Getting new patients doesn’t have to be complicated.
Follow these steps, and you will be on your way to growing your pharmacy with new patients.
Every pharmacy needs new patients. Even if you have a thriving pharmacy, you lose patients every day. Perhaps they move away, or their insurance changes and requires mail-order. This loss of patients is a part of normal attrition. Maybe you are a new pharmacy focused on growing or want to launch a new service. For any type of pharmacy, these guidelines will help you be successful in getting new patients.
Here are the seven tips to help your pharmacy gain new patients:
- Identify your ideal patient
- Discover where your ideal patient hangs out
- Know your pharmacy inside and out
- Position yourself and the problem solver
- Leverage the value of FREE
- Build partnerships
- Follow up
Get New Patients Tip #1: Identify Your Ideal Patient
This step can be challenging for many owners. Your gut instinct may be that you can serve everyone, so you don’t need to narrow it down. However, that is not the case. When you try to be everything to everyone, that means you are mediocre to everyone. Having an ideal patient or a target audience doesn’t mean you turn away people who don’t fit the criteria. It means you become a super-pharmacy to those that do. Your services and products are a perfect fit for these customers. It’s almost like you are reading their minds.
When your ideal patients come to your pharmacy, they immediately fall in love; it’s the perfect match! They become your raving fans, your super-promoters. And because of them, you will flourish and grow beyond their demographic.
Who Is Your Ideal Patient
Ask yourself, “What problems does my pharmacy solve?” or “What services do I want to provide?”. If you offer free delivery, then your ideal audience might be busy professionals or time-strapped families. If your pharmacy is in a new part of town surrounded by new housing tracts, then the elderly population is probably not a good fit for your pharmacy. I highly recommend you create a customer avatar for your pharmacy.
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Get New Patients Tip #2: Discover Where Your Ideal Patient Hangs Out
What other types of activities or businesses do your ideal patients also interact with? Do they go to church, walk on the hiking trail, eat at certain restaurants, read a particular paper, or listen to a specific radio station? These questions will help you know where to put your pharmacy’s marketing effort. Marketing becomes a lot easier if you go where your perfect patients already are.
Get New Patients Tip #3: Know Your Pharmacy Inside and Out
This tip may seem kind of obvious, but you have to know what type of business you want. If DIR fees are killing you, then going after more Medicare patients is a wrong choice. You need to understand your current performance. This way, you can make choices that will help you improve your pharmacy’s results rather than potentially hurting them.
Do you have a profit problem or a revenue problem? Are your expenses under budget or over budget? If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions, it would be a great idea to do a little key performance indicator (KPI) exercise. You can learn more in this article Top 7 Pharmacy KPIs To Track.
Get New Patients Tip #4: Position Yourself As The Problem Solver
This tip is beneficial when you are speaking with doctor’s offices or potential partners. Our instinct is to talk about what we have to offer to the other person. Instead, you should ask questions and listen. By listening to what is important to the other person, you can better position yourself to help them. Rather than assuming what they need, you now know what they need.
Remember to be flexible when talking to prescribers or partners. You may want to talk about your new packaging or synchronization program. However, they may have more pressing fires to put out and might just shoo you away since you aren’t helping them with their immediate concern. So always ask and listen first, before you talk about your services.
Get New Patients Tip #5: Leverage The Value of Free
Free is a super tool for pharmacy growth. This simple word can get patients to sign up for your emails, get prescribers to refer new patients to you, or even get you on the local news. When you give someone else something for free, they often feel like they owe you. It happens at the sub-conscience level. For this to work, you need to make sure your free offer is valuable. Giving out a free stick of gum wouldn’t work. However, offering a free medication review or free flavoring of prescriptions are valuable add-ons.
Here are some ways you can use this. Make an offer for a free monthly email newsletter with exclusive coupons on Facebook to get your followers to give you their email addresses. Or tell a pediatrician that all of her patients will get free flavoring of any Rx or OTC product at your pharmacy. Offer local independent living center residents a free monthly class on medication savings tips.
Get New Patients Tip #6: Build Partnerships
You have fans. Even if you are a brand new pharmacy, you as the owner have fans in your community. This tip is really about networking with people that already know and trust you. How many of your friends or family own their own business? How can you partner with them? Maybe you can do a coupon swap. They share your coupons, and you can share theirs. Another great idea is an email swap. What about partnering with a local realtor to promote your pharmacy to residents that move into the neighborhood? There are countless opportunities. Try to come up with ten partnerships to start with.
Get New Patients Tip #7: Follow Up
No matter what activities or marketing that you are doing, it is critical to follow up. It can be as simple as sending a handwritten thank you card. Many people who refer new patients to you want to know if they were helpful. Let them know how many coupons were redeemed or how many patients mentioned their recommendation. When you interact with a potential new patient, don’t leave it to them to follow through with you. Actively reach out and ask if you can transfer their medications or offer to continue the conversation. By following up, you are showing your consistency and your level of commitment to them.
Putting It All Together
Don’t try to do it all at the same time. Take it one step at a time, and it doesn’t have to be in any particular order. Start with what you think will bring you the most impact first. That is your low-hanging fruit. Also, get your team involved. Your employees have a different inner circle than you. They can bring you new connections you may not otherwise have thought of. The most important piece is to start doing something. Don’t let another week go by without making baby steps towards your final destination.