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.
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