5 Key Takeaways from PDS 2019

PDS Super-Conference

2019 PDS Super-Conference

Every February, the most progressive pharmacy owners from across the country arrive in Orlando to spend an intensive three days working on their business. We like to say that the PDS Super-Conference is where passion meets innovation. Attendees bring the passion for providing patients with exceptional health care, and PDS brings the innovative strategies that empower owners to adapt and overcome the challenges they face in today’s marketplace, so they can best serve their communities.

This year was packed with incredible information that attendees and members are already leveraging to change the trajectory of their year. For those that weren’t able to attend this year, we have summarized the 5 Key Takeaways from PDS 2019 in this blog and in our latest on-demand webinar with VP of Business Development, Dr. Lisa Faast. Want to get ahead of the curve? Register today for PDS 2020.

Key Takeaway #1: Brand Identity for Independent Pharmacies

2019 is the year for independents to own our ‘Why.’ Pharmacy owners need to brand ourselves differently.

Consider the following questions posed by PDS founder, Dan Benamoz at the Super-Conference:

  • Why should people choose us over their other options?
  • What do we provide that is more valuable than convenience?
  • How do we stand above what has become the status quo, public acceptance of mediocre health care?

How patients experience your pharmacy, the recommendations they get from you, and their other healthcare providers all play a significant role in their decision to stay loyal and come back. Independents must find a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Most patients don’t understand (or care) about the complex ecosystem of insurance and PBMs. They do understand the importance of an informed pharmacist that provides solutions to their specific healthcare needs without breaking the bank. This is the core of PDS’ Pharmacy Brand Promise; you can download your copy HERE, hang it proudly in your store to let your patients know that you’re here to support their needs. Already a PDS Member? Ask your Performance Specialist about access to the print-ready, customizable ads for you to use in your pharmacy today.

Key Takeaway #2: Professional Selling for Independent Pharmacies

Most of us have a vision of a typical salesperson; someone shamelessly pushing you into purchasing products you don’t want or need. In 2019, PDS is challenging pharmacy owners to change this view. The fact is that independents offer critical services and bring valuable knowledge to the community they serve.

We can only impact the health and wellness of our patients if we can communicate what we offer effectively. The ability to communicate and sell your services is critical to the success of your business and the industry. At the PDS, Super-Conference, we brought in three speakers to highlight different ways for attendees to improve their professional sales skills.

Amanda Gore – The Neuroscience of Sales

Your most effective sales tool is connection. Communication and performance expert, Amanda Gore, presented actionable strategies to build relationships and improve communication with your patients, your pharmacy team, and your family. Learn more about leveraging the science of the heart (yes, your feelings) and emotional intelligence to make an impact in your pharmacy and personal life.

Karl Scheible – Minding the Gap, Creating a Great Initial Conversation

We have to sell to do what we love, help people. Success in sales is a direct result of creating alignment between your attitude, behaviors, and technique. Get rid of your self-limiting beliefs, create new actions that empower you and develop a process that you can practice and scale to achieve results.

Dr. Robert Cialdini – Effective, Ethical Influence 

Widely regarded as the ‘Godfather of Influence,’ Dr. Cialdini covered the specifics of the Six Universal Principles of Persuasion. Learn more about the principles that help your patients to overcome uncertainty, build relationships, and understand why they work. This knowledge empowers pharmacy owners to read situations and identify the best technique to convey your message.

Members-Only Training

In addition to the conference presentations, PDS has created a 2-day boot camp, led by sales expert, author, and keynote speaker, Karl Scheible. Learn how to more effectively communicate with prescribers and practice managers and change the trajectory of your business and the quality of care for your patients. Professional sales skills are incredibly important as the landscape of our industry continues to evolve. Don’t be left behind; you can learn how to ethically and effectively have more influence in your business.

Key Takeaway #3: CBD – Cannabinoids

CBD has been around for a few years now, but questions still linger around the product and the legality. Dr. Alex Capano, Medical Director of Ananda Hemp, presented the facts about the potential impact of this soon to be multi-billion dollar industry. It was an informative session that covered the emerging therapeutic potential of CBD and the multiple ways pharmacy owners can leverage this product to expand healthcare services and increase profits.

Key Takeaway #4: Pharmacy Financials

With the multiple hats pharmacy owners wear, managing your financials on top of everything else can seem daunting. At PDS, we think that understanding the financial status of your business is critical for an owner to manage your assets effectively, make data-driven business decisions, and grow your business. If you don’t know the terms, you can’t understand the game.

PDS is now offering an expert pharmacy accounting service. Receive customized reports, traditional bookkeeping that provide unique insight on how to improve your pharmacy. Enjoy the confidence and clarity you get with PDSfinancials.

Key Takeaway #5: Go-To Plays of Successful Leaders

Leadership is learned and earned. Our final keynote speaker, Peyton Manning spoke about creating a positive culture in your pharmacy and developing leadership skills. What got you here won’t get you success at the next level; this is true in sports and in running an independent pharmacy business. Manning shared personal insights from both on and off the football field that resonated with anyone looking to grow as a leader.

Learn what 1,600 thriving independent pharmacies already know; get the impactful insights and scalable strategies to win in 2019. Attending the PDS Super-Conference is a critical component to the success of our industry; for 15 years we have unveiled innovative programs and ideas that have changed the way independents run their business. The above 5 Takeaways are a small piece of what attendees get from the conference. Don’t miss out on another year – register today and start seeing the impact PDS can make on your independent pharmacy.

Click HERE to watch our on-demand webinar with Dr. Lisa Faast as she covers more information about the 5 Key Takeaways from PDS 2019. 

How to Avoid the Top 10 Pharmacy Injury Risks

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 Heffernan Insurance Brokers Pharmacy Insurance, read on for their sponsored blog post about avoiding the top 10 pharmacy injury risks. This post was written by Steve Boone of Heffernan Insurance Brokers Pharmacy Insurance Practice.


pharmacy injury, pharmacy insuranceAsk one hundred people on the street to name the five most dangerous jobs, and “pharmacist” probably won’t be on anyone’s list. But ask any pharmacist and they’ll tell you a pharmacy can be a very dangerous place to work, with injury risks running the gamut from biohazards to back strains. Effectively managing these risks is key to protecting your staff and your bottom line.  

Here are the 10 biggest injury risks most pharmacists face and how to avoid them.  

  1. Infection. One of your biggest risks is being in contact with sick patients who come into your pharmacy while sick with infectious diseases. Clean and disinfect work areas regularly. Wear protective gear such as masks and rubber gloves.  
  2. Slips, trips, and falls. These are some of the leading causes of injury in almost every workplace, and pharmacies are no exception. Keep work areas free of clutter, install and maintain non-slip flooring, ensure you have adequate lighting, and educate your staff on good housekeeping procedures. 
  3. Cuts and burns. Cuts can happen all too easily from sharp instruments, equipment, or broken glassware. Burns can happen when working with heat sealers and other equipment, as well as around electrical cords and appliances. Train your staff in safe work practices, require proper storage of tools, use protective clothing, and have a complete and easily accessible First Aid kit.  
  4. Repetitive motion. Typing and clicking a computer mouse all day can cause shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries. Reading and writing at a workstation for long periods can cause neck pain. Awkward sitting or standing postures can lead to fatigue, tissue damage, and irritation of tendons and muscles. Poor workstation design can cause overextension injuries. Help fend off these repetitive motion injuries with ergonomically designed workstations, tools that automate tasks, and adequate safety training. 
  5. Fatigue. Pharmacists do a lot of standing and walking. Prolonged standing can cause fatigue, back pain, varicose veins, and other issues. Install anti-fatigue mats at fixed workstations, encourage the use of comfortable, closed-toed shoes with good support, and consider using stools to alternate between sitting and standing. 
  6. Strains and sprains. Slipped discs, muscle aches, backaches, and even hemorrhoids can result from lifting heavy objects. Practice safe lifting techniques including getting assistance from a coworker, using assistive equipment such as a dolly, or wearing a back brace. 
  7. Eye strain. Pharmacists stare at a computer screen for many hours on a typical day. Poor lighting, improper computer screen brightness settings, and poorly designed workstations can lead to eye strain, astigmatism, myopia, and migraine headaches. 
  8. Chemical hazards. If you’re compounding drugs, you’re exposed to medication powder, liquid spills, and hazardous vapors. Have safe work procedures in place to handle spills and other mishaps involving harmful substances, and always wear protective gear including eye protection, gowns, and gloves.  
  9. Biological hazards. Most pharmacies today offer flu shots and testing procedures that require skin piercings such as a glucose or cholesterol tests. This means exposure to blood and possibly other bodily fluids that can carry deadly bacteria and viruses. Be safe – always wear protective gear.   
  10. Psychological hazards. Pharmacists often work long hours and deal with a heavy workload, and they’re also subject to abuse by customers or fellow employees. To help alleviate these stresses, review your management and scheduling policies, consider changes to your work environment, and educate your staff about violence awareness, avoidance, and de-escalation. 

Managing these risks can keep your pharmacy safe, while protecting your bottom line from unnecessary medical and legal costs, workers’ compensation claims, and higher workers’ comp premiums.  

Did you know you can also save as much as 10 percent on your workers’ comp premiums just by having a safety manual? To learn more, contact Steve Boone with the Heffernan Insurance Pharmacy Insurance division today. 

About the Author:

Heffernan’s pharmacy-specific insurance program is perfect for the independent pharmacist looking for an experienced insurance broker who can offer a single source package that is tailored for their unique needs.

We offer comprehensive insurance for pharmacy coverage including:

  • Broad Professional Pharmacist Liability Insurance
  • Property Insurance
  • Pharmacy Errors & Omissions / Malpractice / Druggist Liability Insurance
  • Pharmacy BOP (Business Owner’s Policy)
  • Lower Cost Option(s) for Rx Owners
  • High Limits

The Neuroscience of Sales: Amanda Gore

If you’re an independent pharmacy owner, you might already have an idea of how “sales” is supposed to look. Maybe you picture a man in a suit with slicked-back hair who uses every technique in the book to get someone to buy.

We get it: salespeople and selling have a terrible reputation. But the fact remains that if you are running an independent pharmacy, you are, by default, in sales. Selling is a form of communication, and a necessary skill you need to learn if you want to level up your business.

Read on to learn Amanda Gore’s emotional approach to sales and how she uses neuroscience principles to understand human behavior. Hear from Amanda Gore at the 2019 PDS Super-Conference, as she discusses how to connect, educate, and leverage non-traditional sales skills to influence audiences in a way that builds trust and grows your pharmacy.

The Name of the Pharmacy Game: Adaptability

Before we dive into discussing sales skills, keep in mind that owning a business is difficult and you’ll face obstacles that will discourage you. In the independent pharmacy industry, you’ll have to deal with things that are beyond your control, such as legislation, opaque pricing, and reimbursement structures.

There’s no way around it: it’s the price you pay to be an entrepreneur. The solution?

Staying adaptable and learning new skills that will impact growth in your business. Effectively and ethically ‘selling’ your services, ideas, and products is the next evolution for independent pharmacy.

Developing a Modern Sales Mindset 

The first step to mastering sales is getting rid of any preconceived notions. Remember, selling is not about not “manipulating” people to do something. The truth is that you’re always selling. When you’re pitching new ideas to your team or working to increase signups for a pharmacy program, you’re selling.

To be more effective, you must change your perception of your pharmacy patients. Picture everyone that comes into your business as someone that needs your help and the expertise of your pharmacy team. Your pharmacy is not merely a place to get prescriptions filled–it’s a crucial part of the neighborhood where people go to be happy and healthy.

If you have a product that you genuinely believe will help solve your friend’s problem or cure their illness, wouldn’t you do everything you can to convince them to buy it?

Listen Properly (Hardly Anyone Does) & Create Non-Verbal Connections

With the rising popularity of social media, we’re more connected than ever before. However, many of us are still unable to develop real human connections. That’s why as an independent pharmacy owner, you must practice ‘true listening’ with your patients.

Real listening is about…

  • being present with everyone you interact with: your patients, your team, or your prescribers.
  • striving to understand what the other person is trying to convey.
  • paying attention to the other person’s body language, making eye contact, smiling, and giving them your undivided attention.

You’ll realize that just by caring about the subject and addressing your customers’ concerns, your patients will find their way back to your pharmacy time and time again.

A New Way of Thinking 

Your independent pharmacy is a cornerstone in the community. Every day, people are placing their health and wellness in your hands. The personalized care you provide for the community IS the competitive advantage against chains and big-box retailers.

Embrace your role and start connecting with your patients. You can ethically affect positive change in the health and wellness of your community without sacrificing profitability. It’s your duty and responsibility as an independent pharmacy owner to learn how to sell, so you can help solve your customers’ problems.

Sales Skills for Pharmacy Owners 

Independent pharmacies face challenges and roadblocks at every turn, and the need to implement non-traditional revenue streams is greater now than ever. But how can you and your team overcome the difficulty of approaching doctors, administrators, and even patients with your collaboration ideas? How can you do that comfortably and ethically?

The skill you need: Sales. Professional, non-traditional sales skills. 

Learn how to effectively communicate and sell to the audiences that are critical to the success of your business, specifically prescribers, practice managers, patients, and even your own team.

PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.

11 Tax Deductions Most Pharmacy Business Owners Should Tap Into

As a pharmacy owner, the tax law is filled with breaks to help you lower your taxable income and put more money into your pocket at the end of the year. After all, it’s not really about how much you make; it’s how much you keep that matters.

The concept is simple, the more you understand the tax rules, the more tax deductions you can legitimately take, the lower your taxable income will be. The tax breaks not only add to your bottom line, but tax codes can also occasionally have a personal benefit. For example, a combination business trip and vacation. It all depends on paying careful attention to IRS rules on just what is — and isn’t — tax deductible.

11 Tax Deductions Most Pharmacy Owners Should Tap Into

Be sure to check out number 10; it’s our favorite. However, it’s important to know we do not claim to be tax experts, please consult with your accountant or tax adviser for complete information.

  1. Your Home Office – Do you often bring work home? If you have a dedicated workspace, you may be eligible. You don’t need a full room to take advantage of this benefit. If your home office is just part of a room; measure your work area and divide by your home’s square footage. The percentage represents how much of the home-related business expenses that you can claim.
  2. Office supplies – Even if you decide not to take the home-office deduction, you can still deduct the business supplies you buy. Don’t forget to keep the receipts for these expenses to offset your taxable business income.
  3. Computer Systems, Robots, and Other Equipment – Items such as computers, copiers, fax machines, and scanners also are tax deductible.
  4. Subscriptions – Do you subscribe to industry-related magazines? You can take the total costs as a full deduction in the year spent.
  5. Mileage – If your pharmacy delivers or you drive often for other work-related reasons, you’re eligible to receive some of your money back. Keep a record of dates, mileage, tolls, parking costs and the purpose of your trip.
  6. Travel, meals, entertainment and gifts – Good news, small-business travelers, the cost of business travel is tax-deductible.  The cost of travel be it air, rail, or auto, is 100 percent deductible.
  7. Telephone charges – You can deduct the cost of the business calls that you make for business from home. When your bill comes in, circle the business-related calls, total them up and keep a copy for when you file as a reference.
  8. Expenses to start up or expand your business – The biggest mistake in deducting expenses to start up or expand your business is failing to make an election to amortize or deduct these expenses in the first year. A paper election is required to be attached to the return, stating your intention to amortize them. Otherwise, the expenses become nondeductible until you sell or liquidate the business.
  9. Charitable Donations –  Save all your receipts, and don’t forget to keep track of contributions of inventory or property.
  10. OUR FAVORITE: Continuing Education –  The tax law is filled with breaks to help small business owners pay for business education events such as the PDS Super-Conference. After all, the smarter and better trained a business owner is, the more likely she will make more money and benefit the entire economic system.
  11. New tax benefits for 2018 – There are new tax rules for 2018. Some old favorites such as the manufacturing credit are gone and instead new benefits such as possibly expensing your inventory are now in play. This benefit alone is worth tens of thousands of saved tax dollars to most owners! It is vitally important you speak with a tax advisor that is schooled in how pharmacy owners can take maximum advantage of the new tax code.

The window of opportunity for reducing your yearly taxable income is about to slam shut on December 31st. While most of your tax deductions are already set in stone, attending the PDS Super-Conference allows you to reduce your taxable income while simultaneously learning the numerous ways the new tax code will benefit pharmacy owners.

Tom Wheelwright, CPA is the visionary and best-selling author behind multiple companies that specialize in wealth and tax strategy. He will be presenting at the PDS Super-Conference showing pharmacy entrepreneurs how to build wealth through practical and strategic ways to permanently reduce taxes.

December 31st is the last day for you to purchase a ticket to the PDS Super-Conference AND write it off as a tax deduction for the year. As stated above, everything is tax-deductible – from the ticket to travel expenses. Join us this February in Orlando, Florida for the most important pharmacy conference of the year.

PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.

How to Use Persuasion to Increase Patient Buy-In

Are you looking to increase your number of patient transactions? How about getting patients to take advantage of your unique products and services? The most straightforward and practical answer is to use the subtle art of sales.

There is often a negative association with the word ‘sales.’ Hearing the word ‘salesperson’ likely conjures up some particular images and ideas for most people. In the best light, they are of a typical salesperson, aggressive, pushy at one end, and ‘con-artist’ or manipulative at the other.

If you’re thinking that you’re ‘selling’ to your patients, frame it another way. The fact is that you’re doing a very important job in the community by helping them solve their health and wellness problems.

Imagine if your best friend tells you he’s struggling with a problem, and you have a solution, wouldn’t you speak up and say something about it?

If you have a product or service that can help others, it is your moral obligation as a healthcare provider to share it with them.

The rest of this post will cover how you can use Dr. Cialdini’s principles of persuasion to communicate new treatment options to your patients and increase sales.

Scarcity: Patients Love Limited-Time Deals (And Things They Have Less Of)

Leverage the emotional impact of FOMO (or the fear of missing out) to increase sales.

To apply this principle to your pharmacy business, offer limited-time deals for different audiences.
Scarce products and offers feel exclusive and valuable to consumers.

One way to showcase a limited time product is by placing it in a smaller end-cap area with signage that conveys urgency and scarcity.

When you’re discussing the product, highlight what they stand to lose by not taking action and speak to the specific issues the patient might be experiencing.

You can also experiment with offering exclusive perks reserved only for top customers. Once people realize that being a repeat customer comes with rewards, they’ll be more ready to act on purchases. In turn, you’ll increase revenue and often, your average transaction value as well.

Assure Your Patients You’re An Expert

Make sure you establish your credibility to your customers.

Why? Although we’ll never admit it, we want others to tell us exactly what to do. Especially by experts that we trust. You can do this by making recommendations, displaying your certifications where your patients can see them, and answering any questions your patients might have.

If you show that you and your team are trained experts, your patients will also be more willing to try new products or services that you recommend.

Offer events and classes that educate your patients, if you continually provide value around healthcare and wellness, your pharmacy will soon be known as a healthcare destination for the community.

People discuss excellent and awful experiences. If you’re providing great customer service, you can bet that you’ll start seeing the referrals come through the door. High patient satisfaction and experiences will ultimately drive more sales.

Consistency Is Key: Start With Small Commitments for Big Sales

When you’re selling something (especially if it’s a high-ticket item that people don’t buy on impulse), try to get your patient to commit to something small first.

As a pharmacy owner, this could be a free trial or samples of new products.

After they agree or “say yes” to you once, they’ll be more willing to “say yes” again to stay consistent with their previous action.

If you use this principle, you can break down many of the barriers your patients have when shopping, and over time, your patients will agree to bigger and more expensive recommendations.

The important thing to remember is to nurture your relationship with them and get several “yeses” first.

Influence at Work: Building a Better Pharmacy 

Remember, using these principles to influence your patients isn’t wrong if you’re applying them ethically. Your mission as a healthcare professional is to help people who come to you with health and wellness challenges.

In fact, if you master ethical persuasion, you’ll be able to improve the lives of patients you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.


Employee Engagement: How to Effectively Influence Your Pharmacy Team

To increase employee engagement, it is critical to persuade or “sell” your vision for the company to your team.

A Familiar Scenario:

You’ve completed an intensive, week-long business boot camp. During the boot camp, you’ve learned a new marketing strategy to increase your independent pharmacy’s sales. You’re excited.

You can’t wait to use this new marketing tactic to grow your business.

You say to yourself, “I’m going to tell my team about this right away so we can see results fast.”

You call a meeting and tell everyone about your new idea.

But, you’re met with blank faces and reluctant nods from your team. In other words: you didn’t move them.

“This sounds good, but I’m not sure this will work,” or “This strategy is very different from what we’re currently doing. Should we risk it?”

Does this sound familiar? We’ve all been there.

You have two choices: you can try to do everything on your own, or you can learn how to use influence buy-in from your team to execute on the strategy. This post will explain how you can use the persuasion principles of reciprocity, likeability, and authority by Dr. Cialdini to get your team on-board with your ideas.

Using Reciprocity to Engage Employees in Your Pharmacy

In general, people feel obliged to give or agree to your request, if you gave them something first. You can use this in your business by giving your pharmacy team gifts and other incentives such as paid time off or bonuses.

This doesn’t have to be monetary; the aim is to provide value to the lives of your pharmacy employees. After all, people tend to do more when they feel appreciated.

Here are some ways to give to your employees without denting your wallet:

  • Give advice or teach them something useful that they can take with them outside of your business.
  • Take the time to highlight how a new strategy lines up with the mission and values of the business. This will give your team a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
  • Instill a sense of autonomy and ownership of projects, whenever possible. This will give your employees a sense of control and accountability in their own work and in your company.
  • Print out business cards for your employees. You will be surprised how this simple gesture boosts pride and work fulfillment.

Most of the time, your team wants the same outcomes you do; healthy patients and a thriving business. When your employees realize that you value and reward their work, they’ll be more willing to listen to your ideas.

Leveraging Authority in Your Pharmacy Business

People turn to experts for advice on what to do.

For example, patients listen to doctors’ recommendations and prescriptions because they view them as an expert on the subject.

In your pharmacy business, you’re the expert. You’re the authority figure that your pharmacy team should look to when figuring out what to do next.

Here are a few examples of how you can effectively communicate your authority and build trust without crossing the line into abusing your power.

  • Present Yourself Well – Simply put, your appearance makes a difference. Small changes such as name tags or a uniform color scheme make a difference in the team dynamic. A great example is a uniformed police officer; a more subtle example is a waiter taking your order. Want your exceptional team to stand-out to your patients? Start with how they look when they come to work.
  • Lead By Example – Your team is looking to you for cues on everything from how you communicate with a challenging patient, to how you follow up on tasks. Asking your team to do something you won’t do yourself signals a lack of respect in your team dynamic. Want them to enter data in a specific way or manage a critical workflow carefully? Don’t just tell them, show them, and reinforce it by recognizing and rewarding positive behaviors.

Be respectful and polite, but also, don’t let anyone undermine your authority.

Be firm but fair and soon, you’ll earn your staff’s respect and they’ll be more receptive to ideas you might have.

Using the Principle of Likability to Get Others to Follow You

Ruling through fear might get you loyalty, but it’s cheap. When it’s time to make big decisions, it’ll become clear that your team will follow the motions, but you won’t have their complete buy-in. You’ll feel as if you’re swimming against the current whenever you introduce something new.

Sharing basic similarities and views with your team boosts your likeability factor. Applying this principle isn’t difficult, and if you run a business, you leverage it more than you realize.

For example, smiling and maintaining eye contact when you’re talking to your team or patient.

Complimenting someone means they’ll be more likely to respond positively to a request.

A referral from a trusted friend tends to carry a little more weight.

Improve employee engagement and the time you spend together by building connections. Ask your pharmacy employees about their families, their hobbies, and even how their day is going. Then, share something personal about yourself.

Remember, it’s much easier to like someone if you know things about them.

Showing interest in your pharmacy teams’ lives and building relationships with them will give you more influence and benefit your workplace.

Making the Most Out of Time with Your Pharmacy Team

As the owner, you’re responsible for the success of your pharmacy business. Considering we spend a tremendous amount of time in the workplace, learning to make the most of your time and how to motivate your team effectively is critical. Your team is the most sustainable competitive advantage in your organization.

And it’s your job to learn what makes them tick.

If you use these persuasion tactics, you’ll be able to influence your pharmacy employees and try new things faster than before. But, to maximize your business’s growth in 2019, you also need to learn how to use the other 3 persuasion principles of consensus, scarcity, and consistency.

PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.






Easy Ways Independent Pharmacy Owners Can Get More Referrals From Prescribers

Owning an independent pharmacy is easy, said no one ever. This is why identifying unique strategies to grow your pharmacy and improve your bottom line is vital. So how do pharmacy owners do this? Owners can achieve this in many ways, two of which are by increasing the amount and frequency of pharmacy transactions, in addition to driving new patients to your business. While increasing volume isn’t the only way to grow your pharmacy (so many options!), it is one effective strategy. In this blog, we’ll highlight one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to drive new patients to your pharmacy, by building and maintaining strong relationships with prescribers and increasing patient referrals.

Read on to learn more about how to increase referral traffic from doctors and other health professionals in your area. Building and nurturing strong relationships with local physicians is critical to creating a steady flow of referrals and new patients.

Identify Prescription Sources

Pharmacy owners can easily identify which prescribers make up the bulk of their business. Leveraging this data allows owners to enhance the partnerships with prescribers that regularly send you patients. Pharmacy owners can also reach out to those who may benefit from the specific services offered by your pharmacy, but for some reason or another, aren’t sending referrals.

The role of the community pharmacist is expanding to include enhanced services such as annual wellness reviews, medication therapy management, pharmacogenomics, and other clinical services. The expansion allows for greater collaboration between prescribers and pharmacists. Treating the roles of pharmacist and prescriber as complementary is key to developing good working relationships and achieving the best patient outcomes.

3 Reasons Why Your Pharmacy Should Offer Annual Wellness Review Services

  • Nurture Relationships with Physician Partners – Working in partnership with a physician for AWV is a great step to streamlining communication between the two offices. This will benefit your pharmacy when it comes to requesting medication switches as well as offering ancillary programs such as diabetic education and flu clinics.
  • Greater Involvement in Patient Care – This is an opportunity to keep patient files up-t0-date and ensures you are offering the best standard of care. The face-time with patients allows for your team to ensure patients are following protocol and share information on new programs that would benefit patient outcomes.
  • Grow or Start Your Medication Synchronization Program – Create a goal to educate and register your patients about the benefits of synchronization.

Give New Health Professionals in Your Area a Warm Welcome

Did a new pediatrician or nurse practitioner recently join your local health community? Introduce yourself as the local go-to pharmacy by sending them a personalized note or setting up a one-on-one lunch. Take the opportunity to see what they need and how you can help them meet the goals for their practice and their patients.

Lend your experience as a medical expert to help prescribers maintain medication adherence, and enhance their healthcare plan for the patient. Building trust with local health professionals and developing a relationship is beneficial for both parties as well as the patients you serve.

Build Relationships with the Entire Staff

The key to getting the doctor’s staff to recommend your pharmacy is by staying top of their mind. You can do this by engaging the doctor’s entire team. That includes the medical assistants, nurses, receptionists — everyone!

  • Send a handwritten note, flowers, or tasty goodies on the appropriate health care appreciation day to show your gratitude. Assisted Living Week begins September 12th and Physician Assistants Week begins October 6. When you give people gifts, they’ll feel obliged to provide you with something in return. Dr. Cialdini calls this the “rule of reciprocity.” In this case, you’re positioning your pharmacy to be top of mind when they want to refer a customer.
  • Stop by the clinic on a regular basis to chat with the staff. The key is to be likable and bring value to the conversation. Don’t be afraid to offer genuine compliments or share something personal about yourself. Look for similarities and point them out to build connections. Bringing pharmacy news, coupons, or samples of new products and services can go a long way.
  • Invite the local health professional community to your pharmacy for a quarterly, after-hours networking event. The goal is for them to meet your staff and learn about the services you provide. Make the event fun by wrapping the refreshments around a holiday or theme (February – chocolate; May – margaritas, etc.). You’ll have the health community looking forward to your events and referring patients to your pharmacy in no time!

Position Your Business as an Authority on Health and Wellness 

One advantage independent pharmacies have over national chains is superior customer experience. Simply put, people talk about great experiences and bad experiences. If the patient is referred to your pharmacy and walks away having a great experience, they are going to share that with the prescriber, who will, in turn, refer more patients.

Take advantage of this by educating and informing your patients about services, programs, and philosophies on which you’ve built your independent pharmacy. When you give your customers (and prescribers) valuable information for free, your pharmacy is reinforcing its position as an authority in health and wellness.

You can talk about:

  • Solutions to counteract drug-induced nutrient depletion issues.
  • Where to get free calcium, kids vitamins (Pediatricians), prenatal vitamins (OB-GYN) and diabetic medications.
  • Type II Diabetes and how to prevent it. You can even teach your customers how to cook healthy meals at home.
  • Products that prevent sports injuries (Chiropractor).
  • And much more…

When you help solve the patient’s problems, they’ll be more likely to accept your recommendations. If you start taking these steps today, you’ll notice doctors are more willing to refer customers to you. To maximize your pharmacy’s growth through referrals, you need to learn how to effectively and ethically persuade others.

PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.




How to Create a Leadership Culture in Your Independent Pharmacy

How well you lead determines how well you succeed is not just a motto, but a truth that will dole out hard lessons if not thoughtfully applied in your business. Strong leadership culture is your pharmacy’s most sustainable business advantage. Read on to learn more about how to navigate the Five Levels of Leadership and create the culture you need.

At PDS 2018, John Maxwell, the New York Times best-selling author of The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential, discussed how to create such a culture in your independent pharmacy. It does not matter whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or an inexperienced owner venturing into the industry. When you step in a leadership role, you become the most critical member of your organization. If your approach to leadership is anything less than earnest and informed your team and business results will be lackluster.

Level 1: Position

Leaders that operate on the first level use their position as a manager, owner, or executive to control their subordinates; without it, they would not have the support or the respect of the people that work for them. Pharmacy employees follow because they have to, not because they trust their judgment or believe in the mission. Moving beyond this level requires the demonstration of key characteristics that add value to the team and the business; achieved only by leveraging the talents and experience of the team.

  • Focus on building relationships with your pharmacy team.
  • Increase effectiveness by sharing knowledge and encouraging collaboration.

One way to know where you stand is by asking yourself, “If I didn’t have the position, would my team still be following me?” If the answer is yes, you’re on your way to creating a leadership culture.

Level 2: Permission

At this level, a leader becomes passionate about building positive relationships with employees. They listen to employee concerns, give constructive feedback, and are willing to do whatever it takes to help their team members succeed. As a result, subordinates follow them because they want to, not because their job depends on it. The formula to excel at the permission level consists of three simple steps: Listen, Learn, Lead.

Take the time to focus on…

  • Building a culture based on trust and candor.
  • Understanding employee performance goals and concerns.

Once a leader has earned the respect of team members, their focus should shift to the organization and its overall profitability.

Level 3: Production

Simply put, in level 3 things get done. In a leadership culture, team members follow because of the things that they have done for their organization, as opposed to personal relationships. Employees will learn how to create, set, and achieve goals that align with the company vision, so leading by example is critical to success in this stage.

  • Work to establish and strengthen credibility.
  • Translate ideas into action and align with the mission of your business.

Employees will hit their targets with encouragement and support, but they won’t benefit from your experience in the long run if they can’t produce results on their own. Investing and training team members will produce sustainable results.

Level 4: People Development

At this stage, people are following because of what the leader has done for them, personally and professionally. A level 4 leader must focus on developing new leaders and influencing success beyond what they can accomplish as an individual. Employees follow because they will learn how to lead, which is one of the most valuable incentives that a leader can offer their subordinates.

  • Find, place, and train employees that want to develop leadership skills.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team members.
  • Understand when and where those team members will produce results.

Level 4 leaders have already earned respect, trust, and loyalty of their pharmacy team. If you want to become a Level 5 leader, you should focus on the impact that your business will have on your city, your region, and the world.

Level 5: Pinnacle

Their reputation is what defines a Level 5 leader. They have earned the respect of their community, and they attract team members, customers, and fans who believe in the same values that they do. Their employees follow them because of the values that they represent and the impact that they have on others.

If you want to attain the highest level in leadership, you should take a look at the relationships that you have with your employees, customers, and neighbors. Think about the role that you play in each of their lives. Would they willingly follow you? Could you confidently lead them?

Independent Pharmacy Owners Deserve to Thrive

The PDS Super-Conference is unlike any other pharmacy conference in the industry. Over the course of our 3-day event, you will discover groundbreaking innovations, exclusive exhibitors, and keynote speakers that will empower and inspire the best in you and your team. Click below to learn more and reserve your place among the industry’s elite.

2018 is the Year of the Independent Pharmacy Owner

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.

Listen below:


PDS is proud to bring you the Annual Pharmacy Business Super-Conference with three days of actionable content. Independent doesn’t mean alone. Gain the knowledge and strategies shared by 1,600+ thriving pharmacy owners.

[SMOKING GUN] You’re Right, PBMs are Duping Pharmacy Owners

PBMs Profits

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 Proof

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.