Want to drive your clients crazy and push them away? It's simple. Just use these seven steps from Brian Conrad, CVPM, the
practice manager at Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash.
1. Ask them to repeat their pet's history. "It's not uncommon for a staff member to take a history before the doctor comes in," Conrad says. "Then doctors ask for the
history again and the client wonders, 'Why did I just spend five minutes telling the technician everything and I'm having
to tell my story again?'"
2. Call their male cat a female, or vice versa. "We have color-coded charts—pink for females, blue for males," Conrad says. "That just shows you how important these details
are to our clients."
3. Hem and haw. Clients like to feel like they're talking to a decision-maker. "You might not ultimately be able to make decisions, but you
can give pet owners the confidence that you're going to take care of the situation and follow up with them to solve their
problem," Conrad says.
4. Make clients feel like strangers in your practice. This can be as simple as failing to use their names or remember their pets, even though they've been visiting your practice
for years, Conrad says.
5. Use words like "mandatory," "protocol," and "required." "When you use these terms, clients feel like you're cornering them," Conrad says. "And when clients feel cornered or that
you're being insincere, they're going to start tuning you out."
6. Sound like a commercial. "Anytime you're doing any kind of routine sales pitch, clients are going to say, 'Hold on,'" Conrad says. "If you've ever
had your oil changed at one of the quick lube services, it's not uncommon for them to say, 'Do you see the color of that fluid?
That's bad.' We put our hands on our wallet and say, 'Wait a minute, this is a sales tactic,' and get really defensive."
7. Over-itemize on the invoice. "Many years ago we used to have one line item, and it might read, 'spay.' And then we had this whole change of heart in the
management industry and decided we have to show what's included. And so we went to the other extreme, and we started to list
'eight pieces of gauze, $2.70.' When we get down to that level, clients really start to feel nickel and dimed," he says.