Growing your Veterinary Practice in a Pandemic


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The current marketplace presents a significant opportunity for distributor reps to help grow veterinary clinics.  

I saw a recent research report on the industry that painted a rosy picture for this year regardless of the continuing pandemic. The report anticipated more than 7% revenue growth along with wellness and insurance programs that will drive up the demand for service.

When I started thinking about the impact on distribution reps, it dawned on me that the numbers quoted were averages. That implies many practices expect increases well above these averages, while others will have minimal increases and some declines in revenue.

It seems to me that regardless of where your customers fall in this continuum, each situation presents a significant opportunity for you.

Begin here

Start by determining what the average is for your territory. Every territory is unique, and this exercise will account for your uniqueness. And by the way, your territory is not Lake Wobegon, where all the veterinarians are strong, all the technicians are good-looking, and all the practices are above average.

Start with those who are 20% or more above your territory average. Your primary mission is to verify that your assumptions about how they are achieving that success are correct. Remember the old axiom “to check your assumptions before acting on them.” Once verified, ask what else they are doing that has been successful. This will provide you with the information you did not know you did not know.

You will find that some of the responses are the same or similar. Those are the basic building blocks to operating a successful practice regardless of the outside conditions.

You will also find that the remaining responses are unique to that practice. Those are the special touches that make that practice’s performance so special. They work for that practice but may not work for the one down the street.

During this whole process with the top performers, you will find some opportunities that you did not know existed within your most successful practices. That happens because you were asking questions and really listening to understand the responses. Make a note of the opportunities for future interactions.

The next target

Your next target is that group that’s 20% or more below the average. This group is likely missing one or more of the basic building blocks that you identified in the above-average group. So, in your discussion with this group, your mission is to identify the missing pieces.

Please make a note of all the missing pieces, but only recommend they try one. What they try should be the piece that is easiest for them to implement. It should also be the piece that will provide a significant return on their investment. You want a significant win that is easy to accomplish because nothing creates more motivation than a relatively easy win.

The remaining middle group will present the biggest challenge. They are average, which means they are doing ok and the negative consequence of not making any changes may not be so bad. The good news with this group is they probably have all the basic building blocks in place, and all they need is one or two fine touches to move them into the top group.

I suspect that more than one of you has concluded that what I outlined will involve a lot of work. In fact, some of you dismissed the idea before you got halfway through the article. That’s ok.

I know this approach works in good times and in difficult times like a pandemic. All the information you need to implement in your territory is right here in this column. All that remains for you to do is decide which group you want to join.


About the author

Patrick T. Malone 

Patrick T. Malone is a business advisor and leadership mentor based in Blairsville, Georgia. He is the co-author of the best-selling business book “Cracking the Code to Leadership” and may be reached at [email protected] or 706-835-1308.

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