Optometric Management Tip # 57 - Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Could be busier? Host an Event.
The management tips of recent weeks have focused on how to keep your practice busy, which is an important theme in these times of a sluggish economy, worldwide uncertainty and winter weather. While word of mouth referrals is the best way to build patient volume over the long haul, what can you do to spark appointments and sales right now?
There are many ways to make something happen and generate excitement. It just takes the initiative to do it.
Consider the following ideas for events you could host in your practice, then run an ad in the local paper or send out invitations to your patient base to get the word out. Many events are newsworthy enough that you could write a press release and submit it to your local paper as a news item.
Hosting events like these are excellent forms of professional marketing. You and your staff can come up with many more ideas - but if you aren't busy enough, the important thing is to make something happen.
- Seminars. Present a short patient seminar in your office - or in a neutral place like a restaurant or bookstore - on any variety of vision topics. It could be on children's vision, sports vision or contacts for people over 40. I like to schedule the lectures on a weekday at around 5pm, to catch people on their way home from work so they don't have to go out again.
- Guest speaking. Similar to the above - except you are not the host. You offer your services to speak to clubs, civic organizations, schools, and church groups. These are generally at no charge - your payment is in the good will it generates.
- Public speaking not your thing? Some people just can't do it - and there are plenty of other good ideas - but don't give up to soon. You can make PowerPoint slides or transparencies yourself and it will guide you through the presentation without notes. Talking to the public is like talking to patients, and we all do that every day. Make a simple handout, and take brochures and business cards.
- Optical trunk show. Ask your frame sales reps for help; they are experts at marketing. Ask also about co-op dollars to help pay for the invitations and postage.
- Host a color contact lens open house. You and your staff could set up stations to try on samples and evaluate candidates. Ask a local hair salon to participate by sending an expert to speak about cosmetics and eye makeup. Serve refreshments.
- Organize a health fair - or participate in an existing one. Ask some other local doctors (primary care MD, dentist, chiropractor) to join you in a health fair to educate the public and provide free screenings. Setting up an air puff tonometer could be good.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management