Pharmacy Owner Feedback, February Edition

By Matt Tompkins, Director of Marketing & Member Engagement

As a member owned cooperative, our members are our owners, and we take every opportunity to listen, learn, and share their concerns and solutions for the benefit of others.

What’s working?

What’s not working?

Where are they struggling and need assistance?

Matt Tompkins and Tammy Riley with IPC Members
Tammy Riley with IPC Members

“How do we get laws passed to stop this?”

“What can I do to get them to pay us fairly?”

More opportunities to create positive momentum for our industry will be coming soon. We will keep you informed in The Dose, on our website, via social media. Stay tuned as we continue this fight together as we take it straight to Washington, DC in March.

After the challenges of reimbursements and how we advocate for long-term broad-based change, the next most popular topic was,

“How do I find more patients and the right patients?”

To meet a pharmacist and pharmacy owner, who is also good at marketing, is rare. In my seven years working in service of independent pharmacy owners, I have met a few, and the control they have on the success of their stores is immense. While there are many strategies and tactics, the one that rises to the top of the list is relationships with providers and doctor detailing. Last week we met with a very successful multi-store owner and the insights he provided were incredibly valuable.

“I primarily focus on the providers. We search for the providers who have the patients we can serve, and we spend time with them to make sure they know who we are and how we will take care of their patients.”

Distilling down the conversation we had last week, here is one thing you can do today to make your doctor detailing more effective. Be specific.

To help you recognize the opposite of being specific, we asked a few owners which patients they wanted to attract, the response was “any patients”. It sounded like, “I offer (all these) products and services and can serve anyone.” When they approach a provider or their staff and ask them to send over anyone, that leaves the staff without the direction they need to connect the patient and your store.

What we heard from two successful pharmacy marketers is they recommended getting very specific by choosing just two or three of the services you offer, that differentiate you from the chains. It is also critical to be specific about the type of patient you want to attract and serve. An example we heard was,

“We recognize that women ages 40-55 are the healthcare decision maker in their household, they may have adult children, and are likely taking care of their elderly parents. They are an excellent patient to attract and a referral source of multiple patients.”

Therefore, how do we take the two or three services and the clear understanding of what type of patient we want to attract and explain that to a provider or their staff? A better approach is to let the provider and staff know,

“I am looking to help women, mothers, who are between 40-55, who are very busy working, taking care of their family, and their parents. We can help make their lives easier and save them time with medication synchronization and free delivery, including OTC products and supplements.”

When making this statement you help the staff member or provider recognize someone specific. Imagine the next time a patient fitting that demographic stands at the counter and mentions how busy they are running around and now they have to add one more stop at the pharmacy. Now the staff member feels like they are offering a solution to the patient’s problem.

“Did you know that your local Independent Pharmacy offers free delivery? They can even add OTC products and supplements if you need them. We could send the prescription there and save you one stop.”

Here is a simple chart to help you organize yourself the next time you go doctor detailing.

Top Three Services Three Patient Demographic Traits
Write your description of your ideal patient and how you provide a solution here:

I want to thank all the owners, pharmacists, and technicians we met last week for being so generous with their time and their insight. I am grateful you allow us to serve you in supporting your success. We hear you and we will continue to bring solutions to the challenges you face today and help you overcome them to make your pharmacy future-ready.

A special thanks to Tammy Riley, Regional Director in the Northeast. Thank you for your commitment to the success of our members and customers and all the independent pharmacy owners you have served over the last 13 years.