Optometric Management Tip # 451 - Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Increasing Sales of One-Year Supplies of Contact Lenses
With a little effort, the vast majority of your contact lens patients will purchase a full year's supply from your office. It is worth the effort. Look at these benefits when your patient opts for the full annual order:
- You remove patients from the marketplace for one year. This is a major factor because the public is bombarded with ads for contact lenses when they shop in discount stores, drug stores and from online sources. If they have a full supply, they ignore these ads.
- When patients are ready to buy lenses again, it will coincide with the time for their regular exam and you can repeat the process. In fact, stocking their lenses and dispensing them at the visit increases lens sales even more. Your office is the most convenient source.
- You reduce staff time by not having to process and dispense a partial order at mid-year.
- You save shipping costs for the patient or your practice.
- You increase cash flow and collect the revenue all at once, instead of delaying part of the sale.
- Studies show that when a patient has more lenses on hand, they are more compliant with disposal schedules.
Here's what to do
In order to make sales of one-year supplies the norm in your practice, follow these steps:
- Structure your contact lens prices to be competitive. See last week's tip for more on this.
- Offer an additional discount on your lens prices if a one-year supply is purchased. This is critical and it is a huge factor in driving annual sales. I just offer a 10% discount on the full year's supply to keep things simple.
- Be sure to assist the patient with any manufacturer rebates. Most rebates are maximized with an annual supply.
- Mention there is no shipping fee with an annual supply order.
- Don't ask the patient an open ended question like “How many boxes would you like to order?” Rather ask “Should I order your annual supply of contacts?” In fact don't talk about boxes at all. A doctor I met at a recent conference said he nixed the term boxes in his office (but I'm sorry that I don't know his name to give him the credit). Great idea; just talk in terms of the supply and time period.
The last point above follows the basic sales technique of suggestive selling. Legend has it that a chain of restaurants sells huge volumes of soda at higher prices by training the waitress staff to say one word. When the customer orders a soda, the reply is never “What size?” The correct reply is “Large?”
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management