Have you ever been too close to something to see it?
Every Wednesday, four chiropractors who had opened their practices within months of each other met to compare notes, share successes and overcome failures. I was one of them. During one of these “support and learn” sessions, I noticed that the other doctors’ profit and loss statements were showing thousands more than I was from the sale of vitamins and orthopedic supports. They noticed it, too.
My colleagues said: “Pete, you’re missing the boat. All of us use analgesic balm in taking care of our patients. Our patients like what it does for them, so they buy it to use at home. We’ve sold thousands of dollars worth of it and you’ve sold practically none. How come?”
I didn’t know what to say, but with a few more questions the reason became very obvious. I was keeping my vitamins, analgesic balms, etc., in a drawer where only my CA and I could see them. The other doctors were displaying these items where patients could easily see them and were motivated to purchase them.
My colleagues encouraged me to place tubes of analgesic balm on the counter where my patients checked out. They told me when patients paid for their visits, they would also ask to purchase the analgesic balms without even being asked if they were interested. I tried this and was amazed at the results — I sold out of analgesic balm in one day!
I continued to follow the group’s advice and trained my CA to ask departing patients, “Do you need any vitamin C, vitamin E, or multi-vitamins? If so, the doctor has carefully selected the very best vitamins for our office.” This turned out to be one of the most appreciated services I could provide to my patients. They were happy not to have to make a separate trip to the pharmacy or health-food store, and they were relieved they no longer had to question the quality of the vitamins they selected. My office’s dispensable products sales went through the roof.
By using these products and teaching my patients the benefits of them, I had essentially been “selling” them all along. However, because I had failed to make the products noticeable and the purchase of them convenient, I was sending that business down the street to the local pharmacy or health-food store.
The national sales of dietary supplements alone are now more than $14 billion. Isn’t it time more chiropractic patients were invited and encouraged to purchase their supplements from you, a doctor who cares for them and is knowledgeable about nutrition?
Use the following guidelines to create your own “wall that sells”:
- The display area should be visible to your patients as they are checking out. The wall immediately behind the CA is preferred, but a wall located next to the patients as they’re checking out will work almost as well.
- Your display area should be light in color and well-illuminated.
- The display area should not exceed a height of 72 inches. Any higher, and a person of average height will not have a convenient view of the products on the top shelf.
- Small products, and those that would be classified more as impulse purchases, should be placed at eye level.
- Position your products so they are close to each other but not touching. This makes your display appear full, emitting a sales motivating message of “must be popular, so it must be good.”
- Products that look better hung on peg hooks should be arranged on a straight line of vision, horizontally and/or vertically.
- If you use a pegboard display, it should be positioned above your shelf displays.
- Display items with similar uses together. For example, display your analgesic balm next to your natural muscle relaxants, and display your cervical collars next to your cervical pillows. A person will usually purchase more than one item from a similar group.
- For a stronger visual impact, display three rows of the same vitamin.
- If you carry products in more than one size, display the larger size to the right of the smaller size. Psychologically, right-handed people are drawn to the products on the right, and since most people are right-handed, you will sell more of your larger-size products.
- Each product should have a tasteful and well-written display sign. These can be 2-inch by 3-inch pieces of heavy paper folded in half, with verbiage printed or typed on the bottom half. The verbiage should describe the product in straightforward terms. An example would be:
“Collinsonia” for Varicose Veins & Hemorrhoids
These signs are placed on the shelves with the description portion (bottom half of the sign) hanging over the edge of the shelf, and the other part (top half of the sign) held in place by putting the product on top of it.
- To further enhance your sales, you may consider carrying items that you know your patients will want but are difficult to find in retail stores, i.e., Schultz knee braces, sinus draining pumps, etc.
- Only carry products you have confidence in because they are high-quality and effective.
- Carry products in a variety of price ranges. Your patients who can afford it will demand the higher-priced items, while others may want less expensive options.
There is no question as to the benefits of having a well-designed product display area. These products contribute to the total care of your patients, you know your patients are getting the best products available, your patients don’t have to travel all over town to get the products they want and need, and you are no longer sending income down the street.