When it comes to dietary supplement sales, receiving the nod of approval from doctors and other healthcare practitioners can mean all the difference in the world. In fact, 44% of supplement companies rated the importance of healthcare practitioner recommendations as either “critical” or “very important” to the success of their sales in Nutrition Business Journal’s recent survey of 137 companies selling directly to consumers. Earning the trust of healthcare professionals is viewed as so important that numerous supplement companies have built businesses around solely selling through these individuals—and, as NBJ explores in our 2010 MLM and Practitioner Sales issue, the practitioner channel performed particularly well in 2009, even in the face of the economic downturn. “I believe the healthcare practitioner channel is going to be one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing sales channels in the nutrition industry over the next 10 years,” said Kyle Bliffert, president of Pure Encapsulations, which sells its 350 hypoallergenic supplement products only through practitioners.
In an effort to better understand the practitioner sales channel for supplements and other nutrition products, NBJ surveyed 600 naturopathic physicians, nutritionists, chiropractors, medical doctors and other healthcare practitioners regarding their attitudes and practices related to dietary supplement recommendations and sales. The survey ran in March 2010 and received distribution support from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Pure Encapsulations, Emerson Ecologics and others.
Among other things, the survey found that 76% of the practitioners surveyed sell supplements in their offices. In addition, nearly 70% of NBJ’s survey respondents reported being “very knowledgeable” about supplements and how they can be used to support their patients’ health. Said one MD who participated in the survey: “My patients want supplements, and I want to give them high-quality professional supplements that I know and trust. Selling supplements also helps augment my income.”
A full analysis of our practitioner survey results is available to NBJ subscribers and will publish in our next issue (which will hit mailboxes later this week). Order a copy of the issue or subscribe to the journal via the NBJ Website.
NBJ will also present the findings from the survey and a sales and growth analysis of the healthcare practitioner channel during our 2010 Practitioner Supplement Sales Web Seminar on May 27.
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