It’s no secret that my wallet is slightly bulging at the seams from loyalty cards of the shops I frequently visit. Between the café down the street to the frozen yogurt store by my home, one might say I’ve become a habitual ‘loyalty’ junkie in my local community. Based on my own buying behavior and the behavior of others I witness at my local retail establishments, it’s easy to see how loyalty programs, if designed properly, can significantly drive sales. One of my favorite ‘masters’ of the loyalty program is Costco. If there’s a Costco in your community (which I’d imagine there probably is), then you know exactly what I’m referring to.
Costco charges a nominal annual fee for access to substantial discounts on thousands of products and services. Based on their immense volume buying power, they’re able to provide their members with the best pricing on nearly EVERYTHING in every product and service category. The best part about their program is that regardless of how frequently you take advantage of their savings, you STILL have access as long as you have a membership. Furthermore, at higher membership tiers, you can earn additional savings and rebates on all your purchases.
So the question is, why wouldn’t you belong to Costco?
I’ll tell you why.
Because there’s a fee to belong. Some consumers are of the mindset that if you’re not going to buy enough from Costco to offset your $49 annual membership fee, then it doesn’t make sense to belong. This is totally rational.
But consider this…
What if there wasn’t a fee and you could access Costco at NO COST?
Would you join?
I’m sure you all know where I’m going with this analogy as it’s probably the SAME reason you may have chosen to join MedResults…. nine years ago, six months ago, or last week. Let me refresh your memory with 10 good reasons WHY EVERY Aesthetic medical provider should belong to a buying group or Group Purchasing Organization (GPO).
- COST-SAVINGS: This is the simplest reason that medical providers join a buying group. By definition, a buying group or GPO is the coming together of similar independent businesses to leverage their combined purchasing power to receive improved financial benefits and payment terms on the products they buy. Everyone who joins can receive a financial benefit.
- SPECIAL ACCESS: Many buying groups negotiate for special access to training, education, and additional benefits that may not provide immediate cost-savings, but DO provide immense value.
- EDUCATION: This is not typical of all purchasing organizations, but at MRN and a few other medical GPOs, you may receive free education that will allow you to improve your business and/or purchasing at no cost.
- NETWORKING: Some GPOs have portals for direct interaction with other customers. While this is not typical, MRN and other organizations play host to national conferences and other events where members & attendees can share ideas, best practices and business outcomes.
- NO OBLIGATION: One of the best things about Costco is that you are not obligated to purchase. You may choose to use your membership throughout the year, but if you don’t, there’s no real penalty (except for the annual fee you may have paid). If you DO use your membership, you’re guaranteed to save.
- ‘THE THREE B’S’: BIG BUSINESS BIAS. If you have only a few providers at your practice or you’re a solo-practitioner, you may have experienced the ‘3B’s’. Many manufacturers spend most their time with high-volume practices and give less support to low-volume providers. Buying groups provide purchasing incentives and support to small-to-mid-sized practices who would have otherwise gone unnoticed!
- SERVICE: A buying group SHOULD always be available to help you with your purchasing, billing, service, or just about anything you can think of that would assist your buying decision-making process. At MRN, we’ve taken this one step further: We’ve helped members hire new staff, performed in-office consultations, found new Medical Directors, sourced new products from vendors we don’t work with, and so much more. Your buying group should be an extension of your business arm!
- REP RELATIONSHIPS: We frequently get GREAT feedback from our members about their industry reps and why they love working with a vendor or manufacturer. This is great news if you belong to a GPO or a buying group as you’ll continue to work directly with all your reps…you’ll just receive additional benefits for your loyalty to that partner!
- TIME & ‘HEAVY LIFTING’: How much time does your Office Manager or Clinician spend trying to source the right products and services for your practice? Buying groups are designed to do the heavy lifting for you! At MRN, we’ve spent thousands of hours searching the market for innovative products. We’ve also vetted our vendors and negotiated the contracts to take the guesswork out of purchasing for you. Example: it took us almost a year to get the best med/surg and vaginal rejuvenation contracts!
- YOU DON’T PAY A DIME TO PARTICIPATE: Medical GPOs and buying networks typically DO NOT charge a fee for access to their benefits. What’s better than the freedom to save freely???
You joined this buying network for some of the same reasons that consumers across America join loyalty programs and buying clubs for their daily purchases. Now use it and watch your savings grow!
For more information about other ways you can take advantage of your membership in MedResults Network or to join, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By: Jamie Parrott, MBA, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MedResults Network