Have you ever pondered how great it would be to take YOUR Pharmacy’s message and YOUR message out into the world….out beyond the four walls of your store and your advertising in the community? Your advertising may be in the local papers, a brochure, your website or Facebook page and maybe even a TV ad on your local station, but with your own YouTube Channel you can take your pharmacy into the stratosphere.
As a past President of The Orange County Pharmacists Association and interacting with pharmacists especially Independent Pharmacists and Pharmacy Owners, I have come to recognize a glaring theme over the years!
The theme is that that Independent Pharmacist or pharmacy owner feel like they are stranded on a desert island and all alone. When something is wrong with policies, pharmacy laws, third party payors and other mandates, many of the pharmacists say the same thing – “I am only one voice, my voice does not matter, nobody listens”. Many think there is nothing that can be done.
Are you a Pharmacy owner looking to Grow your pharmacy business and looking for a Expert Pharmacy Management Consultant to guide you in creating or growing an HIV specialty niche? MichRx Consulting has been working with independent pharmacy owners for over 20 years coaching and consulting them about the HIV Specialty niche, educating them and their staff about HIV medications and proven effective Marketing strategies to build a solid customer base, that continues to grow year over year.
As a Pharmacy Services expert, Michelle Sherman has helped pharmacists grow their online presence, establish a specialized HIV pharmacy, and grow profits exponentially. As it becomes more and more important for pharmacy owners to establish a specialized niche and “Thinking Outside the Pill Bottle”, it’s important to go about the process the right way with the guidance of an experienced pharmacy services consultant. Focus your marketing & online efforts to grow your HIV Pharmacy Business, and create the business and lifestyle for your family that you have only dreamed of, all the while being of service to your community and giving back!
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“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs
No matter how you slice or dice it, there are only 24 hours in the day. We all know it, yet for some reason we try to manage them as if they were, well, manageable. You try organizing your time through checklists and meetings. But meetings just take up more time and while checklists may provide some satisfaction, usually all they do is serve as a reminder of all the things you did not get done. Forget about moving mountains, you feel accomplished to just move a mole hill. You are in luck though— there is hope! It’s just a matter of shifting your mindset from trying to manage your time to managing your attention and focusing on the simple rather than the complex.
All you need is a little help from Dwight D. Eisenhower. You may know that Eisenhower served as our 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961; before his days in the White House, he served as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II. What you may not know is that during his time in Europe he used what is now referred to as the Eisenhower Method for completing tasks.
Continue reading “You Can’t Manage Time BUT You Can manage What You Do With Your Time” »
How is your Independent Pharmacy Business dealing with the mail order pharmacy onslaught?
Here are 11 steps to overcome mandatory mail order in your pharmacy business
- Advocate on behalf of your patients. Contact their insurance companies for them and make your case why mandatory mail order will be detrimental to your patient. Ask Insurance companies to allow an exemption from the mandatory mail order clause.
- Assist your patients when they call their insurance companies and ask for the exemption in the mandatory mail order clause.
- Encourage your patients to call, email and phone their local, state and federal legislators requesting a choice for their prescription delivery. Encourage patients to post on legislators blogs and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
- Become active in your local and state pharmacy associations and support their efforts to overcome mandatory mail order. Success is already happening in New York and Oklahoma and other states will follow.
- Start a petition on Change.org
- Support and be vocal in national organizations such as APhA and NCPA
- Use your pharmacy’s social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get the message out to your followers and to gain support and spread the word.
- Educate your patients and inform them of the value you bring to their health (they probably know this already) but reinforce it in their minds
- Educate your patients on the realities of mail order pharmacies such as when the CEO of Express Scripts (not a pharmacist) looks at their lives as a commodity and completely discounts the value of the pharmacist by saying “At the end of the day … Nexium is Nexium, Lipitor is Lipitor, drugs are drugs, and it shouldn’t matter that much who’s counting to 30,” Comments and attitudes like this can only cripple the healthcare system further and escalate costs.
- Contact local media in your area to do a story on mandatory mail order and interview you and highlight your pharmacy.
- NEVER GIVE UP!
Why do you support certain businesses and recommend them to others, while some businesses make the hair on the back of your neck stand up?
I would like to start with a story; one that I am sure so many of you have endured before.
A few weeks ago my 80-year-old mother-in-law had to go to her physician for an ailment for which she was given a prescription. Now to set the scene for you she is NEVER sick, NEVER goes to the doctor and NEVER gets a prescription. In 2005 I signed her up for a Medicare PartD plan, just in case the time came when she would need a prescription, and that time came a few weeks ago. She had forgotten that she had a PartD plan and all she knew was that she had Medicare. When she went to the “Big Box Giant Pharmacy” near her home, all she could tell them was that she had Medicare.
The staff at the pharmacy did not offer to help her in any way or attempt to look up the eligibility through the dispensing system (like all Independent Pharmacies that I have worked with do), where they can just look up her Part D plan & ID number with nothing more than the last 4 digits of her social security number and her date of birth…….Instead they charged her cash for the prescription!
None the less this was not going to fly with me, so when I visited her eight days later I went to the pharmacy to request that they re-bill her prescription to her Part D plan and give her a refund. I had the good fortune to speak to the pharmacy manager (great I can get this taken care of by the head honcho)….NOT. This was the most frustrating and aggravating experience and they refused to do anything for her. He stated that they can’t re-bill the prescription after seven days, and he had NO idea he could look up her part D information and actually HELP somebody….I left angry, irate and adamant that myself, my family and anyone who would listen…..never set foot into this store again. Even though I have not mentioned the store name here, I have told everyone I know and so has my mother-in-law
This is the story of the “unreferrable”….the bad experience, the one you tell everyone about…This is NOT what you want.
In the Pharmacy setting you generate referrals from two avenues, Your Customers (Patients) and HealthCare Providers (Prescribers).
7 steps to Creating Your Referral Machine
1. Train your Staff: Employees treat customers the same way that you treat your employees. How does your behavior affect your business’s ability to generate referrals? Create a process for your employees to follow with an operations manual “How We Do It Here”. This will outline your philosophy and have everyone on the same page. The fastest way to more customers is through your staff…create a happy, safe and friendly work environment and the joy and enthusiasm will trickle down from you through your employees to your customers.[i]
2. Create BUZZ: You want your customers to want to be talking about your pharmacy, the more they talk, the more referrals you get. What is your “culture of buzz”. Here are some examples to get you thinking. Free events, outrageous acts of kindness. Do something that no other pharmacy in your area is doing. What if the customer comes in and has to wait for their prescription….how about having a staff member come out from behind the counter and offering the customer tea or coffee with a chocolate chip cookie while they wait. Think this won’t create buzz!
3. Create a GIVE to GET Mentality: this is the basis of how I have always done my business and how I get the referrals and business that I have. Always GIVE. Come from a place of service and the rest just falls into place. You will be rewarded like you can’t imagine. When you give, the business then naturally follows because customers want to support your business and tell everyone that they know to support you too! “Your business growth and success is the side effect of coming from a place of service to your customers and community”[ii]
4. Build a Referral System Into Your Marketing Plan: You need a referral system, something that is part of your marketing plan that you and all your staff incorporate into your daily activities of doing business. Ask customers for referrals and reward your big “referrers”. Remember that as pharmacists we cannot reward customers financially for referring others, but we can create a “preferred referral club” where you can give the customer a gift certificate, something from your store or better yet…invite them to a special lunch, where your top referrers could have lunch with you, interact with you and feel special.[iii]
5. Educate Your Customers: Give your customers “An Experience” and when they come to your pharmacy and teach them TIHWDIH (This Is How We Do It Here), show them your remarkable difference right off the bat.
6. Customers Become Your Advocates: There is nothing like a happy customer. They go and tell everybody they know about the amazing experience that they had at your pharmacy. Included in this category are the Healthcare Provider referral sources, the prescribers who will only be too happy to refer to your pharmacy if you interact with the office, help them troubleshoot and TAKE CARE of their patients every time, so they have less work.
7. Be Remarkable: What sets you apart from your competitors? “Good customer service” is not good enough, it’s something that all businesses say and think they do…What sets you apart? What is your USP (unique selling proposition)? Why should the customer use YOUR pharmacy over another? What’s your positioning? Find the “thing” that sets your pharmacy apart from others
I know none of you have the “unreferral” process like my story at the beginning. Create your Referral Machine, have fun, and grow your business while keeping your staff and customers HAPPY!
For the 10 Step Mind Map go to MichRxConsulting.com/ReferralMap or scan the code here.
Lying still in the hospital bed
In transit, waiting to cross from
this plane to a higher plane
The physical body is done, lying still
The only sound is the grunt for each breath
Even with a brain so damaged, so done
Reptilian survival kicks in, striving for life
One breath at a time
Lying in transit, the root chakra
fully engaged, one grunt at a time
Soon it will be time for the breath to cease
Transit time is over, the physical body is done
This gentle soul, great spirt, courageous being
Is ready to transcend through the crown chakra
To a higher plane
The physical body lies still, one door closes
And the journey of the soul through the universe
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