Whether you are in private practice or part of a large health system, nutritional retail sales is a GREAT way to add profit to your bottom line while improving patient outcomes and increasing their engagement with YOU and your program. After setting up and operating several retail programs, I have identified 5 common mistakes to avoid in order to attain ultimate success.
- Deciding not to add retail sales: I run across many bariatric professionals who think retail sales is not necessary or desired by patients. On the contrary. Your patients ARE purchasing (often sub-standard) products somewhere so why not buy the highest quality (better tasting) products from YOU. Retail sales creates better patient engagement (keeps them coming back), improves outcomes and can create a very robust revenue stream for you when implemented properly. In fact, we have some solo practitioners bringing in an additional $40K gross revenue/month!
- Selecting the wrong products: The key to recurring product sales is offering a variety of quality protein products that taste great and have an appropriate macro-nutrient ratio. In addition, you need to sell products patients can’t find in grocery, vitamin or other stores but rather, exclusively through a physician practice. Fortunately, companies such as HealthWise make this extremely easy for you. My staff and I use their products every day! In fact, you want your staff using the products you sell so they can promote them with greater confidence.
- Creating an inefficient sales system: A paper or spreadsheet system will not work long-term. Your sales system should not be overlooked. It provides you with a predictable way to monitor your sales and leverage your growth. This includes software for sales (online and onsite), product ordering and inventory tracking. Your sales system also includes your staff who is your sales team for every product or service you offer.
- Avoiding product promotion: Retail products cannot be your best kept secret. You must put into place a systematic sales promotion/marketing system. This can include posters, signs, social media posts/videos, events, e-mail marketing, text marketing, product highlights, educational newsletters and any other creative method you and your team come up with – in fact, the more unique, the better! Try a variety, figure out which works best for you, create a simple system for consistent promotion and then have fun with it!
- Not identifying a retail sales champion: Although everyone on your team are sales agents, for focus, accountability and growth, you should identify someone as your point person for coordinating the moving parts of implementing retail sales. These include such things as creating your plan (start as small as you desire), implementing your plan, maintaining par levels, expanding product offerings and coordinating your marketing and sales systems. It is not mandatory, but helpful if they have some retail sales experience. However, knowledge about identified patient goals, a passion for quality products, a desire for optimal outcomes and a positive attitude are second to none.
The great thing about retail sales is that it is an additional revenue stream that does not have to be dependent upon the physician and has been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes while adding an additional revenue stream to your practice. You can begin your store in a closet and advance from there. Over time, you will likely find that when retail is implemented correctly, your products begin to sell themselves. As patients promote them to others, you attract more patients to your practice for more retail sales and services. It’s a cycle worth pursuing. If you have questions, please reach out to us!
Karol Clark, MSN, RN is the best-selling author of 5 Profit Engines of a Successful Bariatric Surgery Practice: Your Blueprint for Building an Enjoyable Business that Creates Healthy Patients and a Healthy Bottom Line and CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder. She has over 20 yrs. of experience working with surgical and non-surgical weight loss patients and assisting physicians build an enjoyable weight loss practice. She partners with Nutritional Resources (d/b/a HealthWise- www.healthwisenri.com) for creation of educational programs/articles for weight loss practitioners.
Previously posted on Bariatric Times 7/24/19 https://bariatrictimes.com/top-5-mistakes-to-avoid-when-adding-nutritional-retail-sales-to-your-practice/