Do you ever wonder why you and your team may be struggling to sell your nutritional products and vitamins to your patients? Here are my top 10 reasons. Some may surprise you and fortunately, many are easy to correct!
Some weight loss physicians tend to shy away from nutraceutical retail sales. However, as I always say, if people aren’t buying their nutritional products from your practice, they are buying (usually sub-standard products) somewhere else. In fact, many products your patients purchase may taste good, but do not have the macronutrient balance that supports your recommended nutritional plan.
However, if you offer products in your practice, you can control the quality of products that your patients have access to and create an additional revenue stream. Offering high quality products in your practice has also been shown to improve your patients’ outcomes.
I go into a great deal of customized detail on this topic within Bariatric Business Boss members. If you’re not a member yet, check it out at www.BariatricBusinessBoss.com and join us!
In the meantime, here are the top ten likely reasons your nutritional products are not flying off the shelves.
1. They taste terrible. I encourage everyone to do a few things. One is to taste test everything! You may not have the luxury of having a retail sales manager who does the research and brings the products in and has everyone taste them but, within your practice, your dieticians, nutritionists, coaches and staff should be tasting anything you are going to offer to your patients. It may surprise you, but I am one of those people who doesn’t recommend going with just one particular nutritional company. there are so many nutraceutical companies that I love because they have quality products that taste good. However, in my experience, some have better shakes than others, some have better bars than others and some have better snacks than others. Thus, I have found that utilizing those companies for their best products is really important. I do have my top favorites. While we use about 8 different companies, my top favorites include Robard, Healthwise/Nutritional Resources, Bariatrix and vitamins from ProThera and Pure Encapsulations. Taste test everything you offer from one or various companies and select what works best for you.
2. You don’t use them yourself. It’s so much easier to talk with your patients about your products if you actually use them yourself. We offer the products at cost to our employees because we want them to use the products so they can easily promote them. In fact, they often come up with recipes using the products and excitedly talk about them. If so, it is not uncommon to hear “This is my favorite one” or “You’ll love this one” quite often. Your team will come up with ways to keep things interesting. For example, our team creates different flavors using the chocolate or vanilla shakes by substituting coffee in place of some of the water or adding sugar-free flavor drops. They may also mix a couple of them together to create a new combination. When your patients come in and know that you enjoy using the products yourself, sales become easier because you are just sharing something fabulous that you love.
3. Your products may be your best kept secret. Some practices have products but they keep them stored in a closet. They have no way for the patients to find out about them. Nobody mentions it in any of the consultations or coaching sessions, and they don’t see it in the waiting room so they are not aware it is an option You don’t want your products to be your best kept secret. Rather, you want to share them with excitement. You can display them in your exam rooms, counseling rooms, waiting room and consultations. You can also promote them in your newsletters, emails and texts. You don’t want to overwhelm your patients, but you do want them to know you carry tasty, quality products that will benefit them throughout their weight loss journey and beyond.
4. Your displays are not enticing. In fact, you may not even have a display and if you do, no offense, but it may not be openly visible or attractive/enticing. This can easily be corrected. You can use a cool piece of furniture that you found at a discount store, you can use a shelving unit, or it could be in a lit cabinet. There are so many economical options. You want your products displayed very attractively. If you need any ideas for that, please reach out to me! Also, make sure they aren’t just in your waiting room, but also in your counselor’s offices. You want your patients to see those products. It creates curiosity and can open the conversation as to how they help with rapid weight loss, how they taste, what they cost and even – How can I buy them?
5. Your team doesn’t know the benefits of the product. This may take a little bit of time but once your team is clear regarding the benefits of the different types of protein, products and the nutritional content, they can relate how it benefits your patients. If they know the benefits, they can explain the value of incorporating the product into their plan. It becomes second nature. They become adept at selling the shade (benefits), not the tree (just the product).
6. You haven’t packaged your products together. When you package things together and add a little bit of a discount, it makes it easier to the patient to see how things work together and how they can use it in their own life. We’ve actually put together meal plans around some of our products. This excites our patients and makes it very simple for them to use more than one of our convenient products. They don’t have to worry about what foods they are going to cook for certain meals. We use them for some plans, but people can go through our programs without supplements at all. It is simple and cost effective. In fact, if you take the product total price and divide it by the number of meals, oftentimes it comes to $1.50-3.50 per meal. It’s very economical and patients love that.
7. Your team isn’t comfortable promoting them. If you’re doing the previous actions that I mention, your team will become much more confident at promoting the products you have. It becomes almost second nature to them. Our team has done some sales training for staff, we look at what products they typically use and we help them to create an effective sales strategy. It ends up not feeling as salesy and the best thing is, the physician doesn’t have to get involved. Your team takes care of it for you as an additional revenue stream to your practice. That’s a win-win for everybody!
8. You never have a sale or promotion. I know people are always concerned about the bottom line but who doesn’t love a sale? Your patients are looking for it all the time. Having a sale or promotion is something that will really help get them to try other products. They tend to like it and buy more while telling their friends who also come to purchase creating a domino effect. You need to have some sales and promotions. We have a regular sales and promotion calendar that I share within our Bariatric Business Boss membership site. I do this with my one-on-one retail coaching as well. Having promotions also creates effective content for you to share and engage with current and prospective patients through your social media channels, newsletters, e-mails and onsite fliers.
9. You have no variety. Do you only have chocolate or vanilla? Do you only have one type of shake or one type of bar? If you don’t have variety, people get tired of it. Even myself, I shake it up. I’ll use one for awhile and then I’m ready for a change. Most patients crave variety as well.
10. You don’t have systems in place for automation and a way for people to refer others back for more product. This is related to your team and I am blessed to have a phenomenal team here as well as a great sales manager. We meet and come up with great promotional ideas (or she comes up with them herself) and she runs with it! It used to be something that I thought that I had to do but once I hired a sales manager, she took over so I could focus on other big picture strategies. She does a phenomenal job. The whole team does! Having sales systems in place, makes life much easier for you and for everybody on your team.
If I was going to give you a bonus reason, it would be to use your products in everything you do. Every event that you have, every support group you hold and every coaching session you or your team has with your patients. I credit my sales manager with this – one time here we had a cocktail party, a protein cocktail party. Everyone was walking around with fancy glasses (no alcohol of course) but it was a festive, fun, and a creative way to use the products – the patients loved it and so did we! It was a great way to highlight some products and they sold like crazy!
I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you want some in depth one-on-one training, reach out to me at Karol@WeightLossPracticeBuilder.com . If you need help in setting up your store, I can assist you there too. If you’re not a member of Bariatric Business Boss, check it out at www.BariatricBusinessBoss.com It is a very low-cost way to gain access to me and all of these awesome tools that are included. For anyone that works with me one-on-one, they automatically get to be a member of Bariatric Business Boss so that’s a perk for them. I’d love to hear from you! Karol@WeightLossPracticeBuilder.com Reach out to me if you have other questions and, in the meantime, continue being that positive force in your community.