Using what he learnt from his first Business Development event, Alan Robinson, the owner of VetFocus UK, has sold out a group coaching programme worth £60,000 to 12 veterinary practices and is about to offer a second to keep up with demand.
He’s also introduced a continuity product that he sells to veterinary practices and estimates it will bring in a further £80,000 during the next 12 months. “We set up a veterinary preventative healthcare programme for practices and have already sold quite a few of those.” VetFocus is one of the largest veterinary business development consultancy services in the UK.
When Alan attended his first Digital Lighthouse event, a free weekend seminar, he knew he wanted to expand his business but was unsure how to accomplish it.
“I needed the mechanics of how it should work marketing approach and web marketing in particular how to build a database and communicate with the people on it.
“Fortunately, I had a lot of the pieces already in place because I had a database of different clients that I worked with but I needed to put in some structure.
“I’d been doing traditional marketing for a long time I set up my business in 1995 but I knew very little about the new web-based marketing, using squeeze pages, autoresponders and so on.
“I just wanted to get into that world because that’s obviously the way marketing is going. I wanted to know so I could explain it to my clients as well. I share what I learn about marketing and adapt it to suit the veterinary market.
“My brother came over from Australia he had just sold his company and was looking to move into consulting. I knew Jonathan Jay [Digital Lighthouse’s Founder] from The Coaching Academy and Id received information about his Digital Lighthouse marketing weekends. My brother and I sat down and said, ‘Let’s go and see this Jonathan Jay guy and see what he has to say.’ So we both went along and it inspired us to get on and do it.
“My brother is actually doing something similar now in Australia.”
What Alan learned during those two days so inspired him, he signed up to join Digital Lighthouse’s Business Development Programme.
“Within the veterinary industry, I was doing a lot of one-to-one consultancy with practices all over the place. I was travelling an awful lot running and up down the country from Inverness down to Jersey, the west coast of Ireland and down to Holland.
“I wanted to shift that to a more centralised approach and to offer a group coaching programme instead like Jonathan had set up with his Business Development Programme.
“I wanted to replicate his model and see how it worked.
“We look after 200 veterinary practices across the country and we segment those into four platinum, gold, bronze and silver. I wanted to set up a Platinum Group and to move everyone from the gold, bronze and silver levels up to that level through a group coaching programme.
“I decided to set up a series of free two-day seminars about marketing and finances for vets and to use it to recruit people for a 12-month group coaching programme.
“I set up a website and promoted it in a similar style to how Jonathan promotes his. I use a single web page with a sign-up option.
“I backed it up with an email programme which sent emails to my database to draw them to my website.
“I also do direct mails to follow up my emails and help drive them to my website.”
And the response?
“I filled the first free seminar quite quickly – I limited the number of places and I had about 27 on the first one.
“I decided to do two more. Out of that, half had signed up after receiving an email message about it and the other half came from the direct mail Id sent out.
“I also put an insert into the weekly “Veterinary Times” magazine and that worked quite well too.
“I now have a waiting list for any more that I want to run.”
From the free seminars, Alan has filled his first group coaching programme.
“That’s 12 veterinary practices coming together once a month for 12 months. They’re paying just under £5,000. And that’s going to bring in £60,000 next year.
“We are over-subscribed for the group coaching programme now so we’ll have to run a second one.”