Despite the fact I was filling prescriptions for a waiting patient, I had to stop to go over the numbers with the RPM. Mind you, I'm not the pharmacy manager. I'm the staff pharmacist. But the pharmacy manager said Mr. RPM should talk to me because I'm the "one with ideas." (That was the pharmacy manager's way of getting the RPM out of his hair for the day)
So here we are, while patients are waiting, looking at this year's numbers compared to last year. Sales are actually up but our bottom line is down because the cost of the drugs went up more than sales went up. We talked about this and it appears The Authorities are completely aware of this. Sales are up but they're not happy. Instead of trying to find a way to lower costs... he asked:
We're in a well-established neighborhood. We have a competitor across the street, one in our parking lot, two competitors less than three miles away, and a bunch within a ten miles radius. We're in the big city. There is a lot of competition and not a lot we can do. We play the gift card game, the competitor plays it back and the only thing that's gained is cash in the patient's pocket.
For the most part, the only new business we get is from people that move into the neighborhood or a transfer from a competitor because they're angry. I told Mr. RPM when either happens we're all over it to make sure we keep the business. Other than that, most people are pretty happy with where they are now. Some may not like one competitor, but they have that oh-so-inviting drive thru. We can't compete with that.
There's not a lot we can do.
I told him that the biggest problem is that our grocery store is slower than the other grocery competitor. At any one time there's three times as many cars parked in their lot compared to ours. The reason why is they have lower prices. I said, "If you can get Goofmart to lower our grocery prices, we'll get more people into the grocery and we can get their pharmacy business."
Mr. RPM just looked at me. Then he changed the subject. He wants to go after an old folks home close by. He wants me to go over and talk to the people there about getting their prescription business.
He's the new RPM and not aware we've been over there twice in the last year. They already have contracts with our competitor. I have no negotiating power with the company, at all, but I'm supposed to go over and negotiate a new contract?
I told the RPM about a couple of other ideas, but he seemed focused on the old folks home. That's probably what The Authorities have decided is their best course of action to obtain new business: Let's send the non-sales-trained STAFF pharmacist to go over there and negotiate a contract without anything to negotiate with. That will drive business!
Goofmart Pharmacy ~ Ignoring the best way to increase the bottom line by going after obscure business opportunities with untrained staff with no negotiating power!