From veterinarians’ mouths to your ears.
Our ongoing discussions with veterinarians reveal three golden rules they believe you as pet care marketers can follow. Adopting these suggestions would go a long way toward bridging the growing gap between you, veterinarians and pet parents.
Golden Rule 1: Don’t sell. Solve.
“I wish they [pet care marketers] understood how hard we work to recommend their products or sell them. There’s a lack of support that needs to be better.”
Pet care marketers can actively address consistent veterinarian challenges. The first step is identifying what needs fixing. And that starts with asking three simple questions:
- “What’s wrong?”
- “What do you need?”
- “How can we help?”
Knowing the answers to those questions enables you to surprise and delight veterinarians with new solutions. So step back from selling your products and instead focus on supporting veterinarians to earn their trust, love and loyalty. All this requires is spending some time talking. And listening. Then solving.
Golden Rule 2: Talk with me, not at me.
“None of the companies see me as a person. They all say they support the veterinarian, but in reality, they just want to sell their products and don’t care who does it.”
How can you create a dialogue with veterinarians? Here are three easy suggestions:
- Most companies have a veterinarian advisory board. Try seeking its input on something other than a new product.
- Sales teams are trained and incented to sell but they can build a more receptive audience by approaching veterinarians with solutions instead of just products. Challenge them to bring any resources or perks to their veterinarians.
- When products are backordered or prices increase, does your sales team communicate this quickly and transparently? Instead of leaving veterinarians to fend for themselves, make a point of helping them explain these issues to their customers.
Again and again, the veterinarians we talk with say they want you to partner with them, to ask questions and share ideas and to help them work through their challenges. If you want veterinarians to advocate for your product, first you must advocate for them.
Golden Rule 3: Tell veterinarians they matter and then tell that to everyone.
“You need to educate the public about the veterinarian. No ONE is out there saying that veterinarians care.”
All people want to feel like they matter. Veterinarians consistently tell us they do not feel seen, valued or, occasionally, even respected. Veterinarians are a critical channel for you, so this is an important issue. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to improve your relationship with veterinarians and those ways start with helping to improve public perception of their profession.
- Most advertising focuses on the animals and never shows veterinarians. Why not? Veterinarians serve a central and practical role for pet parents. You can celebrate that to win brand loyalty.
- What was your last program that supported, not sold, veterinarians? Ask questions and then surprise and delight veterinarians by bringing them solutions.
- Do you ever thank the veterinarians who support you? It is a simple matter to demonstrate empathy and appreciation.
If you’re unsure where to start building stronger, more powerful alignment with the veterinarians your brand relies on, we can help. At Bader Rutter, a veterinarian leads our Pet Care practice. Bring us your challenges; we’ll get right to work.