Last week's tip received a nice response from readers, so I'll continue with that topic a bit more. By the way, I truly appreciate your e-mail questions and feedback about the Management Tip of the Week, and I do answer every one.
The topic that generated so much interest last week was a word that has long been forbidden in optometry: SELLING. Our profession is still sensitive to that word - but I'll risk it as it applies to optical products. Selling is simply knowledge plus specialized communication, and it's a very valuable tool for opticians and optometric technicians. But most technicians are not trained in sales; they are trained in fitting eyewear. To that extent - practice owners should provide training for staff members in communicative selling.
The key to successful selling is understanding why people buy. They actually buy the product of the product! They buy the benefit that they will receive from the product. They don't buy the features of a product. In the case of eyeglasses, they may buy better vision, a more youthful appearance, a fashion statement, better comfort, or even the reliability and convenience that comes with a durable frame. These are examples of what optical professionals should talk about when they are presenting frames and lens options. How do you know which benefit to go after as you begin a frame selection? Ask the patient what they want!
I would avoid long technical discussions about how optical products are made. Advanced technology can be a good selling point when it is used to provide a benefit - but we must communicate the benefit!
I love axioms that help us remember the essence of a good point, so I will share one that has always stuck with me:
"Don't tell me how good you make your goods - tell me how good your goods make me."
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management