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. 

Dan Benamoz Featured on the Cover of Pharmacy Times Magazine

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PDS-Dan-Cover-April-2015Whether its robots, microbots, smartphones, or 3-dimensional (3-D) printing, the potential for technology to impact health care and pharmacy excites and motivates Dan Benamoz, RPh, founder and chief executive officer, Pharmacy Development Services (PDS). In a recent interview with Pharmacy Times Magazine, Benamoz explained that technological advancements in the field of medicine will occur faster than most people expect and that part of a pharmacy’s future success will depend on how well it prepares and adapts to change. He predicts that the knowledge gained through supercomputers and mapping of the human genome will lead to revolutionary changes in diagnostics and treatments. “What you are going to see in these next 5 years is twice the amount of innovation that you’ve seen in the last 35 to 40 years collectively,” he said.

Benamoz stressed that cutting-edge technology is already beginning to impact health care. A contact lens that can detect blood glucose levels using tears is undergoing testing. “Microbots” that can swim in a person’s bloodstream are also being tested, opening up the potential for treatment to be delivered in a highly targeted way.

These medical advances could render many in-person outpatient visits nonessential, noted Benamoz. Handheld digital devices are already available that, with a single drop of blood, can identify and detect diseases long before patients become symptomatic. “People will have these [devices] in their home and will pretty much know what’s wrong with them,” he said. Once they receive a diagnosis, patients will be able use their smartphones to contact a physician who could then access their medical history and handle a majority of their problems via telemedicine. Pharmacists could also be accessed remotely, and drones might one day be used to deliver medications. Any equipment a patient needs could be created with a 3-D printer, Benamoz added.

To be successful in this era of technology, pharmacy owners will have to learn to think exponentially, rather than linearly, he said. With the Internet, pharmacists and patients have access to an unprecedented amount of information. Learning how to analyze and use the information is key. “There’s no politics and no emotion in data,” Benamoz said. “If you are making decisions based on your gut, you cannot make good decisions.”

According to Benamoz, pharmacists need to become problem solvers and think more strategically. Data can be used to learn consumers’ preferences and habits, and determine what questions to ask. Pharmacists can know what people need before they do. Benamoz advises pharmacists to focus more on patients who have chronic diseases, interact with them as valued customers, and ask a lot of questions. The business of pharmacy is no longer about how many prescriptions can be filled.

“People don’t buy products. People don’t buy services. People buy solutions to problems,” he said. “We are so busy being busy. One of the most important things you need to do is have special time set aside for thinking.”

Having happy customers is all about creating a good experience for them, noted Benamoz. It is also about knowing that “the little things” make the difference (Online Sidebar). It is crucial to create a culture where people want to excel, and that starts with leadership and hiring the right people. “Great employees make you money; they don’t cost you money. It’s the bad ones that cost you money.”

Five Fundamental Principles of Success

  • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • The more you help others, the greater your own success will be.
  • It’s all the little things done exactly right that separate the extraordinary stores from the ordinary stores.
  • Consistent execution is a competitive advantage.
  • If you can measure it, you can manage it. If you can manage it, you can improve it.

The first PDS conference, which had 42 attendees, was never intended to be a conference. Benamoz sought to help other store owners grow their businesses. Now in its 11th year, the PDS Independent Pharmacy Business Growth Conference attracts more than 1000 attendees. During his opening remarks in Orlando, Florida, this year, Benamoz told attendees that it is an exciting time to be a pharmacist and that there is a great deal of opportunity for those who are willing to embrace change and take chances.

“We’re now tasked with the responsibility of guiding this profession into this new era. It’s our time to step up and accept our roles as pioneers, to improve it, generation over generation, and leave this profession better off than how we received it. That will be our legacy.”