharmacy.
PRO TIP: Take pictures of customers wearing their stickers and post a collage of these on your social sites. Make sure to ask for their consent first! These customers will share the image on it. Influencer marketing at its best!
8. Have FAQ and Fact Sheets, both in English and Spanish (or any other language prevalent in your location), available in the pharmacy waiting area.
9. Hang flyers around your pharmacy and on community bulletin boards.
10. Send customized letters to families with children, diabetic patients, your elderly customers, pregnant women, etc.
11. Educate your staff on the benefits of getting a flu shot and train them so they can effectively “sell” to your patients.
12. Send a text message reminder to your customers that have opted-in to receive messages from your pharmacy.
- The flu claims an avg of 36,000 lives and hospitalizes more than 200,000 people every year. Schedule a flu shot by calling xxx-xxxx.
- Flu season is just around the corner, protect yourself by getting a flu shot at ____________.
- Stay healthy this winter, get a flu shot. Call ___________ to set up an appointment.
13. Offer a $10 coupon to the store with every flu shot. Restrict the coupons to OTC items only and only on a $20 sale or more.
14. Set up a synchronization alert to automatically remind this year’s flu shot patients when it’s time to come back next year. This strategy works well for any appointment or event in your pharmacy — diabetic shoe reminders, cholesterol testing days, etc. Do you have a medsync program in place? If not, you’re missing out! Here’s a great place to start.
15. Offer free Vitamin C to the community. Position your efforts as a way to keep the community healthy during the season. Not only will it put your pharmacy in a good light, it will also get people to spread the news about your efforts and get people to walk into your store.
16. Add a widget to your blog or website. Go to the CDC website and download one of the many data and statistics widgets they offer for health-related websites and blogs.
17. Inform your Facebook and Twitter communities by uploading your ads, videos, reminders, and exclusive promotions.
18. Set up an after-hours flu shot clinic for professionals that are stuck in the office during your pharmacy’s hours.
19. Write blog posts about the flu season and how to stay healthy. Suggestions: The Truth About Flu Shots, How to Stay Healthy During Flu Season, and What to Do if You Catch the Flu.
20. Staple bag stuffers to each bag leaving the pharmacy with flu flyers.
21. Update your monthly pharmacy newsletter with an ad, educational article, or information hotline number geared about the flu season.
22. Update your pharmacy voice mail message. Include a quick recap of benefits and how they can make an appointment.
Not sure where to start? Voice broadcast scripts, bag stuffers, flyers, FAQ sheets in English and Spanish, etc. can be found in the PDS Advantage Library by searching the keyword “flu.” These documents were designed as basic templates; feel free to edit the information to fit the needs of your pharmacy. Don’t have a PDS Advantage account? If you are a valid pharmacy professional, you can set one up for free here! Begin testing out a few of these ideas this week, and let us know what else you would recommend, or what has worked for your pharmacy in the comments below.
Pharmacy ownership doesn’t have to be scary. Sure, the industry is filled with pitfalls and roadblocks, but there’s no need to fear! Here are four pharmacy rules to get you through this Friday the 13th and beyond.
You can survive and come out the other side with a thriving successful pharmacy.
Don’t Go Swimming
What does swimming have to do with running a successful pharmacy? What we’re trying to say is there is no need to jump into the deep lake in the woods when you don’t have the bandwidth or experience — aka if you aren’t ready to leave the pool you know. Focus on what you do exceptionally well and execute (chainsaw pun intended) to the best of your ability. Take the time to improve processes in your Synchronization program, create an excellent patient experience, provide the best customer service in town. Once you have mastered the skill of swimming in one pool, find yourself a new lake to conquer and repeat the process. Take on the lake of RxAnalytics or implement a Clinical Services program. Rushing to do more than what you are realistically capable of will only lead to trouble.
Don’t Run From the Killer if You Can Fight and WIN
There’s a lot of competition out there, but you can’t be scared to compete. The PBM’S, DIR fees, and big chain stores may be intimidating when they are staring you down, but there isn’t any reason for you to run. You have two secret weapons these competitors can’t offer and they will help you beat the competition every time. What is it that will help you succeed in the face of danger?
- SECRET WEAPON #1: You have a network of pharmacy owners out there just like you that are ready and willing to engage in a knowledge-sharing culture.
Our industry-only message board generates hundreds of posts a week that address everything from technical challenges, to the best kind of shoes to wear when working the bench. The PDS Super-Conference is an exceptional opportunity to engage with the industry elite in person. Many are willing to share their wins, losses, tips, and tricks if it means keeping the industry moving forward.
- SECRET WEAPON #2: Your insider knowledge of your community.
You know the healthcare needs of your area better than any box chain ever could, and this information can be leveraged to impact areas like your profitability, team building, and implementing new revenue streams. Next time you’re looking at a scary competitor, reach for the tools you have to stand up to those that want to see you fall.
If You Trip, Get Up and Keep Running
You can’t just give up when you’re being chased through the woods. Running a business isn’t fool-proof, you will make mistakes as you go. Spending your time and efforts on building prescription volume when you could be leveraging the data in your pharmacy is a mistake, and most pharmacy owners have made it. Some just lay down and accept their fate, but those that see success are the ones who got up and figured out where they should be focusing instead.
Don’t Split Up
Power in numbers. This is true in the horror movies and in the independent pharmacy industry. Our members are the top 25% of the industry, the cutting edge when it comes to pharmacy operations and profitability. In fact, some of our members have become such rockstars in the industry, they are training facilitators for PDS to teach their strategies to other owners. Our RxAnalytics program not only looks at your specific pharmacy data but puts it into the context of other member pharmacies. Independent doesn’t mean alone, our network of approved vendors, subject matter experts, and ever-growing industry-only message board keeps independents engaged and connected for long-term success.
Running your pharmacy business should be fun, not scary. If it’s scary for you, that is a red flag. Talk to us! We can help you lay down a plan to navigate your business to make it through the woods. Or better yet, talk to your peers on the PDS Advantage Industry Message Board (it’s free to sign up and start connecting!). They’ll tell you what we already know — there’s nothing scarier than the unknown.
Join Us at The PDS Super-Conference
Come to the place where the industry meets. This 3-day event is the only event dedicated to pharmacy business growth. Our amazing Lineup of speakers, experts and vendors will blow you away — not to mention the lifetime connections you will make with your fellow attendees. What are you waiting for? Click below to save your seat before we sell out! Come see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life and improve the profitability of your pharmacy that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of the PDS Super-Conference after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.