In this podcast, host Mike Koelzer interviews Nicolette Mathey, a pharmacist and owner of a consulting firm that focuses on sales and marketing for independent pharmacies. Mathey discusses the importance of finding a niche for your pharmacy and aligning it with your passions, profits, patients, and payers.
In this podcast, host Mike Koelzer interviews Nicolette Mathey, a pharmacist and owner of a consulting firm that focuses on sales and marketing for independent pharmacies. Mathey discusses the importance of finding a niche for your pharmacy and aligning it with your passions, profits, patients, and payers. She also highlights the need for pharmacies to focus on closing sales, rather than just brand awareness, in today's challenging reimbursement landscape. Mathey shares her experiences as a consultant and discusses the importance of putting in the work and building relationships to grow a successful pharmacy business.
Pharmacy Marketing and Sales | Nicolette Mathey, PharmD, ATRIUM24
Speech to Text.
Mike Koelzer, Host: [00:00:00] Nicolette, for those that haven't come across you online, introduce yourself and tell our listeners what we're talking about today.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: My name's Nicolet Matthew. I'm a pharmacist. I own an independent pharmacy and I also own a consulting firm, so I work with other independent pharmacies around the country. And, the biggest thing that we focus on is sales and marketing for your pharmacy. So, carving out your niche, finding something that aligns with your passions, your profits, your patients, your payers, uh, and, and taking that individualized approach to
independent pharmacy and your own community. think where pharmacists have a hard time, I know where I have
Mike Koelzer, Host: A hard time in my pharmacy is. We have it easy when it comes to sales because people come to us. You know, we're not trying to sell things to people. And so I think most pharmacists think of themselves more as marketers, but I think in [00:01:00] today's day and age, you can think marketing, but you always have to think about closing.
And I don't mean that in a real aggressive way, but you always have to think about closing the sales instead of just getting your name known. That's just not enough anymore.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: right. That's absolutely right. And I think in the past when pharmacy could rely more on volume, it was more just
maybe brand awareness or marketing or just having your name out there and having people know that you're there and that you exist and that you can fill prescriptions. But now, just with the reimbursement trends and the landscape, it's become so challenging.
You know, even these legacy pharmacies that I work with who have been around a hundred plus years, fourth or fifth generation, that model doesn't work anymore.
So, you know, you end up finding months down the road that you paid your patients to take their medications.
Um, so when we can find out what's [00:02:00] actually profitable in my area, and it might not be prescriptions and that's fine sometimes,
but what, what, actually on my profit and loss makes sense for me to do as a business owner?
And then let's go out and market that so that we can bring that type of business, the business that we want into our pharmacy.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What kind of people? Have hired you that after a while you realize they're just a pain in the ass.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Well, we
all are, aren't we all?
Mike Koelzer, Host: oh, we all are at times. Ask my wife. Yeah. If you had a client, let's say, think of one that could have turned into a pain, what would their personality have been that you said, oh, this guy or gal is just a pain in the ass.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, it happens. I've been consulting for a long time, um, throughout different companies and hospital systems and that, and, um, what's not fun for a consultant is when, um, it's kind of [00:03:00] all talk and no action because I, I don't actually travel there and do it for the pharmacy owner. I have my own pharmacy to run and my own, you know, clients to work with and pool data on and help drive decisions.
But, um, so, you know, it's, it's, sometimes it's, you can think of consulting as a gym membership. Um, you can pay the
fee, but you have to come to the gym and you have to put in the work.
So it's really frustrating when, um, perhaps pharmacy owners or, or any types of clients don't put in the work or, or don't adhere to the plan that we've laid, you know, to.
To actually try to grow. Um, but really it seems like most pharmacists are, um, over analyzers and we like to make things maybe more complicated than they have to be. And it's hard for a lot of us to to go out into our community and work on doctor detailing or work on sales and marketing
because that, that's, um, listening, that's asking [00:04:00] questions, that's not having all the answers, and that's okay.
That's relationship building. Um, but there's, there's also something very endearing about pharmacists who go out and doctor detail because they're not salespeople
and they're very genuine and they know their subject matter really well. Sometimes they just have to have that confidence and that structure on who am I visiting?
What is my message? How am I following up?
How am I providing value in what I'm doing?
Mike Koelzer, Host: I imagine some clients you have, they don't even realize they're not going to do it until they actually have to leave the comfort of their pharmacy and go do it, and that's when it maybe smacks 'em in the face.
It might be that they're not trying to lead you on. It's just not in their blood yet. Would that be fair?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, it happens. And, and we all know, I mean, sometimes in pharmacy, the wheels fall off. So you [00:05:00] could have the best intentions and then you have staffing issues, or you have some regulatory issues that pop up. And if certain things are on fire right in front of your face, you have to deal with it and you have to manage it.
And as the pharmacy owner, you're the one that has to do it. So you
may have the best intentions to go out and talk about this new LDN compound that you're making and that you're seeing wonderful results with, but you just can't get out. So sometimes it's the realization that you, you have to hire for that position
and you have to hire someone to go out and to be the sales representative for your.
Mike Koelzer, Host: You know what's kind of a pain to me is when you have
sales teams and you. Relationships and so on where, you know, Bob knows Sally who works there, and all of a sudden either Bob quits or Sally quits and all of a sudden think back to this company you had an association with, and then they're just gone.
I think it takes a lot of, [00:06:00] well, it takes a good, uh, CRM database, you know, to follow that, but then it takes a lot of work, those relationships, especially with changing environments and mainly changing environments of certain people.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, absolutely. And, in doctor's offices, their turnover rate is typically pretty high.
Mike Koelzer, Host: yeah.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: So sometimes you can get your foot in the door with common relationships. Um, but something that we really work on a lot, especially here in my own pharmacy, is a team approach. It's not always intuitive that your sales team should be the same team as your workflow and operations people. Uh, because if they're not on the same team and on the same communication channels, they'll butt heads because it's, it's your ops team, your technicians
and your pharmacists on the bench.
They're saying, you know, what is this rep out there saying to the doctors? Or what are they promising them? Or, we don't do that, or
That's not our pricing. And then you have the rep. , why isn't the pharmacy team, you [00:07:00] know, why are they taking too long to call the patients? Or
why, why, are the prescriptions not making it
Or why is my office still having issues with prior authors or whatever
it is? So, uh, where we found the most success is we turn on, uh, an instant messenger with the sales rep and the whole workflow team. So it'll pop up on all their workflow, on their workstation, computers. And if the rep is in the field and they have a question, can we compound this?
Can we special order this? They didn't ask the pharmacy owner. I'm working on HR stuff and
payroll and strategy and
I don't know, I'm not
in the workflow. So they just straight ask the workflow team, uh, and then they can get an answer in real time too. So keeping them on the same team has been really helpful.
Mike Koelzer, Host: The people you're detailing, do they see that team too? Or is it like a BCC to them? Are they seeing all those people involved?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: That's a great question. And uh, yes, they are.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I think that if, you know, Bob's gone [00:08:00] for a week, they still know Betty and Molly or something like that.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right. And we'll even have the office managers email into my lead compounding technician to see, can you make this? Or can
Do we flavor this? Or can you do this a little differently? So if it's a question that they know is very detailed,
The office even knows who to contact on my pharmacy team about those questions.
So we really open up our team and our infrastructure to their office, like, how can we
help you? We have all these wholesale accounts, we have all these capabilities. What do you need? How can we help you? And then as opportunities come up in the doctor's office, they think of us first and they think, well, let me just ask them at Palm Harbor Pharmacy if they can do this, or if they can help this patient, or if this patient has a strange allergy.
Or previous failed therapy. Let me just, and it's almost like putting in a consult to
the pharmacy team.
Mike Koelzer, Host: A physician's office. Do they see the faces of any of these people besides a salesperson? Let me tell you why. But this [00:09:00] podcast on purpose one for attention, but two is just so I don't shock somebody. I put my face on some of my, or most of my social media because I've got a face for podcasting.
They tell me a face for radio and I don't wanna shock the hell outta somebody when they say that old fat guy is the one doing that. They've gotta see me. so I don't shock them. Do the doctors see any of the other teams or is it just them? The names and maybe they see the salesperson?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, they, they don't see them so much in person unless they come in to
the pharmacy, which we always invite them to.
Um, but some fun things that some of our pharmacy clients have done around the country, um, some of them will even host a reception
at their pharmacy.
Um, and they'll do little appetizers and they'll invite the nurses and the office staff and the prescribers to
come into the pharmacy.
Um, so that's one way, another way that, um, [00:10:00] we have our staff pictures on a lot of their, um,
email signatures. So that's just a small way
Mike Koelzer, Host: Yeah.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: see. Um, we have a lot of, I, I'm not a big fan of stock photography.
Mike Koelzer, Host: It's always the same guy. I'm like, boy, that guy gets around, but it's from, you know, the pharmacy stock stuff.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. And so it is, we spend a lot of time and attention on how the pharmacy looks and because we're a retailer, we should capture that. And it's really not that expensive to hire a freelance photographer to come and take actual photos of your staff and of your store and of your DME section.
And, and, and it should look nice enough for photos. So that's what we do a lot. If you look at my pharmacy's website, we have a whole gallery section and it's all real photos. Um, we have photos of all the team and a little write up about each person in there. So I do think that's important. Um, just in this day and age with, with maybe the chain competition, the
online [00:11:00] competition, if we can elevate our branding as
much as possible so that people know that we're a really legit,
robust business that they can work with.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What's the name of your pharmacy? Or where you were talking about?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, it's palm harbor pharmacy.com.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Palm Harbor Pharmacy dot Um,
I just wanna look at some of the pictures you were talking about. Where would I see those under
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Um, yeah, like in and about us or a
gallery or something?
Mike Koelzer, Host: see here. Oh, I see the, about us, sorry, let me look here. Our pharmacy team. Oh, that's a nice photo.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. We have our pictures done, um, probably once or twice a year.
In a couple days, we're taking a photo of the whole team for our Christmas card.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Okay. All right. Now I gotta say, I had to look at this first because that's a very attractive picture of the six or seven or eight of you there. But a lot of times you see like, Dental offices and they got the [00:12:00] one dentist there, and then you got about 30 people in ill-fitting dental blues, you know, it just looks like they said, all right, everybody get in. And they took this picture and I don't like those. Yours is very nice of the group
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Oh, good. Yeah. We take our branding and the aesthetics very seriously. So, um, and we warn everybody before we're gonna take any team photos so
Everybody can do their hair and makeup in that, but, but, we take it seriously because it is going to be printed and put on a lot of our marketing materials, um, and we will hire a professional photographer to come out and get the right lighting and the right editing.
Um, because it, I think it matters,
Mike Koelzer, Host: Do you ever have anybody that doesn't want their picture on stuff for various reasons?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: not outright. I have a lot of team members who don't wanna do videos, um, cuz I'm always doing just different, uh, different webinars or
different kinds of how-tos.
Um, especially when we were doing a lot of covid testing, we would
take videos for other pharmacies on, on how to do it or how to perform the tests or, [00:13:00] uh, just tips and tricks with the different machines.
Um, and I, I have a lot of team members who don't like themselves in videos,
Mike Koelzer, Host: I wonder why, not in videos, pictures will take it more than videos. I wonder why people don't like the videos.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Um, a lot of my team is afraid of, of what they'll say
or that they'll say the wrong thing.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Talking about
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Mm-hmm. or that they'll, you know, cuz we, you've seen all like this booth videos where, where someone misspeaks and then they make a whole song out
Mike Koelzer, Host: Oh yeah. Right, So
Nicolet, don't gimme dollar figures. How is your revenue structure set up for your consulting?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: oh, for the consulting,
Um, we keep it pretty simple. We have a few different membership tiers. Um, some of it is just some data analytics. The next one up is, um, data analytics and a robust dashboard, but it's all sas. And then the next tier up is, um, all the SAS and all the [00:14:00] webinars and all the recordings and all the
software capabilities plus custom branding and one-on-one consulting.
So it's more
of two-way communication.
Mike Koelzer, Host: When you said the first couple levels, is there any human power behind those in terms of individuality or are they, you mentioned the last one was one on one, were the other ones that are able to get into some group conversations or something? What's the difference between the one on one for the top level and the first two levels that then by default do not include that?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, the first one is just, um, just access to the network and the resources and some recordings
and some data.
Mike Koelzer, Host: they're using your data or you're looking at their data
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: um, we're looking at theirs. So
we aggregate, uh, pharmacy dispensing data from, um, over, over 200 pharmacies around the
country to date. And we look at the dispensing data, we pull it in every night, and then we just visualize it for trends or for, [00:15:00] just whatever we're seeing
that's happening out in the industry. Um, reimbursements are a mess, but it's, it's nice to see. For example, I can look in a certain state and see what the reimbursement trends are.
you're gonna see a lot of really high dollar specialty reimbursement type
drugs. You're gonna see some middle of the road, you're gonna see some underwater.
but at least then you could see. If you wanted to go market dermatology in this region, what would be the products that you would wanna go
Mike Koelzer, Host: So how have you grown that business? I'm not talking about how the people grow theirs, but how have you grown your consulting business with these pharmacies? How have you landed them?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Um, a lot of it has just been through social media,
so, um, I've been, I've been doing this quite a long time and, and kind of in the, in the industry. I used to work for PDs,
I was the director of clinical services, so I've visited a lot of pharmacies. Worked with a lot of really smart pharmacy owners to create [00:16:00] programs.
and then, I do a lot on social media, interact a lot in the groups, um, and learn and make, you know, relationships just through social media.
And then, I attend a lot of the trade shows and then I speak at quite a few trade shows as well.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I should start going to more trade shows. I used to go to one of the major wholesaler ones. They'd kind of force you to go and they'd give you some discounts to do that. And, I don't do that anymore. We got rid of all the brand names at our store, so I don't have any major wholesalers that like us anymore, so we don't, unless they don't force us to go there.
But I should start going to more now. It might be kinda fun. it's a commitment for pharmacy owners, you know, they gotta staff your place and then you look at the dollars that you're spending and all that. I know it's good, especially if you go to a good one, you get energy out of it and so on.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: I look at all the trade shows and it's, there's, there's your big three and those are in the summer,
Mike Koelzer, Host: The top three wholesalers?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yes. Yep. The top three wholesalers are the big ones. Those [00:17:00] are, those are run in the summer, usually like June, July,
um, maybe going into August. And then you have your PMs. Some of the PMSs have their own shows, so the pharmacy management systems,
Those are usually pretty good. Um, they're smaller and they, they, I think that they have more engaging content
Mike Koelzer, Host: Engaging content on stage, would you say?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: yes.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Gotcha.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. And, um, NCPA has great shows.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I guess I haven't been to theirs. Maybe I looked those up online more. I'm more familiar with it. I don't recall going to one though.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. They have, um, a multiple locations conference, actually right near me in Clearwater,
Florida. Every February and then they have their big annual conference that goes around the country, but it's usually every October.
Um, so that one's good. And then there's just your different, um, your different buying groups.
Usually we'll have their own conferences and, uh, state [00:18:00] associations too,
although then you're mixing in with the chains of it.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Do you buy a booth?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: We do, we buy a booth at a lot of the shows.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What's the average cost of a booth?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Ooh, it depends. Um, if you're at a smaller show, two, three, $4,000,
um, if you're at one of the big three, it could be 10, $14,000 for a
booth. But I feel like everything's negotiable.
So, um, a lot of times you can negotiate if you're gonna speak, you can, and especially at a smaller show, if
Mike Koelzer, Host: Cause they don't pay you to speak
you negotiate that down. Then
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, you could try to get a booth in exchange for speaking. Sometimes they'll pay for some hotel or flight or travel or every show's different.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Which one would you go to if you could only go to one?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Oh, that's tough. If I could only go to one. You know, I was really pleasantly surprised with the most recent NCPA show,
[00:19:00] uh, because historically you think of NCPA show from a vendor perspective and you think of, oh, it's a lot of students,
or it's a lot of, um, pharmacy owners who, who maybe are, are not as innovative or they're used to doing things just the same way,
Um, but I, I think now with the pressures in the industry, people are becoming more, um, inventive. They're, they're wanting to change their business into
into something that they can control
Mike Koelzer, Host: Right.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: by the PBMs. Yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: If they were more traditional, what group would've been maybe a little bit more forward thinking?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Well, I, I go to the Pioneer,
Mike Koelzer, Host: Oh, that's right. Some of the ones you mentioned with the software
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, those, those seem to be really innovative
because if you have the pharmacy owners who are really involved in their software and making suggestions and using it actively and, and trying to make it better and [00:20:00] trying to get more into medical billing or more into, uh, vaccines and travel clinics
or, or clinical consultative services, those things are kind of exciting
Mike Koelzer, Host: Especially the people that, a, they've got the pharmacy system and then B, they're probably going to that because they wanna get more out of it. And by definition to get more out of it means you're doing other things maybe with it.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right. Yeah. So that's always been a good one. I know, I know. It's on my list to put on a show of our own at Atrium someday.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What do you do with those damn things? You, you sit in a booth and just stare at people? When I go to those things, I always feel like I'm walking down the middle of a bunch of, like, telemarketers. I just put my head down and once in a while I'll sniff out a, uh, ice cream bar or something like that and get that from a booth, but I don't like people looking at me like that.
What do you do in the booth the whole time? There
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Well, you feel just as uncomfortable [00:21:00] because ,
you don't wanna
Yeah, Yeah, you do, because you don't want to try to force someone into talking with you and having
conversation. Um, but I have a lot of fun when I go to trade shows and I try to do it differently. So I'll, I'll do a big lead up to it on social media
that will be there.
I wanna talk about this. We have this exciting thing
going on. I'm speaking at this time. Please come fill the seats so I'm not alone,
You know, it's a small industry, so you see a lot of your friends there and you just chat with them.
and it's nice when you can, um, just be connected with so many people nowadays on
social media, just on your personal account.
I know people's names and their spouses and their
kids and what they have going on in their lives.
So it's nice to see them in person when you are used to seeing them on the internet all the time.
Mike Koelzer, Host: And I imagine it's weird because some people, they've got like one avatar, like one profile picture, [00:22:00] and in your mind you think like the person's five eight and they're this, you've seen them like in one angle, and then they show up and they're six four. They have a different personality than you imagine.
That kind of stuff.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. It's definitely different, but it's fun to meet up with people and go to dinner but if we put on a show, it won't be the traditional show because, you know, putting on a show is a business in itself. So a lot of these companies, they'll say, we're gonna put on a show as a business,
and then they'll invite some speakers and then pay a bunch of money to have a motivational keynote speaker come in that may or may not have anything to do with your industry
And then you have all these expenses for the, the hotel food and beverage and the, the minimum on the room rentals
and the hotel block minimums that you have to commit
to that. All the AV audio visual packages, and then you're on the hook for all that. Then you're paying all this money for all these speakers to come.
You're trying to put a schedule all together. You're
trying to pay for all the food. [00:23:00] Well then you have to sell tickets for people to come. And then where most of the companies make money on a show is from vendors, from the
boots. So then you have to invite all these vendors, but you have to make it worthwhile for them.
And oh, you guys are gonna get a return on your investment cuz you're gonna sell. I don't like any of that.
I have my own businesses to run. I don't wanna have to be kind of, um, indebted to other companies that you're gonna earn your return on investment. You know?
Mike Koelzer, Host: That's hard because that's part of your business, but before you know it, you're spending a crap load of time and mental energy
to do this one off thing. And, it's hard to find energy.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: it is.
Mike Koelzer, Host: In my town, they would have this, um, at one of the malls, they would have a medical, thing, you know, people would buy the booth, I don't know, a few hundred bucks or something like that, and there'd be maybe 50 of 'em or something like that. I thought I don't wanna sit here. I never did 'em, I didn't wanna spend the day there, pay the money, didn't [00:24:00] wanna have to staff the store when I was gone and things like that. But I'd always walk around with my business cards and,
give them to everybody at all the booths, you know, so here I'm going for free and I'm just talking to everybody in each one of the booths and they're learning about me and so on.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: kind of sneaky way,
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. You have to, you really have to decide, especially owning a consulting firm. Um, and we realize how challenging it is to own and operate a pharmacy, cuz I do
that too. Um, so your price points have to be sensitive. You have to have opt out terms because things change so frequently in pharmacy.
and you have to just truly be able to go to bed at night knowing that you're providing value
for these clients and that you're helping them to earn more than they're spending.
I don't think there's any competition for Atrium 24 in the market because what we do is we focus on sales and marketing for pharmacies. Um, and then you could say, oh, digital marketing. Well, there's a lot of companies that provide [00:25:00] digital marketing services for pharmacies.
Well, we don't do that.
We specialize even further into physical marketing. So we help them with their strategy, their branding, their print materials. We actually make custom print materials that are clinically sound, that have sales sheets and sales messaging, and we actually have on staff. Um, we have clinical staff and pharmacists, but we also have pharma reps.
So, um, industry pharma industry reps from Lilly and from j and j and from the big pharma companies, uh, because I've learned as a pharmacy owner so much from the pharma side. We didn't learn this stuff in pharmacy school. So
if you're gonna have a business and you're going to grow that business, um, you mentioned it previously, having a crm. Most pharmacy owners don't know what a CRM is.
So having a crm, who are these clients in your, your client [00:26:00] relationship manager or
customer relationship manager, whatever you're gonna call the crm. Um, for us it's the local prescribers offices. It's the local travel agencies, the local schools, the local factories, wherever we can go to do vaccine clinics, local churches, um, But we load all those into our crm.
And then we also keep our pharma hat on. And my pharma reps do consulting for our pharmacy clients as well, because then we determine, okay, well you have your whole target list, and then now let's figure out what the sales strategy is for all these targets. Let's figure out a routing plan. Who are you visiting?
You know, on which days? What's the frequency? So we typically create a two week routing plan. And so then you have 10 business days in that routing plan, and then, um, you just go kind of in order from your target list geographically, who does it make sense to drive to first, and then second, and then third,
and then you put your notes in the crm.
And um, you just follow up. And typically [00:27:00] in sales, someone needs to hear the message, you know, six or seven
times before they're going to buy.
Um, so most pharmacy owners, if they don't have a CRM or targeting or routing or a
frequency in mind, or any print materials,
strong branding, strong online presence, they're not gonna go and have that frequency and that follow up to actually impact change.
Mike Koelzer, Host: It's gotta be six or seven times there and then, you know, it's gotta be six or seven years. It's a commitment.
You have to be organized. There's an author, his name is Harvey McKay. This book was around 20 years ago and he was basically a commodity salesperson of, uh, envelopes. He had an
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Hmm.
Mike Koelzer, Host: company and his mantra was McKay's 66. And so he would require all of his, sales people
to know these [00:28:00] 66 things about the business. And so the obvious ones are birth date and alma mater and those kinds of things. But with 66 of 'em, you can imagine it goes deeper too, where they like to vacation, what their
That's valuable advice for anybody.
Even a pharmacist who has customers coming in. If this customer went to, you know, Florida last week on vacation and went to Disney, that's something that can go into the 66th list. So then when the person comes in again and pharmacist Bob is not there, but pharmacist Julia, she can say, Hey, I understand you went to Florida.
How was it, you know, this and that. So you can get that database in. Whatever level you are of any organization. And so when we talk about the crm, I imagine you put in some of the details, but I would imagine some of the chummy stuff goes in there too.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Oh, [00:29:00] absolutely. Yeah. Our sales reps, CRMs, um, they have it in there, what's the girl at the front desk's name? Um, what are her kids' names? What's her cat's name? What's her favorite color? What candy does she like you to bring her? Um, when you're going out and making your rounds, cuz all that matters.
Mike Koelzer, Host: And people used to come into us, and I would always joke about it. I know they're doing their job, but they'd come in and they'd say, Hey, how was, uh, how was Drew's baptism? What happened when he. Two months old now he's like 12. You know, it's like, I hardly remember I have a kid named Drew, much less what his baptism date was, you know?
But it can go overboard. But when done right, those things are music to people's ears.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. It just, it it gets them to open up People
Mike Koelzer, Host: Sure.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: about themselves.
It just makes them have a, a, a better level of comfort with you and trust
so that you know, when an opportunity arises, they think of you. And, um, [00:30:00] I, I think that most people are good people and so, yeah, your job is sales, but my job is to go around and just let everybody know what my company does and if it can help you.
I'm here and I just wanna make it easy for you to use our services, should it make sense?
Mike Koelzer, Host: I've talked to some of our staff that our best thing probably would be to go around to doctor's offices and have zero agenda, zero agenda, except to say, is there any problem we can solve for you?
And don't use that as a gimmick, I'm not saying you can always do this cuz you do sometimes want to go places and say, here's our services and so on. But it'd be interesting just to go to a place and say, is there anything I can solve for you?
And just like square to yourself, you weren't gonna present anything to them outside of that question for, you know, a year or something like that.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: My reps tease me here at the pharmacy. They say, you know, if, if I come back with questions or information from a doctor's office and give it to, [00:31:00] to me the pharmacy owner, it just goes on your desk to die
Nicolet. They say, you know, cuz there's things on fire,
remember, and there's all kinds of things going on.
So it's nice having Atrium. Um, we work a lot of times with the reps themselves. They just give that information straight back to you. And then our clinical pharmacist team, our graphic design team, um, our compounders, we research all the questions. We put it on the forms, whether it be an RX order form or a cell sheet or an information sheet.
We put it on the form branded for that pharmacy and get it turned around back to the rep as quickly as possible so that the rep can then print it out and go back to the office and say, here it is, and then they can start sending in the business.
Mike Koelzer, Host: You're talking about reps that are under you, that these other pharmacies, for lack of a better word, kind of rent out. They're your employees and they're used fractionally by the other pharmacies that are in a certain geographical location.[00:32:00]
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: We do it a few different ways, because pharmacies are so different and their budgets are so different, uh, their sizes are different.
For example, we do have that model that you mentioned. It's called the Infield Sales Rep, um, model where Atrium hires the rep, they're on
our payroll. Um, we pay their 401k, their
salary, their health insurance, their taxes, and then we almost lease them to the pharmacy.
We, we give them an assigned pharmacy and then we just charge a
flat monthly rate. And, we manage that rep as well. We manage their crm. We have a rep manager, um, who talks with that rep, keeps 'em on task, looks at their crm, looks at their data, just makes sure everything's working
well, keeps their expenses in check, watches everything, and just makes sure it's all in alignment.
That's the most comprehensive thing that we do, and it's really labor intensive.
Um, but we learn a lot too from that model. And then we have other, other, um, kinds of packages where we'll find a rep for [00:33:00] a pharmacy. We'll train that rep, we'll do some onboarding. They. They can come here to get trained or, um, sometimes we'll fly out to their pharmacy and help train that rep and
understand the workflow.
Um, but with those models, that rep is an employee of the pharmacy
and then that pharmacy just pays us a consulting fee.
Mike Koelzer, Host: How many employees do you have and maybe FTEs or parcels, how many people are involved in this thing? It sounds like a hell of a lot of work to me.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: It is, we, we have some pretty robust technology and
we're about to launch, uh, even more. We're launching a really exciting piece of software, hopefully by the end of the year, um, that's gonna automate a lot more of
what we do and identify targets for everyone. Um, auto brand, a lot of materials. So it's just gonna make a lot of things less labor intensive for
Mike Koelzer, Host: For me, I think it would be very valuable, almost like having a, uh, what do you call it? A personal trainer, you know, somebody to stay with the company for months and years and so on. Because sometimes even if you like marketing, you might really be into it, but then things happen in life, you know?
And it's so important, I think, for that consistency.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. And that's what we have to do. Um, when I worked, when I worked for PDs, the structure was, um, a pharmacy would pay a monthly membership fee, and then for that, they would get a one hour meeting every month with a business coach. that was outsourced. And then they would get a, a one hour monthly meeting with a performance specialist,
um, who was like an account manager.
Um, and that account manager was internal and, um, it wouldn't always be the owner that that account [00:35:00] manager would talk to. It would sometimes be a project lead
or whatever the owner was working on. So that's in, in our, in our kind of two-way communication consulting package, kind of the higher membership tiers where we work on strategy and consulting.
Um, I'll have a monthly call with those pharmacy
owners myself, um, if we're talking about strategy or if we're working through the process of setting up like an IV drip clinic
or something like that. Um, and then they, or their reps or their technicians who are doing doctor detailing or whatever it is, they'll set up calls and meetings with my farmer reps and they'll kind of act in a consultative way with them.
You know, every pharmacy's different and some of them don't want to or can't commit to a one hour zoom every month or, you know, a structured schedule the week before.
Some love it. And that's how they like to operate. And
they're very punctual
and, and they like it being on their calendars.
Some like to just call us when they're in [00:36:00] the parking lot of a doctor's office and
they have a question, something like to text us. You know, they'll just send us a text right away. And they, we work with them however it fits into
their day. Um, and I think that you have to have that flexibility, especially nowadays.
Um, and it's just the more reachable you are,
the more people are gonna utilize your services.
Mike Koelzer, Host: This sounds like a lot of fun. coming from a guy that kind of likes to sit on my ass and do things on the computer and marketing stuff. It sounds a lot more fun to me than running a pharmacy, which I've done now for, you know, whatever too long.
Where are you going in five years? Do you like pharmacies? Is it too profitable to not get rid of it? Is it important for you to have that so you can tell people that you're in the game? This is important for your image because you walk the walk. Where does your pharmacy and your consulting business jive, five years from [00:37:00] now?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: I always like to think of it as one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat .
So sometimes it can get a little squirrely, but you do have to balance it.
And I and I, I think it is necessary if someone is gonna be consulting, they have to be in the trenches
along with you. They
can't be in the ivory tower or they can't be disconnected.
I feel like a consultant. Who at least don't have some kind of, of daily appreciation as to how it actually works. Or, you know, who aren't getting the faxes from the PBMs or the,
audits or the new contracts. Do you wanna sign it or do you not?
then you're almost in a different business. You're
then selling to these people instead of working with them.
Um, a and then you're working with other vendors to try to figure out, you know, how you can get more money
out of, out of the whole situation. And I just, I don't, that's not my favorite thing. My favorite thing is to have my pharmacy, which has always [00:38:00] been my dream. Um, coming from parents who are entrepreneurs and, um, I have a pharmacy here.
I love it. I love our team, our environment. We have a lot of fun. Um, they just, they love to put on spirit weeks,
so on. You have to wear crazy socks on this day
or you have to wear a crazy hat, or they just,
They love coming to work,
and I do too. And it's fun.
And, um, one of our patients we learned over the weekend, um, is in a nursing home.
And we were worried about her because we were gonna deliver one of her medications and
She didn't answer the door. So the whole team took it upon themselves to find out where she is and what happened, and they're called in the hospitals, you know,
so it's important to have that connection to your community, I think.
And so, um, a lot of our patients are my neighbors
and, um, I sponsor all my kids softball teams and soccer teams.
Mike Koelzer, Host: That's important. If you own the local
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right?
Mike Koelzer, Host: you didn't wanna do the pharmacy, that [00:39:00] part wouldn't matter as.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right. Yeah. It, I think it, it helps to stay connected
just to the real world,
and then you can strategize all you want and, and you can grow and you can be successful. But then you start to wonder, am I actually making a difference? Am I actually helping people
or am I just making money?
Mike Koelzer, Host: If you talk to the average business coach, they're gonna say, spend the time where your time is most valid and you're getting the most done and don't do things that someone else could do, and so on. And it's
like, true. But there's some stuff that gives you life, maybe you like going in and making a pot of coffee in the morning for the group. You know, it's like, well, you shouldn't be doing that. It's like, well, yeah, but that, that's some therapy for me. Sometimes I'll ask myself, it's like, what if I had, you know, 50 pharmacies?
And by that point, you're kind of up in the ivory tower. You [00:40:00] have to be basically, , you can't be manning them at all. you're doing your thing, and it's like, at some point you might grow yourself into a position, I suppose you can always hire, but let's say you're doing it, you can really grow yourself into a position that you don't want.
Again, for me, for us sitting, I'm okay in the ivory tower, but for, you know, let's say someone really loves being in a few pharmacies. You can grow yourself out of that job in a hurry. Now you're in a place maybe that you don't like.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Oh, absolutely. And you know, we just had a meeting earlier today, me and my, uh, rep manager and our director of sales and operations for Atrium, who's also a farmer rep by trade. And, um, we were talking about the growth and the scale of our rep management program where we manage reps around the country who work
for the pharmacy and, and there's parts of the job that we don't like.
And so, um, as it scales and as it grows, um, something I told my team earlier today is we have to be very [00:41:00] careful not to build something
Mike Koelzer, Host: Yep,
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: that we hate
Mike Koelzer, Host: That's exactly right.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: because you can,
but you, you have to stay focused. What, what am I best at?
What am I best suited to do? Where's my zone where I can actually help people? And then, You know, you can't be pulled off that, or, or you can't just be reactive and say yes to everything.
You have to build what you want to do. Like what do
Do you want your day to look like this?
Mike Koelzer, Host: Yeah. And some people will say, grow and you can hire that out. It's like, yeah, but you're still responsible for it. You know? You're still responsible for the person that's doing something that you personally wouldn't like to do.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right,
Mike Koelzer, Host: Want that under your umbrella?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: right. Exactly. And then that's, that's part of your branding too. And you have to worry about it. So that's the thing with the trade shows. Going back to that, um, when we do put on trade shows and we're, we're planning out our 2023 calendar and, and when we do put them on, um, [00:42:00] they'll be small. We were able to have one of these before the pandemic hit cuz Atrium 24.
Um, we just celebrated our third anniversary, uh, a few months ago and we were able to have one small training event. Before the pandemic in person, but in 2023 we're gonna get back to it where we have kind of in person sales and marketing training.
And there's, there's kind of a, a number that I like and a number that I don't like.
I've built training programs for six people and I've built them for 180 people. Um, I've spoken in front of just, you know, small crowds. And then, I think at some of the conferences it was, uh, like 6,000 people. It's there. There's definitely a sweet spot if you're going to impact, um, change
cuz otherwise it's just lecture style
and you could have watched, watched a recording. So if you want participation and you wanna learn from the people who are there, uh, cuz we can all learn from each other.
Mike Koelzer, Host: right.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: I like smaller [00:43:00] events.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Yeah. All right. Ette, let it be known that you brought this topic up, but now that you brought it up, now I'm unleashed. And that's speaking of these things.
All right. So first of all, I gotta tell you a story. years ago, this is like 20 years ago. They received a grant, I think from somebody who was going to pay for the training of pharmacists to be over the counter spokespeople. And so in other words, if, uh, USA Today called up a PHA and they needed someone to talk about, you know, a Tylenol problem or something like that, they could call these 10 pharmacists up and these pharmacists would have the training working with the news to be able to speak, not on behalf of all the pharmacists, but representing what a typical pharmacist was, was doing.[00:44:00] Somehow I got invited to that and I went there and the trainers were these two former news anchors. So they said, alright, we're on this table at D A P A headquarters. And they said, we're gonna train you guys how to talk. And they said, which of you have had experience in the news before? Like, at Jackass, I raised my hand. Cause everybody else is saying, oh, we don't like it, we're embarrassed and all that kind of stuff. And I was kind of prodding myself on, being PR for the pharmacy and stuff. So I raised my hand and said, I'm fairly comfortable. I do it, you know, once in a while at home and so on. They then pull out one of these big shoulder cameras and they say, all right, we're gonna train you how to do this, how to speak to the news. I folded under the pressure because here I put myself up on a pedestal, so I'm sweating, you know, I'm like a deer in the headlights and I, I probably came in last place out of these 10 [00:45:00] people that have never been in front of the news before.
With that said, I've gone to some of these conventions and some of these speakers, they're so tense up there and I'm talking about maybe the C-suite people of some of these companies.
They're so tense up there that it makes me wiggle in my seat cause I kind of feel bad for 'em and they're like a deer in the headlights and so on.
Now, again, back to my story, I would probably do the same thing up there. I'm not saying I'm any better. But it seems to me that when these companies hire this, that would be part of the hiring process to know that this person can maybe be in front of crowds because it's awkward. You know, they're reading the teleprompter and then they do like fake smiles and they do their fake arm movements and stuff like
And some, somebody's got to, I'm sure there's a million places, [00:46:00] but some of these people have to go into some training for this so the crowd doesn't feel so nervous for the people on the stage.
That's my rant. So it seems that they need a little help.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Well, it's, it's true. And, and we've all seen those presentations and such, but it's, it's almost like public speaking is almost like a golf swing. I think, you know, if you start to overanalyze it too
much and pick it apart, then it just really falls apart
and then they become too self-conscious. So
My favorite people to listen to are, uh, maybe people who aren't trying hard.
don't have much of an ego. They
just, they, they know what they know and they wanna talk to you about
I like that. Um, and, and usually you can get that in a smaller setting or in one on one.
Mike Koelzer, Host: it.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Um, but I know, I mean, I'm not [00:47:00] a great public speaker and I've, I've not had any formal training. I know I had a class in college that was
just a requirement
going through pharmacy school in undergrad, but, ,I always try to get out of my mind about it, um, and not think about, I don't even rehearse what I'm gonna say, which the more people I listen to and, you know, they say, oh, I, I rehearse multiple times before I speak and I make my own slides
and, and I make an outline and I know how much time I have
roughly and what I'm gonna talk about.
But it's always a subject that's, that's really close to
to my daily work that I, that I love and that I'm
I am passionate about it. And that's what I put out there that I, that I will speak about.
and then I just kinda watch everybody in the crowd. And, um, I like to invite my friends, like I said, , so that I feel like I'm just talking to my friends.
asking questions of the crowd helps a lot, I [00:48:00] think, and asking them to raise their hands and
then if nobody raised their hands, making jokes about how we need some snacks or something.
To, to loosen people up. Drinks always help. Um, but I,
I'll make fun of myself a bit sometimes when I'm speaking and
so that I, I think that Servery feels more comfortable that I'm
not some big world renowned, reputable speaker.
a pharmacy owner, um, with all the quirks that go along
Mike Koelzer, Host: That is the important part because I have a lot of background on what you're talking about. There's a psychiatrist I follow online who does quite a bit of public speaking and his method is when he goes in front of a crowd, he's actually trying to figure out a problem that's on his mind that he hasn't really been able to nail.
So he is almost using the stage as a time to think it through with the audience. He knows his material and he knows sort of where he is going. And he says he's got, from his experience, he's got about [00:49:00] five or six stories from each part of that. So maybe he's got 25 stories that he has, and then he doesn't know what he's gonna do or when, but he knows he can pull these in and so on.
So I think the base of it is you really have to know a lot about your material. At least know enough that you have . On an objective scale. It may not be true, but you have to at least feel that you know enough so you feel confident,
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right.
Yeah, that's exactly right. And, um, I'll, I'll, I'll pull in examples from my pharmacy or projects that I've worked on with other pharmacies and I'll, I'll put that in the slide deck. So if we're talking about, you know, the sales and marketing, uh, structure for going into an ENT office or something, I'll, I'll pull examples.
What happened when I went into the local e n T office and
the questions that they asked me and how I responded, or, you know, I'll pull in how things
Mike Koelzer, Host: We got into a little bit of trouble with Steve Jobs because he went out there with his sneakers on and his, you know, his jeans and stuff, and he was very good on stage and that, but then every healthcare person wanted to do that. You know, you come out in your hoodie and things like that, you'll see it across the board.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Like I would ask a person, I would say, if you've never done this before, let's put you behind a lectern and just let you gently read it. I'd rather see that than somebody doing the sneaker hoodie thing when they've never had been in those since they were a kid.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right. Yeah. There's definitely a whole, um, like healthcare, tech,
Mike Koelzer, Host: The whole
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: on. Yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I think that's gonna crash. I think that whole hoodie thing is gonna crash because of meta stock, you know, which is tanked, and you've got Apple, which arguably they haven't done anything since jobs died.[00:51:00] then you've got the whole, uh, FTX thing. You know, this guy was like a hoodie, you know, Bahamas guy.
I think that's gonna change and go back to, more of a, a formal, dressed up thing. Especially with the average Joe being at home in their PJs and things like that. I think it's gonna go the other way and be a little bit more formal.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, might, I mean, you, you see a lot of this like venture capital coming into healthcare, and I think they're starting to realize that pharmacy is really hard.
You know, it's, there's just so much logistics
and, and so much patient care that can't be automated.
So I, I'm definitely seeing some, some like VC pull out of, of healthcare.
And then you're even seeing some of the Amazon failures, I think, in the pill pack.
Mike Koelzer, Host: you're exactly right, Nicola. I've looked at some of these places that make these apps, you know, like these, it's not even like hymns or something [00:52:00] like that. It's more of just like an app for delivery and stuff like that. And you see these VCs putting in like a billion dollars on these things, and it's like, that's not gonna work.
If you spend any time at all in the farms, you're like, that's not gonna work. And you guys dumped a billion dollars into this. It's like,
it's like there must be. a lot of, um, grandstanding going on about some of this stuff that just the average VC is not picking up on.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: I definitely think there is, and it's, it's, it's those people who are not involved in the day to day
and they wanna build dashboards or tech platforms. There's just way too many variables in pharmacy and there's way too many niches in healthcare that you can't, you can't scale it. That's kind of the beauty of independence, is that we can turn
our ship very quickly.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Warren Buffet always said he invests in the kind of boring stuff that he knows, you know, Coca-Cola and McDonald's and things like that. Dairy Queen. [00:53:00] And then you get some people like Mark Cuban coming in, but he doesn't. Thinking he's gonna be the savior of things. He knows his niche now of some cash based things, you know, smaller things because I think you're right. I think that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the pharmacies, because you can't conquer this in chunks. It's gotta
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: right.
Mike Koelzer, Host: things like that.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. I think you just, you, you focus on your specialty or your niche or your specialization, and you do it really.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Yep.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: and then you can grow, you can get, you know, multiple state licenses. You can invest in your physical and your digital marketing. Um, but you,
you can't, and you shouldn't be everything to everyone because then you're just spread too thin to do a good job.
Mike Koelzer, Host: We do medical equipment at our, at our pharmacy. In fact, we don't have anything in our pharmacy that's non-medical. So we don't have any cards or bubble gum or candy bars or, [00:54:00] you know, gifts or anything. It's a hundred percent medical. And, years ago there were some stores, I think in Detroit, they were starting out and they were kind of like the best buy of medical equipment. So let's say the store might have been, I'm guessing, like, I don't know how big some of these targets are, or, you know, best Buy, I don't know what, 50,000 square feet.
I have no idea. They're huge. And you think like, oh, there's the killer. These are gonna be everywhere now. And they found out that , It didn't work because one of the reasons is people that shop there with their walkers, with the tennis balls on the front of 'em, they don't wanna walk across the size of a Best Buy store to get something.
They don't have that stamina. And then like at Best Buy, it's kind of cool to be out there and nickel at you and I run into each other and you're like, Mike, what'd you getting? And I'm like, I'm getting a new phone. And you're like, oh, I'm getting a new monitor and this and that. But that would be different if 30 years from now Cola, [00:55:00] what are you doing?
You're like, oh, I'm getting some help. And I'm like, I've got a catheter. You know? Those are the conversations you don't wanna have in a place that size. So a lot of times bigger is not better. And I think that's can be music to some pharmacy ears and I think that's valuable. Lesson to pharmacists that niching down is still the way to go versus the, at least figuratively, the big box combo of everything.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: That's true. That's a good point. And especially with the pandemic, we're seeing that the, the physical retailers, they, you can't get, you know, I can't walk into a store and buy uniforms for my kids anymore
into Children's Place or Old Navy, or Gap. I have to go online because the physical retailers are not carrying all those skews anymore.
It's just too much overhead, it's too much inventory. So most of what I buy is online nowadays, and it didn't used to be like [00:56:00] that when I, when my kids were babies, um, you know, eight to 12 years ago. I still had to go to Target and buy diapers and formula and, but now if I do it now, a decade later, I would get everything online.
So it's definitely changed. Um, so I think from a pharmacy and a healthcare perspective, there's so many skews when you think about medical supplies, um, that a lot of our local doctors, when we go talk to them, we have some podiatrists. Um, and I go around to the doctor's office and give them flu shots,
um, and give their team flu shots.
I get time with the doc and I don't have to buy lunch.
And so I ask them, you know, what do you send your patients outta here to go buy? Like if it's not something that you provide,
What do you tell them? Like, go find this. And where do you send them? And
they say, oh, I send them to get their medical supplies on Amazon.
And I'm like, well, you know, 2000 choices in. And a lot of these patients are elderly. So if you wanna just tell us like what's the short list of what you tell your [00:57:00] patients to go out and buy, and we'll just keep that in stock and then just tell your patients to come see us at the pharmacy instead.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Years ago, you're too young for this, but years ago you'd have to buy a Dell computer and you'd spend like three weeks to pick out a Dell. You know, you'd, you'd try to find the right amount of ram and this and that and, and you'd freak out about it.
And then, you know, dogs hear the page and the flier that came out, and then look the next day and all this stuff. And now you just go on Amazon's choice. And that's what you get. That points to the fact that we want the advice of others and, and certainly medical professionals. And so it's too big of a world really to go out there and chew stuff on your own.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: It is, it's, it's overwhelming. And so, and then we have the wholesale accounts with like Medline and, and the, the companies where we can kind of sift through. And our, um, our DME rental program is doing really well. We rent the knee scooters and the wheelchairs and the walkers. [00:58:00] Um, and that's another thing that I tell our pediatric surgeons is that we have knee scooters in stock for your patients to come rent after they have surgery on their, on their feet or something.
Um, so that's been really helpful. And then, um, What's really helped us too in my pharmacy is having a robust online reviews
Mike Koelzer, Host: saw it when I was looking up earlier. You got like, I don't know, 1500 or something
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. We have over a thousand, um, and they're all organic, so we didn't pay and
we don't incentivize or anything like that. Um, but we did automate our appointments. So we have, um, patients booking appointments for covid tests or covid vaccines, flu shots, shingles, tetanus, pneumonia. We give all kinds of vaccines now, after their appointment, they get an automated message and it's very humble and it just says, thank you for trusting us, um, with your care.
We're a small mom and pop business, so if you had a good experience, um, it would really help us if you would leave a review.
And we, [00:59:00] And we have a link. And so if they click that link, um, we use a software where it's really easy for them to leave a review on. It's either Google, Facebook. Yelp or TripAdvisor, I think, are the four biggest online review software companies.
And 75% of our reviews are on Google. So having access to our Google My Business and keeping that updated for the business has been really important
for us. And it's driven a lot of business cuz if people search, uh, knee scooters near me
will come up first
Mike Koelzer, Host: You can never go wrong with Google. Like on this podcast, I post my shows and some of the social stuff I've made on a site, so our pharmacy has one, but I also made one for this podcast , as if it's a business.
And I post on there and I don't know what it does cause I don't get any social. Input from it. But I, I gotta believe whenever you're dealing with Google and putting stuff on there, and I would say for pharmacies, on [01:00:00] Google along with, and I'm sure yours, Nicollet, I know the reviews are much more important, but even I put in the daily updates on Google, even though they don't get any attention.
I gotta believe it's helping with SEO and that kind of stuff. Just floating stuff through Google.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: it absolutely is. Because then Google sees that you're a, a real business and
viable and you're updating and making changes. So, so you're, you're more likely to be shown in more searches, um, and just able to pop
up and, and be seen more.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Do you use a program for your, uh, rental, your HME rental?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: No, we just, what kind of programs do you use cuz you do a lot of d.
Mike Koelzer, Host: We do a lot of dme. We don't rent anything. I used to rent commodities and stuff like that, which is gross. Now when you think about it. In fact, it was just Thanksgiving and, when we sell, uh, toilet seats, the riser toilet seats, sometimes people would bring them back and we don't recirculate them, even though people say they haven't been used and stuff.
It's [01:01:00] like, yeah, okay. You know, some views. So we throw 'em in the basement. But then last year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we were slow. And so I bought a bunch of these old ones and I put 'em outside with a sign like used, I mean, they looked new and stuff, but I put used and they were gone in a couple hours.
People like free stuff, and it was all the toilet seats and so I called it our Brown Friday sale.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: That's terrible. But
Mike Koelzer, Host: I know. All right, so cola, so we don't. We don't rent anything. One thing we do is we have a free 48 hour wheelchair rental, and we advertise the heck out of that online. So what happens then is doctors and people find out about it.
And what I like is that we touch the person's figure seven times. So they find us online, they might call us, do you have one? Yeah. Come on in. We've got 'em. They come in, can I keep this for [01:02:00] 72 hours? Sure. It's just a soft 48 hours. Enjoy it. And then they're like, do you need payment or do you need my name?
And things like that. And they're like, no, we trust you. Just scouts on her. Bring it back. So now they build up some trust, then they're telling their friends about it, and then they have to decide when to bring it back. So we've touched them about seven times. At pretty much zero cost unless someone swipes the wheelchair once
in a while.
People say, oh, you trust us so much by not taking our name. You must trust us a lot. If I was being honest, I would say, well, you might think that, but the main reason we do it is we don't have a good way to record this. And if we did, we'd probably call you a month later and ask for a wheelchair back and you would've said, I returned it, you know, three weeks ago and got pissed at us and it would've
been our fault and all that.
So we just don't do it With the rental stuff, we never had good software, so I [01:03:00] spent like 3000 bucks. This is like 20 years ago. I paid one of our locals. Computer people to build this program. It was called File Maker Pro, and we could build our own database and, and make our own software for rental.
I thought, this is gonna be great. And they said after it's done, you can then make changes to the software. This is before a lot of the drag and drop stuff. And so after spending like $3,000 and having a program that didn't really work, what I was able to do is change the enter button from gray to red.
So you don't have one, you just do it by paper?
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, our rental programs manual. We have a lot of kinds of high tech programs in the pharmacy, and then we have a lot of manual ones. We do a two week minimum on the
rentals. And so we have a rental form and agreement that they fill out and we put it in a binder, and then the team just kind of, um, they put it in like date order
and they know when they have to follow up.
Um, we keep, we keep, [01:04:00] the credit card, so we charge it every, so, you know, they have it all organized.
Mike Koelzer, Host: that stuff's better.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah,
Mike Koelzer, Host: You can overdo a lot of the computer stuff.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: you can, and I've, I've spent, um, well, our first version of our software at, at Atrium 24, where we look at all the pharmacies dispensing data and
we, we, develop clinical programs based on the needs out there. Um, and another reason we built it is I just, I hate free text. So if I have a consulting client and I don't like to get on the phone and be like, so how are things
I wanna look at your data before I talk to
you, and I know how things are
going and I know what questions we have
and what we need to work on. So, um, our first version of the software costs well into six figures. And it's good. Um, it has a whole LMS with, which is like a learning management system that has all the e-courses and the e-books and videos, downloadable resources.
It has interactive, uh, dashboards
and data fields. Um, but [01:05:00] it's funny, uh, one of my best friends is a software developer, and he always tells me, um, whenever you build software, you have to assume that no one's gonna log in. No one's gonna look at it. Nobody cares.
he says, you're building it for you.
You're building it so that you can help scale yourself and so that you can do your job and you can make insights
automatically or more quickly or more
So that's what we do on the consulting side. We build our software so that we can look at it. Um, I certainly do have pharmacy owners who are really tech savvy, who do log in
and make their own analyses. And I, I
get so excited when, when I can see the login details
and I see the heat map or or they tell me that it's useful for them.
I'm like, oh my gosh, it's like a bonus
Um, but the newest version of the software that we're in Alpha right now, we're hoping to release within the next, uh, month or two. [01:06:00] Uh, it has all of it, it's a sales and marketing software for your independent pharmacy. So it'll show you based on your data, what your opportunity is and our lights just changed, um, what your opportunity is and, um, who you should target, how frequently, what the message should be.
It'll even custom brand, custom brand some things for you. So it's really cool. Um, But I've also built in with our new development team, and this software costs over a half million dollars so far. It's crazy.
Mike Koelzer, Host: That you've paid to build.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Uh, paid or equity. Yep.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Gotcha. Gotcha.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yep. So, but to find developers who can actually build something to this level, um, has taken me years to
find. And so, um, we've built in a lot of triggers
that kind of, if this, then this.
So even the, even the CVS Caremark aberrant dispensing percentage
or like just different [01:07:00] nuances in the contracts.
Um, if this happens, send an email immediately
with this and then tell them how to rectify it.
Tell me exactly which claims, you know, were outside of the norm.
Or, um, if your rep is out marketing to a new doctor, uh, and they're out, you know, in the field, and then a prescription comes in, That's a trigger that
everybody has to be alerted, like, Hey, it worked.
So go back and
thank them for the business and and ask how else you can help or make sure that that patient doesn't slip through the cracks,
Or how many times in your pharmacy do you, you're focusing on all this digital marketing, physical marketing, um, and then a new prescriber sends in business or refers a patient in to rent a scooter or
something. Do we capture it? Do we know, do we go bring a packet to them and say, thank you so much for trusting
us with that patient. Um, we don't know how, did they just [01:08:00] stumble in or did you send them, or,
We just wanna introduce ourselves, and be humble about it. Thank
you for, for, the business. We appreciate it because you have to joyfully ask for more.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Here's the problem, OLT with, business in general is it gotta be a nice combination of technology and kind of that, itch to really. Serve people in a personal way. Here's an example of that if you've heard of this company called McDonald's, right?
The burger place.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: of course. Yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Okay, I'm joking because obviously billions and billions serve, right? Everybody knows McDonald's and they've got all the computerized stuff now for burgers, you know, and they go in there and they got all this stuff up there, all these giant computer screens, you push and all this stuff.
You would think that they have everything together,
I went in there like a couple years ago, there's all this stuff going on. I'm like the [01:09:00] only person there, and I'm in there to get a coffee. Nobody comes to the counter
for like two minutes. I end up leaving because you're in the middle of all this going on. I kind of laughed to myself. It's like you can set up the world in your pharmacy and all this stuff, but you still have to pay attention because here you got McDonald's who you would think
would have a way to trigger that a customer's there within 10 seconds
and I stand there for two minutes in the world's most highly functional, fast food place, whatever.
In a way it's sad because you can never just say business is done. We conquered it. In a way it talks about, as you had mentioned the niche that pharmacists can fill, because if
McDonald's doesn't do it, look at the wide open arrangement to still do things better and better and [01:10:00] better than the big three or whatever.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah, there. There definitely is. And I think we talked about the pandemic and things changing there with a lot of things being available online, endless amounts of skews, and then with venture capital trying to get into healthcare as well. It just shows how valuable having a real knowledgeable community liaison it is.
for local prescribers, offices for local patients, for your neighbors, for the local softball
team, they, they, want a person,
Mike Koelzer, Host: You can have an owner that is on the ball with everything in the pharmacy or a, or a leader of some sort. But if the doctor's offices don't have that liaison, that can somehow get across to them the value that the owner places on that. You might as well have a brick wall if you're not getting that information out to them.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: right? [01:11:00] and and just being humbly grateful for. I think is, is important. Um, some people try to have everything together and have everything polished and just look like a very professional, and we should, but we should also keep the human element
and, and be excited. You know, there's a new doctor in town, and it's nice to meet you.
Please let me know how I can help you. Um, my family lives in town. Our whole team, they all live locally and we love what we do. And if there's anything we could do to help you and your patients, please reach out because that's what we're here for. because the CVS isn't asking them for business or being thankful for their business, they're just there and they're
just convenient. sometimes
There's a local um, re. and they're Hawaiian ohana. It's called ohana. And that means family. And whenever you walk in, they just, you always feel welcome there no
matter who you are. [01:12:00] And they always say, we're joyfully open, or, you know, we're joyfully serving you.
And I think that's an important distinction. We want to be here. We want to remain independent. Um, so what does our community need? Because we want to joyfully accept new patients. We need them
Mike Koelzer, Host: I've said that with gas stations. It's like, I don't know if gas stations want my business or not. And it sounds weird. It's like, what do you mean they don't want your business?
Like, I don't know, maybe it's kind of like a lost lead. Maybe they don't want my business. And the thing is, nobody's ever come out to me and said, thank you for getting gas here. It means a lot to us that you've chosen us to get gas. And maybe they don't, but it seems like if they did that somebody would take something as non-sexy as gas and come out and say, we appreciate it. We're glad you're here. We're happy to serve you. That kind of stuff.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: I think that's really important. And then like that same feeling is making it [01:13:00] easy for people to do
business with you. you. You have to kind of, um, view the journey from their perspective and then just remove as much friction as possible.
Um, because it's, it's uncomfortable. We even, we just had a guy videoing the inside of my pharmacy, uh, in the last week or two so that he can, we can put it on Google.
Um, because people, they feel uncomfortable if they walk into a place they've never
seen. nowadays, or if they don't
know what to expect. Um, so we wanna make everyone feel comfortable,
Mike Koelzer, Host: Let's say you're driving down the highway and there's a McDonald, and this is maybe pre-review stuff, but there's a McDonald's there.
You know what McDonald's is? 50%. It's okay. It's. But it's 50% and Joe's Burgers might be 90, but it might be 10, and you don't feel like bringing your family into a 10, and so you just don't go. You go to 50% of McDonald's. So unless you get online and the great job you guys are doing with [01:14:00] your sales teams and things like that, unless you tell people we're a 90, they might think you're a 10.
And you know, they don't know. They don't know who's there. They don't know if it's some guy ready to hang it up or if it's someone who's really hot to keep it going.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: That's true. And so that's, that's the challenge, you know, with these chains or even if you go out of town, do you, to your example, do you eat at a chain restaurant or do you try to find an independent, um,
Mike Koelzer, Host: If I'm just going through town, I'm stopping at a chain, places that I know now I try to go to, but that's usually because I've heard things like in town, I've, I've heard things. I might know the owner,
I've, I've maybe looked up on Google, I've seen the inside of the restaurant, that kind of stuff.
But if I'm on a town, I'm gonna go with the, the 50%, you know, I know the bathrooms are relatively clean and all
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Right?
Mike Koelzer, Host: and I'm not gonna bother with Joe's.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: That's true. It's just human behavior. I know when I went to buy my pharmacy, five, six years ago, I was trying to get [01:15:00] a, um, a loan at Live Oak Bank and, um, they said to me, how are you gonna get business?
And I said, oh, well, I'm gonna do all these things and we're gonna vaccinate
patients and we're
gonna compound. and And, they said, yeah, but it's like getting someone to change their gas station
is what Jimmy Neal told me. He said,
they go to the same gas station, it's on the way to
their route. They're, they're comfortable with it. They know how to get in and
how to get out. They know the traffic, so how are you gonna get them to change their behavior?
That's that routine.
Mike Koelzer, Host: That's exactly right. Unless you're moving into a place that maybe has never existed before, maybe some new city in Arizona that popped up overnight and you're the new pharmacy. Besides that, any place you go and open up any business for a product that's mature, they're already getting it somewhere.
Maybe not perfectly, but they're getting it somewhere, and
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: right.
Mike Koelzer, Host: fighting against you. You can't go average to average. You have to go best to average
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: And that's why you [01:16:00] need the sales and marketing team to go out and educate and invite people to come use your service and to make them comfortable
Mike Koelzer, Host: Absolutely.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: to say, like you said, what are your challenges? What are you struggling with? How can we help you with your prior authorizations or, or find, you know, the compounds that you need, or
Mike Koelzer, Host: Absolutely.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: and then just help make 'em comfortable using your services.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Nicolette. I started off by saying that sales was so important and how I kind of suck at it because you know, people always come to us, but I think through our talking here, what you're teaching is so important is that it's marketing, but it's sales. Not in a gaudy sales way, but unless you're out. Thanking people for the business, asking for the business it's not gonna happen. You're doing great things. Keep that message going.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: Yeah. Thank you so much. I, I think, we pharmacists love structure. You need to structure your sales and marketing, your strategy, your [01:17:00] messaging, and just stay at it, and then you can grow your business the way that you want it to be grown.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Yeah. Very cool. All right, Nicolette, we'll be in touch. Thank you.
Nicolette Mathey, PharmD: All righty. Thank you, Mike.
Dr. Nicolette Mathey, PharmD, started working in pharmacy in 2003 as a clerk. Her passion for independent pharmacy grew and resulted in many exciting positions, from corporate Pharmacy Manager, to Transitions of Care pharmacist at a large health system, opening pharmacies and implementing meds-to-beds programs, to consulting for Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) full-time as their Director of Clinical Services and visiting over 100 pharmacies to perform onsite consulting and help implement their new programs.
Nicolette purchased Palm Harbor Pharmacy in her hometown in 2017, and has since grown and relocated it (in a Heat Zone!) This pharmacy serves as a true test kitchen for any new programs her consulting firm dreams up. ATRIUM24, a consulting firm meaning constant heart, was founded by Nicolette in 2019. With a focus on cash which include commercially available RXs as well as compounds, clinical niches, prescriber marketing strategies, RX Order Forms & Idea Sheets per specialty, custom branded pieces for her stores, as well as a robust Data Analytics program that continues to become more sophisticated and robust, nothing like what the ATRIUM24 team has built exists, and it’s only getting better!