I’ve been operating my own small animal practice for nearly two years now and there’s a lot of things that I have learned in this journey. Of course there’s a lot of things to list (of which I will write a separate post for this topic), but one which is of utmost importance is about winning a client’s trust.
I have found out that once a client trusts you, they will be more open to your suggestions, they are a lot easier to talk to, they will buy more of the products and services that you offer, they will keep coming back to your clinic, and they will happily recommend and refer your practice to their friends.
I think that with a client recommending your practice, this is the best gauge whether a client trusts you or not. Why? Because no one will ever recommend somebody they don’t trust. So if clients come through referrals and recommendations, be grateful because it means that a client trusts you. Same is true with other professional service providers that work in a client relationship type of business.
Bottom line, a client’s trust translates to more business for your practice during their pet’s lifetime. I am not saying that clients and patients are just numbers that add up to your income. First follow your purpose, serve others according to your ability and the income will follow along the way.
Winning a client’s trust is, however, not an easy thing to do. Given the fact that there are already a lot of competing veterinary practices, clients can always choose to not come back to you and go to other practices instead. Nowadays clients can just make a quick search on Google and look for other veterinary practices in the locality. They can also ask anyone on social media and yes, read reviews about anything or anyone.
Winning a client’s trust has little to do with proximity to your veterinary practice, some clients will gladly go to their trusted vet and pass by many other veterinary clinics along the way. Winning a client’s trust has also little to do with pricing, as some clients will go to a practice that charges more and happily pay for it, for as long as they are getting their money’s worth.
On the other hand, winning a client’s trust has something to do with expertise, but really, expertise is not all there is that keeps a client. A client’s trust is won over when you assume the role of a trusted adviser. A trusted adviser is someone who provides the solution, and also someone who protects the client from anything untoward that can happen to their pets. A trusted adviser doesn’t try to sell every service and every product to a client, but offers and explains things so that the client is well-informed before making a purchase. A trusted adviser is someone who is not purely after the client’s money, but is someone who genuinely cares for the welfare of both the client and the patient.
Finally, winning a client’s trust also has something to do with developing a relationship with your clients. And I’m not talking about the romantic kind of relationship. It’s about being genuinely interested to know the client more, what does he/she do for a living, where does he/she live, or simply listening to their stories while they come in for a visit.