How to get my foot in the door

lemonbuglemonbug subscriber Posts: 6 Member
Hi everyone-

I am starting a pet bracing business and need advice on partnering with local vets or I am afraid I am going to get shut out. I think I can get some business directly from patients but most of it will come from veterinary referrals.

I am a board certified prosthetist and orthotist, which means that I went to school and trained to make artificial limbs for humans. There are lots of pets that need braces for leg and hip injuries and even pets that need an artificial limb. There is no school or training to do this for pets and it is an unregulated field. Vets are not trained in making braces or artificial limbs. Everything I know about doing this for humans is easily transferable to pets. The bones and anatomy in dogs is very similar to that of humans and they have the same type of issues (e.g. torn ACL in the knee).

Anyhow, there are a few providers in the US that serve local markets and do mail order. One provider isn't even a prosthetist or orthotist so he has no training at all. I want to corner the area I live in where there are no providers and then move to internet sales. My only concern is that Vets will either love the local support or feel that I don't belong because I am not a vet, or they will feel like I am infringing on their territory somehow.

I have very good people skills since I have worked in the industry for a long time and had to learn to to build rapports with patients and families by building trust. BUT I am not a sales person at all.

1. How do I get into a vets office to offer my services and be seen as a partner and not a threat?
2. What is the best way to get FaceTime with a vet? Walk in, email, call? I am making business cards and a website now. I am also going to make a few sample braces so they can actually see and feel the product.

Please let me know what you think. If I don't build these relationships I am sunk and I probably just have one shot at each office.

Thanks, l

Comments

  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,055 Site Admin
    edited April 2017
    I would maybe suggest working with somebody who has a background in sales, preferably with selling orthopedic/medical supplies. You may not be able to afford to pay them yet, so you cut a deal where you give them a little bit up front and then partner with them on the revenue you make from your products. Teach that person the ins and outs of the products.  Bring him/her with you on your sales pitch and let them do most of the talking, while you run the demo and talk about the more technical aspects. 

    Website and business cards are a good start and a must, but you need to connect on a personal level with the vets as well. I would maybe look to join social media groups for vets and ask if anybody would be interested in such products. Then send direct messages to those people and set up times to meet or speak over the phone. 
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • lemonbuglemonbug subscriber Posts: 6 Member
    Thanks. I have been trying to get into any online vet forums and have even contacted the site moderators but for some reason they are very protective and have denied me entry to every forum I have found. I explained what I am doing and that I just like to interface with some vets to ask questions and either I was ignored or told to pay for advertising. I dont want to advertise now, just ask some questions.
  • Steffi DsouzaSteffi Dsouza Punesubscriber Posts: 98 Silver Level Member
    I would suggest you to apply For Open Positions. This isn't the most effective way to get your foot in the door at most companies, but it does still work for some. To maximize your chance for an interview,make sure you customize your resume and cover letter by adding key words from the job posting.
  • lemonbuglemonbug subscriber Posts: 6 Member
    Steffi-I was actually thinking the same thing. I think that is a pretty smart way to get access to specific people at times. Obviously it requires a lot of time and work but if all else fails. I spoke with a dog trainer last week. He told me when he started 10 years ago he would take his dog to different vets for a checkup even though he didn't really need anything. This gave him an in and cost him 50-$75 a pop.
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