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 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 2019 Super-Conference with three days of actionable content that’s never been covered in our industry until NOW. We are bringing in the experts to help you master the critical communication skills that will help you ethically and effectively influence your three critical audiences, prescribers, patients, and your pharmacy team. Join us February 21-23, 2019 in Orlando, Florida for the most important pharmacy conference of the year.
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.
There is no shortage of options for owners looking to impact pharmacy growth. Successful independent pharmacy owners must maintain a balance between growing profits, investing in the business, and managing operational cash flow. This formula is not new. However, in light of significant industry shifts and stringent regulations; the balance is more challenging to achieve. Success is a matter of surrounding yourself with the right team in an environment that will cultivate pharmacy growth. The PDS Super-Conference and premier sponsor Live Oak Bank are the solution partners you need to establish successful programs and unlock capital for your pharmacy.
In an industry where large competitors have unlimited access to funds, and you need capital to implement essential profit programs; where do you start?
Step 1: Know Your Pharmacy Market
Understanding where your profits are coming from is the first step in taking your business to the next level. Passively waiting for the next prescription to walk through the door does not work anymore. The waiting game will not keep you operating at full potential. Actively targeting the most profitable aspects of your business keeps you on top of market conditions and prepared to adjust course in the face of changes.
Step 2: Managing Pharmacy Cash Flow Effectively
Cash is king, we all know it. Your pharmacy should have enough cash flow to reinvest back into your business and employees from marketing to new equipment, all while maintaining salaries and keeping the lights on. Mismanagement of or inattention to cash flow will limit how far you can take your pharmacy. It affects how banks look at you when applying for loans, and your ability to scale successful initiatives.
These are just a few of the tips that we cover with independent pharmacy owners at the Annual PDS Super Conference. Our goal is to provide owners with the tools and solutions to establish a solid foundation, kickstart pharmacy growth, and provide ongoing support you navigate the industry in the coming year.
Live Oak Bank is one of the largest investors in community pharmacies in the industry and has provided nearly $750 million in loans since 2010. They provide funding and packages to address all of your pharmacy needs.
- Quick loan closes – approximately 47 days
- Favorable terms with low-interest rates
- Low equity requirements
As your dedicated solutions partner, Live Oak Bank can assist your pharmacy with everything from facilitating prescription file purchases and software solutions to streamlining improved inventory management. As a major sponsor of #PDS2017 Live Oak Bank will be in attendance, making it the perfect time to stop by their booth and learn more about their loan capabilities, low-interest rates, and equity requirements.
What kind of results can you expect with this shift in thinking? Great question.
Below is a visual aid showing you precisely what you are leaving at the table if you aren’t a PDS Member. These results are real, from real pharmacy owners across the nation.
Ask yourself, do you want to walk away from these profits?
Save your seat for the most important pharmacy conference we have ever held here, where you’ll have a chance to listen to these same PDS members tell you EXACTLY how they generated millions in profits.
Every Saturday morning for the past year, I have been reviewing the Wall Street Journal’s summary of the week’s best-belling books, as reported by Nielsen BookScan.
Many bestsellers have come and gone over that time period, but what continues to endure, is the type of books found on the Hardcover Business list. They are not about hidden business secrets or a recently discovered financial formula that will guarantee millions of dollars overnight. Most of these books that endure on the list are largely about the people – the life blood of all businesses
They are about understanding yourself, others or the characteristics of successful people.
They are also about improving skills for:
- Forming effective teams
- Building a winning culture
- Developing people
I have often asked myself why this is the case? Why are all of these books about the people within a business context?
According to Deliotte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report, companies are struggling to attract, retain and develop leaders at all levels within their companies, yet they are largely unprepared to address these issues. In fact, according to the report, culture and engagement was rated the most important issue overall across a multitude of industries.
Furthermore, Gallup consistently reports on the dismal levels of employee engagement not only within the U.S. but reports even worse numbers worldwide. In fact, Gallup estimates that lost productivity due to actively disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses $450-$550 billion each year.
So why is it that so many companies are willing to invest in new equipment, technology, assets and systems that help to improve their business performance, yet they are often reluctant or ill-prepared to invest in tools and systems that focus their people? These issues are typically viewed as “squishy” and therefore hard to define or repair. How do you measure success?
Well, it may feel squishy but there are very real and concrete success measures related to hiring, developing and retaining a strong team. Gallup among many others has recently reported that businesses who focus on and invest in talent selection and improving employee engagement show consistently improved top and bottom line financial performance.
The TTI Success Insights®, 2016 Trends Article, explains the use of talent assessments for selection dramatically improves a business’s good hire ratios. U.S. business spending in this category has consistently been on the rise. The Wall Street Journal reported that the percentage of large US companies that are using online assessment tools for talent selection has risen from 26% on 2001 to 57% in 2013. They project this will continue to increase to 75% by 2020. Talent selection is not just for big business. This “Big Data” approach adds value at affordable rates even for small and medium sized businesses.
These self-help business books only stay on the best seller list because people continue to buy them. It follows that people must be buying them to want to solve these problems within themselves. Business leaders and employees alike are looking for ways to improve their relationships with each other in order to drive more successful business outcomes. The next step is to make the right investments to improve company odds for realizing that success.
Are you ready to invest in your talent?
The Oval Group has been providing talent insight to individuals and business leaders for over 10 years. The Oval Group is an authorized supplier of TTI Success Insights® talent assessment, a world class developer of talent selection tools that have been proven to dramatically reduce bad hires and enable improved employee engagement.
Want more info on this topic? Watch the webinar with The Oval Group we recently hosted. You will learn…
- The true financial impact bad hires and disengaged employees can have on your Pharmacy
- How to increase employee collaboration, engagement, and productivity
- 5 key steps to diagnose and repair employee related issues
- How some PDS Pharmacy member teams have benefited from one of the tools discussed
- How using science can solve employee problems and grow your business
As an independent pharmacy owner, your pharmacy manager has the ability to make your life easier and boost your profits. In the same light, the wrong pharmacy store manager can hurt the success of your store. When hiring a manager, look for a candidate who not only demonstrates the work experience listed on his or her resume, but someone who also has the results to back it up. For example, your candidate should be able to share examples of how he/she has contributed to the bottom line in previous positions and additionally he/she should be able to provide a list of references who can vouch for the work performed.
Here are the top 3 attributes to look for in your next pharmacy store manager:
- Drives Sales And Exceeds Goals
If you want to thoroughly test candidates, share a sample of your annual business goals for your store and then ask each candidate to provide some possible solutions based on your data. This exercise is a great way to see if the candidate has the ability to problem solve and is sales oriented.
Specifically ask the candidate how he/she would lead the pharmacy team to increase sales. If the applicant truly understands the value of human capital and how to lead, answers should look like this:
- Giving praise for hard work and achievements individually and as a team
- Being open, honest and communicative with team members
- Continually coaching team members to sharpen their skills
- Supervising and influencing time management
- Holding employees accountable
- Increasing morale with creative and cost-effective rewards
- Strong Leadership
To succeed, your store’s team needs someone who will lead by example. Anideal management candidatemust be a leader for both your team and your business. If an applicant shows signs of weakness or too much leniency, it could spell disaster for your company in the future. The manager must be able to delegate tasks appropriately while running the store effectively. These are some important examples to look for:
- Ability to recruit, hire and retain top talent
- Ability to multi-task under pressure in a fast-paced environment
- Ability to adhere to the company’s budget
- Ability to work effectively with other store managers (and you)
- Ability to execute plans in a timely manner
- Ability to solve problems small and large
- Affinity For Customer Service
An ideal management candidate should understand the value of your existing customers along with building new customer trust and relationships. Regardless of whether a customer is a “regular” or a new patient, a good manager will lead his team to exceed expectations at every opportunity.
Your top candidate should encompass some or all of these attributes:
- Gives undivided attention to customers
- Is courteous and a good listener regardless if they are getting a compliment or a complaint
- Is able to solve problems quickly and innovatively
- Is professional, calm and patient at all times
- Shows delight in helping people and making things “right”
If you find a manager who meets all or most of this criteria, you will be on the path to operating a successful independent pharmacy business, primed for growth. Hiring the right talent (and eliminating the wrong talent) will help you build a stronger reputation for yourself as a pharmacy owner. Word will quickly get out that your store is the premier pharmacy with the best customer service in town.
If you need more help with hiring the right talent or leading your team, PDS can help, simply click below to schedule a call with an expert Business Advisor.