Episode 193 | Are you driving your clients away?



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Hi there. I’m Doctor Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach, and certified quantum human design specialist. If you’re a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career, or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM podcast is absolutely for you. Let’s get started. Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the Joyful DVM podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about our clients and specifically talking about the possibility that you could potentially be driving your clients away.

So stick with me here for the next few minutes as I unpack this scenario, this situation that happens in veterinary practices, and really help to peel back the layers so that you can see what creates these situations where we actually are driving away the very people that we exist to serve. So before we get into it, and as we get into it, I guess I should say we have to start out and take a look at two myths.

Myth number one, your revenue is dependent upon your client choices. Now, I know that that sounds very logical, and it sounds like that would be fact, right? That the revenue that you bring in is dependent upon client choices. But what I want you to understand is that client decisions are not going to be something you control, but you can control the revenue that you generate. This all comes back to cultivating your own client base over time.

There are a million ways to do this job. That’s why it’s called the practice of veterinary medicine. And along with that, there are a million different veterinary hospitals. That does not mean that every client is the ideal client for your hospital. That also means that your hospital isn’t the ideal hospital for every single client. When we start to realize that energetically we attract exactly the right clients for ourselves, then we can start to become less stressed and anxious about the choices they make and really spend more time building the relationships.

Because quite honestly, when you build relationships with your ideal clients, then the money part just takes care of itself. We want to also, as we’re looking at this and we’re considering how we tie the responsibility for the revenue that we generate to the choices that the client makes, we want to see that what drives this kind of decision or this kind of perspective is our own money story.

When we have scarcity around money, when we feel a lot of stress around money, when we feel scared around money, around our own financial situation, about the debts that we carry, the debts that our businesses carry, about trying to make payroll this week, whatever that story is for us, and we all have a money story. So please. This is not judgment. We just want to be really honest with ourselves and notice that the extent to which we hold tightly to a negative money story, our own money scarcity, becomes something that is reflected in the money scarcity of the clients that we serve.

An energetic balance. And it’s quite fascinating when we start to pay attention to it. So if we are going into our appointments with the thought of I need to make money on my mind, on our minds, then that is going to be the energy through which we serve that client, which actually doesn’t become service at all, and it becomes a very pressurized kind of interaction. What gets lost in that is actually the patient in front of you and even the client themselves.

Because we are so caught up in trying to make the money that we forget that we’re there to serve the client. And we don’t trust that when we serve the client and treat the patient, that the money part takes care of itself. So, just to reiterate, myth number one is that your revenue is not dependent upon client choices. Do not give your power away to that. Because if you buy into that belief system, then every time a client doesn’t choose what you recommend, you are going to feel bitter, you are going to feel resentful, you’re going to feel frustrated, and on top of that, you are going to start to feel scared.

Because if your money story and your value as a veterinary professional is tied to those choices, which you will never control, then you will just continue to spin and try to work harder to control something that was never yours to control in the first place. Myth number two is that you’re responsible for patient outcomes, including declining conditions when the client themselves declined diagnostics and treatment and referral. So this is a myth, my friends.

You are not responsible for patient outcomes, and you are not responsible when a patient declines after a client declines your diagnostics, treatment or option for referral. This is a really important for us, for us to see, because when we take on responsibility for those things, this is what I call hyper responsibility. When we evaluate our own successes and failures based on how the patient responds to treatment, again, we are putting our own personal value and belief in our own abilities into the hands of something that we will never control.

Because no matter what you do, you will never control the physiology of the patient in front of you. So we can recommend diagnostics, we can have treatment plans. We can even refer when it is the type of case that is appropriate to do so, or if we just want to, but the clients then can always decline the part that we control is making those recommendations. The part that they control is the final decision.

And so if we are tying our own value, sense of value and sense of success to those patient outcomes, we are going to lose every single time. Now, again, why is this important, and how does this lead to us driving our clients away? It’s because the pressure that we put on them to make the decisions that we recommend so to agree to our plans, that they can feel that energetically.

And so when we are making these recommendations from a fear of missing something or from a fear of getting the case wrong, as opposed to making those decisions from this place of curiosity and confidence, that these are the best decisions for the patient and my friends, those are two different things. Making recommendations from a place of, this is what I really think is the best interest of the patient.

Versus bluntly put, these are the recommendations I’m going to make to cover my ass. Those are two completely different things. And when you make the recommendations to cover your ass energetically, that does not feel good for you, and the clients are going to pick up on that. And so the way that we communicate those recommendations from, when we are coming at it from a place of fear or anxiety, the way we communicate those recommendations is going to be energetically very different than if we communicated even those exact same recommendations simply from a place of service, from a place of commitment to helping the patient in front of us.

Don’t underestimate the impact that your energetic state is having on how your recommendations and education are being received. Quite often, it is simply the energy that we take into those interactions that drives clients away. It’s not the actual recommendations that we make, and it’s not even the prices that we charge. It’s the energy that we bring with us. So when we are in a situation where we are client shaming and really trying to oversell our services.

So let’s say you, you give them a plan and they decline. So let’s just say it’s just an annual exam, for example, and they decline the heartworm test. The way that you then have a conversation with them about them declining that heartworm test, and even the conversation that you have in advance of even recommending the heartworm test. If that conversation has a tone about it, that basically is telling the client, if you don’t do this, you’re a bad pet owner, then they are going to energetically feel really yucky.

They are not going to trust you from that perspective, and we don’t. We may very passionately believe that heartworm testing is something that that dogs need and maybe even cats like. We may really passionately believe that. We may very passionately believe that heartworm prevention is something that every animal should have, and we get to believe that as much as we want to believe that. But it’s not our responsibility to make everybody else believe that.

It’s our responsibility to simply educate the pet owners on the disease process of heartworms, what the long term outcomes are for positive dogs and cats, what the treatment looks like if they get it, and then explain, this is why we recommend testing, and this is why we recommend prevention. But ultimately, whether or not you want to test your animal for heartworms and put them on heartworm prevention is your choice.

The way that I always like to say it, I’m going to put it on my treatment plan, but you get to decide what you do today. If instead we come at them from a, you should do this. All dogs need to be on heartworm prevention. We need to test and make sure they’re negative before we put them on prevention. If we put them on prevention without testing them first, we could cause a lot of medical problems.

We certainly can’t do that. So the heartworm test is something that absolutely needs to be done today. And then we go on down to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing on the list, and we’re basically telling the owner what they’re going to do today. We have automatically created a divide between us. We’ve taken their choices away and we’ve overstepped our role. It was never our role to make the decisions for them.

Our role has always simply been to educate and to give them options. So when we are approaching our clients from this kind of overselling or over over aggressive recommendation status and kind of shaming them at the same time for not choosing the things that we have recommended, that is definitely creating a divide that’s going to drive your clients away. Also, another way that we’re going to drive them away is through scolding and judgment.

So if they’ve missed an appointment, if they’re late on their vaccines, if there is a medical situation. So like, let’s say a puppy or a dog that gets parvo, but they never, then they had never vaccinated the animal for Parvo as you had recommended in any of those scenarios. If we choose to kind of scold that client and interact with them from a place of judgment, again, we are creating a divide between our clients.

We are going to drive them away. So now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a policy in place about what happens when people miss appointments. I think you should have a policy. And the thing of it is, a hospital policy around missed appointments is a neutral thing. It’s something you communicate to your clients. It’s something that you then uphold when it happens. But you don’t have to take it personally.

You don’t need to be offended at all. When you start to notice that you’re feeling offended, I want you to recognize that there is no way that you are going to be able to interact with that client from a place of compassion and service. It’s just not possible, because you cannot be compassionate and offended at the same time. So we have to take a step back. Notice when we’re feeling offended, notice when we’re feeling resentment, frustration, anger, and check ourselves and get back into a place of compassion and service if we are going to do any good at all in that appointment.

But many of us, because we are frazzled, we run into the appointments from that place, and we then interact through the whole appointment from this place of stress or frustration or being rushed. That kind of energy does not actually serve the client and the patient in the best way. If a patient, a client is laid on vaccines, when we go in the room or we’re there for something else, maybe they’re there for vomiting and diarrhea.

And you’re looking at the history and you notice that Fluffy’s rabies and distemper were due three months ago. How are you going to communicate that to the client if you communicate it like this? You say, oh, hey, I also noticed that Fluffy’s overdue on the rabies in December. It looks like they were due about three months ago. So as soon as we’re over this vomiting issue, when I get you back next week for that recheck, let’s consider getting those things up to date.

Now, that kind of presentation sets the client at ease. You didn’t make a judgment in that case about those vaccinations, but you did recognize that they were late. You communicated that to the client, and then you made a general plan on how to approach it at the recheck. On the other hand, what many of us do is they’re there for vomiting and diarrhea, and we say, oh, you see, Fluffy’s overdue for her vaccines.

I see that you didn’t make it here three months ago. So we definitely, absolutely, we’ve got to do these vaccines. And some of you might even just kind of push to do the rabies today, even though that’s not why they’re there. Now, I’m not saying that’s right or wrong as far as what you do cause how you manage a case is your case, but the way that you communicate that, I think there is opportunity to improve that.

So if we shame them for being late on their whatever it is that you recommended, then just know that that creates fear. They aren’t going to want to come back. And my friends, I’m not making this up. I’ve been in veterinary medicine for 25 years, and just this week I had a client say to me when we were talking about the vaccines that it was due for, they were so embarrassed because they knew that their cat was way overdue on vaccinations, but they were afraid to go in because the last time that they had gone into their veterinarian, when they had been a little bit late on shots, they had gotten so reprimanded by that veterinary professional that they didn’t want to go back.

They knew they were going to be in trouble. And it just breaks my heart, because we’re here to serve them right. We’re here to help the patients and to educate the clients. And if we have them afraid to even come in the door, we can’t do either one of those things. So just notice if you’re coming at them from a scolding or a judgmental kind of way, it’s not your place to judge their choices.

Make them aware, but you can make them aware of things that they’re laid on or behind on without creating judgment in the process. We also have to. I cannot leave this section of this episode without talking about the if and then scenario, because I know many of us do this. We have a dog that comes in with Parvo. So let’s say it’s an eight month old dog. It comes in with Parvo, and we saw the dog maybe at six weeks, we dewormed it, it got a first vaccination, and then they never came back.

Many of us, when that dog comes in at eight months with Parvo, we are going to blame the client. We are going to firmly believe that if they had finished their vaccination series, then they wouldn’t be in a situation where their dog had Parvo today. But, my friends, none of us could testify to that in a court of law. We do not have a crystal ball. And we all know that there are situations where there are actually breakthrough cases.

Even when animals are fully vaccinated, there is no upside to judging a client for something like that. They’re in a situation now where their dog has a life threatening disease, something that we vaccinate against. And it’s a bummer that they didn’t finish their series, but in that moment where we already have a very sick animal in front of us and an owner who is very worried, and we know they care because they’re there and they’re about to spend a bunch of money.

Adding on to that this false statement that if they had finished their vaccination series, they never would be in this situation does nobody any good. It’s going to help your ego, but it will do nothing for the client and patient in front of you. And again, you cannot prove that in a court of law that if they had finished their vaccination series, that the animal wouldn’t have gotten parvo.

You just can’t. So it is not an absolute, and we have to keep that in mind. Did they make different choices than you would have made? Perhaps they did, but the choices that they made are the choices that they made, and those are in the past. There’s nothing you can do about that at this point in time, but you can help them right now. And if you come at them with compassion in this moment, because they’re probably beating themselves up as well.

If you come at them with compassion and with a joint mission to help the patient in front of you, you can get through this entire situation actually building trust with your client, even if the patient doesn’t survive. So it’s really, really important for us to recognize how we are feeling emotionally when we interact with our clients. Because at the heart of all of this, the reason that we drive our clients away is really based in how we are feeling emotionally.

Here’s why. The way that we feel emotionally drives everything that we do. So everything that we say, our own body language, the words that we choose, the decisions that we make, the way that we interact with others, all of that is driven by our emotion. If we are interacting with our clients from a place of frustration and anger or fear, then we are not going to do a great job at building trust, educating the client, and treating the patient in front of us.

Unfortunately, in the world, things like money and patient outcomes really get tied to some pretty strong negative emotions. For most of us, we have this anchor between money and safety. And this is not just a vet med thing. This is a world thing. Many of us believe the more money we have, the safer we are. This is a completely false connection. It’s well beyond the scope of what we’re talking about in this episode.

But I just want to point out that many of us not only tie our own self value and worth to money, but also the concept of our safety. And so when something happens that takes away money from us, we automatically start to perceive it as scary, as dangerous. And if we think about veterinary medicine, if somebody declines services, our brain wants to say, okay, that means we’re going to make less revenue.

And we could go that even further. If you’re on a bonus based system or a commission based system, you might even go, go on to say that I’m going to make less money. And you have to ask yourself the question, so what? So what does that mean? So what’s the scary thing that’s going to happen if you make less money? And we forget to realize that whether or not a client decides to agree to your recommendations is their decision to make.

It’s not yours. All this said, we just need to start to be curious and aware of when clients decline services. Are you getting frustrated and angry not only because you’re all tied up in this hyper responsibility over the outcome of the patient, but also because you’re holding on to a bit of a grudge over how their declining of the services is going to impact your actual personal paycheck and perhaps your safety?

So, something to consider if you’re finding yourself very frustrated and angry when people decline their services, just recognize, until you get that frustration and anger under control, you are going to have a very difficult time serving that client. And maybe even the ones that follow you may carry that with you. And the worst thing that we can do, in my opinion, is to get that frustrated. Let that frustration and then anger and resentment feed into the rest of that, that interaction with the client.

Because what I have seen in my decades of veterinary practice is that when people decline services, if you have presented the information in a way that is not judgmental or shaming, that is compassionate and educational and honors their own decision, that many, many, many of those clients eventually decide to do the very things that they declined the first time around. It may not be today, it may not be next week or next month.

It might not even be until next year or two or three years down the road. But people remember how they feel when they’re around you. They remember how you treat them. And so don’t underestimate the negative impact you will have if you are coming at that client from a place of frustration or anger or fear as your emotional state, even if you think you’re covering it up, because it is impacting the way that you interact with that client, whether or not you want to admit it.

Another way that we have to be really careful to watch our emotions has to do with those patient outcomes, right? Kind of what I was talking about before. If the patient doesn’t respond to treatment like and just declines, maybe it dies, but the client has then also declined services. What conclusion are you drawing there? So are you concluding that the patient would have gotten better if the client hadn’t declined the services?

Are you concluding that the patient would have survived having a foreign body if the client would have done surgery? We don’t know that, my friends. We never know that. And so when a patient doesn’t have an outcome that you wanted to have, maybe it’s something more simple, you know, like vomiting and diarrhea. And you recommended some blood work to check for pancreatitis, and you wanted to hospitalize it for fluids, and they declined all of those things, wanted some sub q fluids, and they went home.

And let’s just say that patient dies. If that patient dies, who are you blaming? Odds are what you’re doing is that you’re going to blame the client for not following your directions, right? You’re going to. You’re going to blame the client for not following your advice, doing the blood work, hospitalizing the patient. And you’re really believing that if they’d done those things, the dog wouldn’t be dead today.

The truth is, you don’t know that. You don’t know that. So this resentment that we carry toward clients based on their decisions, again, is not going to do anything to help build those relationships between you and the client. It’s not going to do anything to continue to help the animals. It’s going to massage your ego. But that’s only going to work for so long, because at the end of the day, if you’re needing to build up your own sense of self worth by the outcomes of your patients, you’ve put all of your trust and all of your energy, all of your power into something that you’ve never been able to control in the first place.

Patient outcomes are never going to be something that you control. On the flip side of that, what many of us do is that when we have these patients that don’t do well, and even though a client has declined the services, many of us actually, instead of just flat out blaming the client, we blame ourselves. We say, if I would have presented that better, if I had done a better job of explaining why they needed those things, then they would have done them, and then the pet would have gotten better.

So you notice we’re getting to the same place. It’s still this conclusion that if they’d done the diagnostics and the treatment that the patient would have survived, which we cannot prove. On one hand, we blame them for not doing the diagnostics and the treatment. On the other hand, we blame ourselves for not being good enough at presenting the diagnostics and the treatment to convince them to do them.

My friends, if you’re trying to do anything from a convincing energy, you’re going to have a very hard time consistently getting buy in. Because we’re not trying to convince anybody of anything. We’re simply educating and giving them options. If we just stay in that lane, then we can start to let go of the decisions that they make and our own sense of self worth and self value and success doesn’t dependent upon that.

Coming back to that emotion, interacting with clients from emotion, you really have to be careful about that. Not blaming the clients, don’t judge them, don’t chastise them, don’t scold them. And I know I don’t. I really try to stay away from telling you all exactly what to do, but these things are not helping you. And I know that many of us do this. And as we do this, even when it is just kind of the snarky little remarks about them being overdue on vaccines, or if we really buy into an idea that they could have avoided a disease process if they would have followed our directions over time, that compounding effect of the negative way that we treat clients, even if it’s subtle, ends up having a major influence on the way that the clients themselves behave.

So if people are feeling offended, if people are feeling defensive, the chances of you getting them to say yes to anything really decreases and you’re really increasing the likelihood that they’re never going to come back. Because if they’re feeling judged, if they’re feeling chastised, if they’re feeling disrespected, why would they want to come back to our facilities? It doesn’t matter if you’re right, if they don’t believe that, they’re welcome there.

And this all really comes down to something that we are not entitled to, my friends, we are not entitled to clients accepting our recommendations. I’m going to say that again. We are not entitled to clients accepting our recommendations. It doesn’t matter how strongly we believe in our recommendations. That’s great. We should believe in our recommendations 100%, but we are not entitled to them agreeing to what we think that they should do.

We have to remember that the choice is always theirs. And if we start to tie our own success in this job to the choices that the clients make, we are going to lose 100% of the time. My friends, you can only help the patient that’s in front of you. And so if we continue these kinds of behaviors and continue to drive these clients away, that’s fewer animals that we are going to be able to help.

If we get stuck in a cycle of thinking about what should have been different with a case that we don’t even have in front of us, we get stuck in anxiety and worry, and we’re what if ing ourselves to death? That takes us, makes us distracted from what we’re doing in this moment. And again, we can only help the patient that’s right in front of us. The revenue that we generate, my friends, comes from the people who seek our services.

This is important. I know that sounds basic, but it’s something important to remember that if we want to revenue generate revenue in our businesses, we do that from the people who seek our services. Now, that does not mean that we are entitled to them having a $300 transaction every time they come in. We are not entitled to that. But what we provide is a service. And when they perceive value in the service that we provide, they are more willing to invest in those services.

The first time in the door, they may not be willing or be ready to invest a lot of money. They don’t know you yet. They haven’t built trust with you yet. They haven’t really understood that what you have to provide is valuable. You believe it. I get it. I believe it, too. But just because you and I believe in the value of veterinary medicine does not mean the general population does.

And we are not entitled to them believing it. But we have endless opportunity to show them and to teach them and to encourage them. And when we do that, then they come back and they spend more money and we make more revenue. And everybody wins because the animals then get the greatest level of care. We need to value our own time and our services. And what many of us do, especially when we are really caught up in a negative money story of our own, we discount things.

We throw in stuff and not charge for it. We don’t do anything at all about people that, who don’t show up. We don’t have any kind of policy for no shows. And these kinds of things really create a negative impact over time. So with the discounts, I want you to pay attention. When are you feeling pressure to discount something? Most of the time it’s not going to be because something a client says, it’s going to be because of the perception that you have of the client and what you’re believing they’re going to be able to do.

So just keep that in mind. And if you start giving discounts, you are setting an expectation that discounts are available. Is that what you really want to create? As far as culture, I don’t think it is. And when you start discounting your services, you know what you’re actually doing. You’re devaluing them, because if you discount what you have available to them, then they start to question why they would ever pay full price.

The same thing can be said for people who no show their appointments. You need to have some kind of policy in place on what you do when that happens. You know, maybe it’s kind of a you get one freebie kind of deal. Like the first time it happens, no big deal. We make sure that people know about it. But then you have a policy in place that says if you no show two times, or maybe if you no show three times, you’re going to be required to prepay for your appointment time.

You get to pick whatever you want for a policy. The reason that I think this is an important thing to do is because again, it’s all about perceived value. There’s only so many hours in a day, and if you’re booking up your day with appointments that don’t show up, then you are missing the opportunity to create revenue. But more so, you are creating a culture where making appointments and never showing up is okay.

And that’s not, in my opinion, the best way to show value, because we value their time and we want them to value our time. We’ve set aside this time for them. And if we set the expectation of you make an appointment, you show up for your appointment, then we start to have fewer and fewer no shows. So just consider what are you doing as far as no shows go, do you have a lot of no shows during the day?

And just consider why is it that you allow that to continue to happen? Because continuing to let people repeatedly no show for appointments isn’t about them. It’s about you. It’s about your fear of telling them that that’s not acceptable. It’s about your fear of losing the money that they would spend if they did show up. And when you start to spend so much of your time catering to this lower percentage of your clients, you’re missing out the opportunity to serve some of your highest percentage of clients.

So just something for you to consider. So what should you do with your clients? How can you actually interact with them in a way that that decreases the chances that you’re going to drive them away? Well, again, it all comes down to emotion, right? The way that we interact with our clients, we need to check our emotional state, make sure that we’re in a good place before we have those interactions.

And there’s a few things that you can do in the room to really help build that relationship. One of my favorite things to do is to find something to praise them for in every single visit. Your job as a veterinary professional is not to serve as judge and jury over the way that they care for their animals. That’s not your job. Your job is to educate. Your job is to provide options.

Your job is to then follow through with whatever they decide. And there is always something that you can praise them for in every single visit. So find something positive to say to those people. One way that you can do this is by finding some kind of common interest. I think this is a great way to do it. Find a common interest. You have something in common with every single person that walks in your door.

Now, I know some of you, you’re hearing me say that, and you’re feeling a little bit skeptical that it’s not possible that you would have something in common with every single person that walks through the door. But I guarantee you that you do. And what that commonality is is that you care about animals. They care about animals because they brought their animal to you for care, even if they don’t care for it the way that you would.

They don’t buy all the things that you would buy for your pet. They don’t do all the services that you would do for your pet. It doesn’t matter. That they even bothered to make an appointment and show up with an animal shows us that they care about animals. You also care about animals. So that is something you have in common with every single client, and you can turn that into something positive to say about them and to them while they are there.

That little thing of that common ground and communicating something positive to a client during a visit goes a long, long way in building trust. What you can also do to really help elevate that experience for them is to make your best recommendations and then leave the choice to them and voice that the choice is theirs. So make the best recommendations based on what you believe the pet needs, whatever the diagnostics are, whatever the treatment is, all the things.

And in your mind, as the dollar signs are flying by and you’re getting all scared to death about verbalizing this. Just take a breath and just remember you are here to make the best recommendations for the pet in front of you. This is what you believe as a veterinary professional is best for the pet. And what they choose is not on you. And so if we just can remember that the choice is theirs, and then voice that to them, this is the important point.

Voice that to them, if they get to choose, that goes so far in building relationship and trust with clients. So you say all the things. Here’s what I recommend for Fluffy today. Here’s why I recommend these vaccinations. Here’s why these vaccinations are important. I’m going to recommend a heartworm test. Let me tell you a little bit about heartworm disease. And you explain that. I’m going to recommend that we check a stool sample.

Let me tell you why that is. And you do all of that, and then you say, I’m going to get you a price for all these things. Because usually by about the third item, their eyes are getting big and they’re getting a little scared. And this is when I step in and I say, you know what? I’m going to go through all these recommendations, and then we’re going to give you all the prices, and you get to decide what you want to do today.

And then I see them physically relax because they get to decide, and I’m letting them know. You get to decide. I’m making the recommendations, but you get to decide. They relax. Then they can start to hear me again. Because when you’re in the middle of going through that plan and they’re starting to panic about money, they don’t hear you anymore. And the reason that they’re panicked is because they’ve probably been in a situation where they didn’t have a choice on what was done, where a veterinary professional told them what they were going to do with their pet today, and then they were just expected to pay the bill at the end.

My friends, that might have been the way that it worked 20 or 50 years ago. It does not work that way anymore. Clients get to choose. So we have to communicate to them that they have choice, that simple communication. Hey, ultimately, you get to decide what we do today. Build so much trust so quickly, it will blow your mind. Another thing you can do in the exam room is to reiterate that you are there to help them and that they are always welcome.

You are there to help them and they are welcome in your practice. I know that sounds obvious, but I want to tell you it’s not, especially in the world that we live in right now, where there is so much negativity, there is so much disrespect and just mean behavior in general. Just being kind and letting you know that we are just there to help you. And you’re always welcome.

Give us a call, shoot us an email. We’re here to help. Those words go a long way. And the vast majority of your clients are never going to call you or email you with questions. But the ones that do are going to be thankful that you are there. And even the ones who don’t still find huge value in knowing that it’s an option. And finally, I can’t stress this one enough, really refrain from appearing frazzled and rushed when you’re in your appointment.

So I know that many of us are working double booked and short staffed, and so we end up behind, especially as the day goes on and we feel frazzled. Right. We feel rushed because we’re in our mind just spinning on how behind we are and how late we’re gonna get out and all those things. But if we focus on those things when we walk into the appointment, and what I mean by that is if that’s what’s running through our minds right before we walk in, two things are happening.

Number one, we’re thinking about us. We’re not thinking about them. And number two, we are creating this compounding negative emotion for ourselves. Anxiety, stress, overwhelm. The way that we then act from those emotions. Anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. We will look frazzled. We’re going to be rushed. We are going to be a little disoriented sometimes. We’re not going to be as good communicators as if we are relaxed. So this is where I said beside before, check yourself before you go in the room.

Get yourself back in the right frame of mind. Remind yourself while you’re there. We are here to help clients and treat patients. We can only help the patient and client in front of us in this moment. If we just, those two little sentences, repeat those to yourself, take a nice deep breath, then go in and do that. Let all the other self stuff just kind of be outside for now so that you can actually help the patient in front of you.

When we are frazzled, when we are rushed, that energy is going to transfer. They are going to pick up on it and they are, especially if you’re really trying to rush through stuff, their perception of value is going to decrease in a hurry. But if instead, when it’s chaotic and you know, those days where there’s a million people in the waiting room and it’s all kind of crazy and loud.

And especially this happens a lot during the end of the day, and there’s just a lot going on. If you can walk into that exam room, shut that door, and if you have something you can sit down on, even if you only sit for two minutes while you’re talking to them and looking at the pet, the perceived value in that skyrockets because the person in that room sees that you are there to take care of them.

That despite the fact that there’s a lot of chaos which they saw on their way in, that none of that actually interfered with their appointment, that you, in those moments that they had with you, were focused on them and on their pet, that you were talking calmly, that you said kind things to them, that you encouraged them, that you made recommendations, that you didn’t put pressure on them to do anything, that you were just there to help.

And that little act of just taking a second to sit down or just, if you don’t have seats, just kind of lean on the counter and just talk with them about their pet, even as you’re doing your exam, focusing on them will go just miles and miles toward increasing the perceived value and building the trust. The bottom line, if they don’t believe you care, it really does not matter how much you know or how much you can help them.

If they don’t believe that it matters, like, that they matter, that their pet matters to you. If they feel like another number, then they’re going to say, no, you’re going to drive them away. So they need to believe that you care. They need to know that you matter, that they matter rather. So this is a very important thing to remember, that if they don’t believe that we care, it doesn’t matter what we know, and it doesn’t matter how much we can help because we will never have an opportunity to do so.

We will drive them away. If they don’t think that we care, it doesn’t matter how smart we are. Human nature is that people are more likely to follow the recommendations of the people that they trust. Think about that for a second. Whose recommendations do you follow? And if you have a spidey sense that you don’t trust somebody or that the person that you’re interacting with in whatever line of service didn’t actually care about you, that you were just another number or just another client, do you keep going back there?

I’m going to guess you probably don’t, because, again, we have to come back to. We’re getting ready to spend some money, right? And if we’re tying our own safety to money, and we highly value money as part of our lives, which most of us do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, money is very useful. And if we’ve worked really, really hard to earn that money and now we’re getting ready to spend some of that money, we want to feel good about our choice to spend the money.

And even if it’s to take care of our pet, if we don’t feel like the people who will be taking care of our pet actually care about us or care about our pets, we are not going to be willing to let go of our money. But on the other hand, if we do believe that they care, then we are going to be more than willing to invest in the pet because we can see that we have something in common, that we both care about the pet in front of us, and we both have an opportunity to participate in the care that it needs.

Friends, trust does not happen in just one visit. Most of the time, this is really important. Trust doesn’t happen. Trust isn’t built in just one visit. But trust can be broken in one visit. I guarantee it. So you can have one bad encounter with a client and they will never come back. You’ll drive them away. But you can have a series of good encounters with clients, even encounters where they decline everything.

And during those encounters, you are building trust. You are building the potential that eventually they will go through with the things that you recommend. But if you get offended, if you feel entitled, if you’re so rushed and frustrated that you appear frazzled and disconnected when you’re interacting with them, then you’re going to drive them away. We need to be aware at the end of the day, bottom line, we need to be aware of how we are emotionally before we interact with our clients.

If we are not in a good emotional place. I’m not saying you’re happy and excited and cheerful all the time. I’m not saying that. But what I’m saying is that we are making an intentional effort to set aside our anxiety, our frustration, our overwhelm to focus on the client in front of us in that exam room. If we aren’t doing that, then not only are we decreasing our opportunity to help a client and to treat a patient, we are also completely disrupting our ability to enjoy our jobs because we are making our happiness and our success and our satisfaction with our job dependent on things that we will never control.

And when we are caught in anxiety and overwhelm. We are not focused on what’s happening in front of us in that moment. We are not focused on the client and the patient who is right there, which are the only ones that we have any ability to help in that moment. Instead, we are, in our minds, somewhere different, either in the past or in the future, somewhere that does not exist in this current moment.

And not only does that drive away our clients, it decreases our ability to help our patients. And even more importantly, it decreases the quality of our own lives. It starts to feed this belief system that our veterinary careers are ruining our lives. And the more that we keep interacting with our lives and with our jobs through this lens of overwhelm, anxiety, shame, judgment, and we blame external things for the experiences that we have, the harder it’s going to be to find any kind of common ground or any kind of satisfaction and long term well being.

So, my friends, do not underestimate how your own net emotional state plays into all of these things. And just consider, just be curious and compassionate with yourself as you go through the next few weeks and pay attention to how are you feeling emotionally before you walk into that exam room, take those few minutes to recenter yourself on why you’re there. I’m here to help clients and serve patients.

Serve clients and help patients. I am here to talk to these people. I can find something in common. I can find something to praise them for. Just play with this for a week and I think you’re going to notice two things. I think you’re going to notice that you actually enjoy your job more and that people actually start accepting more of your recommendations than they did when you kind of went in there with your hair on fire all stressed out about what’s happening in the world.

All right, my friends, big things for you to consider this week. If you need some help with getting your own personal well being and your net emotional state under control, you know the place to go. It’s Vet Life Academy. So jump over to joyfuldvm.com vetlifeacademy, get on our priority list and you will be the first to know as soon as we open the doors again. Because, my friends, Vetlife Academy is all about showing you and supporting you as you learn how to create a net emotional state that is higher than where you are, which increases your well being, increases your quality of life, and brings you much more joy and happiness along the way.

All right, my friends, that’s going to wrap it up for this week. See you soon. Bye for now.