At DVMelite, one of the concepts we try to drive home to all of our practice go-getters is the importance of authenticity. When you treat people and their pets with genuine respect and compassion, it can dramatically improve your client retention. In fact, many pet parents gladly choose to bring their companions to a vet where they feel valued, even if it costs more than other clinics in the area. What if authenticity doesn’t come natural to you? No problem. Just try the following.
Find a common ground
Did you know that one of the most visited pages on a veterinary website is the one containing staff bios? That’s because people have a natural desire to make a connection, and learning about you and your team members helps them do that. You can play on this as well by making a point to find common ground with each client. Perhaps you both like to fish in your free time, or maybe you’re both avid fans of the same sports team. It could even be as simple as having a pet with the same name. Whatever it is, making that connection can help you begin to establish a real, genuine relationship.
Always be present
As busy vets, it’s super easy to feel distracted while talking to someone else. Your mind starts wandering and you start thinking about all those items on your to-do list. You may be really great at hiding this, but the fact is if you’re not fully present in the moment – that is, not truly engaged in the conversation – your clients will be able to sense that your focus is elsewhere. Not only is this insulting, but it could even cost you future business. Work on being an active listener and give your clients your undivided attention. Trust us – your to-do list isn’t going anywhere.
Interacting with your patients is great, but don’t forget there’s also a human in the room – and one who will determine whether or not to continue bringing you his or her business. Remember to make eye contact and address your clients on a personal level. Invite questions and engage in active listening. By ensuring that your clients feel heard and appreciated, you’ll be better able to foster that all-important bond – not just with their pets, but with them as well.
Nobody’s perfect. If you’re trying to portray the image of perfection, you’ll only end up being viewed as disingenuous. To the contrary, if you are willing to be vulnerable and embrace or even laugh at your imperfections, it will endear you to your clients. Why? Because it will show them that you’re not very different (which lends to the common ground we talked about above). It could be as simple as talking about the time you lost your own beloved pet. Don’t be afraid to let down your guard and be real.
The fact is, we’re all looking for ways to stay a step ahead of the competition. In veterinary medicine, this is about finding a way to differentiate your practice from others in your geographical area. Delivering the most exceptional care in a way that focuses on developing truly authentic relationships can become your secret weapon for success. And with the tips listed above, achieving this is entirely possible.
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