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Networking Concepts to Help Grow Your Practice

In the professional world we have all heard of “networking.” Some of us like it, some just tolerate it. I’m sure most people in the world of veterinary medicine didn’t decide to open their own practice just for the networking opportunities. It’s safe to say they opened their own practice because they wanted to make a difference, help animals and support their families. It is hard to believe that networking, when done correctly, is helping others just as much as you are helping yourself?
Why does my practice need to network?
If you ever want your practice to expand, you will need to network. Here are a few ways that networking can help grow your practice!


Reach the People

You can market your practice in magazines, papers and digitally, but that only reaches so many people. A cheaper and easier way to grow your practice is by just talking bout it with people. Word-of-mouth reputation is real. A simple networking session might not seem like much at first, but it plants the seeds of your practice with the people you talk to. Those people then go on and have other conversations, potentially talking about your practice, thus spreading your name further; All at the cost of a simple conversation!


More Conversions for your Practice

When you talk to a potential client and they decide to become a customer, they now have converted into an actual client. This might seem like an easy task, but if you are relying on traditional marketing strategies alone, you are missing out. The conversion rate of people via print and web ads are single digit low. When people see an ad in the paper or on a website, they are seeing a different version of the “cold call.” A networking session, however, has a much higher chance of converting people into clients. Even if it’s your clients that are networking, they can potentially convert potential customers into new clients. This is due to the fact that the new clients are hearing about your practice via friends, other pet owners, or other business owners they trust. Another reason why networking has a higher conversion rate is due to the much more focused audience. If you network with someone that runs a pet store, they can refer your practice to pet owners directly, versus a paper ad in the local paper.


Practice Improvement

Nobody knows everything there is to know about business. When you network with people you gain access to their knowledge pool. Perhaps your practice is struggling with an issue, you can then ask your connections to see if they know a solution. If none of your connections have the answers, maybe one of their connections has a solution. With the proper knowledge at your disposal, practice ownership can be easier.


Pep for Practice Ownership

When you are an independent practice owner, it can seem like the world wants your business to fail. But when you network with other practice owners, they can help give you the support and inspiration you need! They could have been there before or going through the same issue as your practice. With a support team in your network, your chances of success continue to grow. With a peer networking group, you will have access to their support and their knowledge to help:
• Answer real day-to-day questions
• Come up with new ideas to help your business grow
• Get you and your practice through challenging business times
• Inspire you to run the best practice you can


Networking Tips to Making a Solid Connection

Networking, if done right, can be one of the best methods to grow your practice. This is why you need to take care of your network! The key factor to keeping a network solid is reciprocity. If your connections don’t feel they are receiving the same level of benefit from the connection, they will terminate it. For a practice owner looking to build a mutually beneficial connection, there are two groups of people you need to network with for sure:
• Professionals
• Clientele
For a practice to truly grow and thrive, you will need to build solid connections with many people that fall into these categories.



The term, “Professionals,” covers a very large category, but we are focusing on the two main groups: Shop Owners & Other Practice Owners. When I mention shop owners, I am talking about pet stores. When a family is looking to make an addition to the family, they will usually visit a pet store at least once either to get supplies for the new family member, or to pick up the family member. While the pet store is building and strengthening their connection with their customer, they will often recommend a local practice for all the medical need for the pet. If you have a solid connection with the professional, they will hopefully be recommending your practice.
A second reason that shop owners are great to have in your network is for their business. As pet store bring in new animals for their shops, each of those animals will need to be checked out before they can be sold to the public. If a practice can get a few pet stores in their network, it would be great for growth.



For a practice to thrive, it needs to build a clientele. A good way to get more clients is to interact and participate with your community. By volunteering your time to an organization in your community, it gives you an opportunity to have conversations and make connections. Here are a few other ways you can connect with your community:
• Join your local Chamber of Commerce
• Serve on a local board
• Sponsor a local team/association
• Participate in afterschool activities, if you have children
• Participate in neighborhood/town events


How to Directly Network with Potential Clients

With industry professionals, it is much simpler to get them into your network. You just need to make sure networking with your practice is mutually beneficial for them. With potential clients, you will need to prove to them that you can provide a service for them that is beneficial. Here are a couple of successful tips to winning over potential clients:
• Show them how much you genuinely care about them and the community you share
• Show that your practice can meet their needs more efficiently than your local competition
Demonstrating that your practice will get to know each pet personally and know any unique needs they might have, will greatly increase the chance of them becoming part of your clientele. A good pint to remember is that every interaction is an opportunity to network! It doesn’t matter if you are making small talk with the teller at a bank or the receptionist at your dentist office. Many households across America have pets. Don’t hesitate to bring your practice up in conversation. Make every conversation count!



Sourced & Written By:
First Financial Bank