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Article Date: 11/1/2013

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The Optical Sales Process
VISION CARE & WEAR
optical

The Optical Sales Process

Increase your capture ratio with a well-rounded approach.

images

DAVE ZIEGLER, O.D.

While you can increase your practice revenue by seeing more patients, another way is to retain the eyeglass purchases of the patients you already see. This is known as increasing your capture ratio, which requires an effective sales process that guides patients from the exam room to the optical area.

Here, I discuss the steps necessary to maximize your sales efforts with your current patients.

1 Make recommendations in the exam room.

Some doctors refrain from discussing products in the exam room, but patients want your recommendations on how to solve their vision problems. For example, give detailed instructions on digital progressive lenses and explain AR coatings. Write your recommendations to reinforce the importance of your instructions.

Also, create awareness of products they hadn't previously considered through demonstrations.

For example, to explain the importance of computer glasses, hold a +1.75 lens flipper over the distance portion of the patient's progressive lens. This allows patients to see the difference with a reading card held at an intermediate distance.

2 Review recommendations during the hand-off.

Take a few minutes to walk patients to the optical area. Introduce them to the optical staff while discussing your recommendations. This transfers the patients' trust in you.

3 Use incentives.

Help your patients make the decision to purchase the eyecare products that they need.

For example, we offer a 30-day trial for computer glasses and polarized sunglasses to eliminate the fear patients may have about buying.

We also bill interest-free through three months, which makes products more affordable.

Further, offer generous second-pair discounts. Even if you don't have to have the same profit margin as the first pair, the incremental income benefits your practice.

4 Sell the glasses again at dispensing.

Some patients express excitement when picking up their glasses, but others may doubt the necessity of their purchase. When dispensing the glasses, review the important benefits of the lenses and frames with the patient. We create lists of the glasses' features with our personalized brochure system.

Also, discuss the second pair recommendation and the financial incentives available to them. We might say, “At your exam, Dr. Ziegler recommended that you try computer glasses. You can save 50% on that second pair today.”

When you're finished, place the purchase in an attractive shopping bag with your practice name printed on it. Include a bottle of lens cleaner and microfiber cleaning cloth and some specialty chocolate to complete the patient's buying experience.

Capturing sales

When the doctor and optical staff work together to educate patients, it builds patient loyalty and trust, which makes them feel good about their purchase and makes them want to return.

The sales process runs smoothly, and you increase your capture ratio, which leads to increased revenue and patients who refer their friends to your office. OM

DR. ZIEGLER IS A SENIOR PARTNER IN A GROUP PRIVATE PRACTICE IN MILWAUKEE, WISC., AND A FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPTOMETRY. E-MAIL HIM AT DZIEGLER@AMERITECH.NET, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: November 2013, page(s): 59

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