Article Date: 3/1/2013

Marketing
marketing

“Sellucating” Your Patients

Educate patients without sounding like you are selling them a car.

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LEAH COLBY, O.D.

Salesperson… just saying the word initiates a small gag reflex for me. In reality, if we want to help boost our optical sales, we have to know how to educate our patients about their eyewear options without sounding like we are selling them a car.

The preferred term

I prefer to use the made-up term “Sellucate” when I work with my staff and doctors on how to discuss the latest and greatest technology or lens wear we offer.

Once we take the time to educate our patients on the importance of non-glare lenses, the value of a more up-to-date progressive design or the option of an anti-fog lens add-on, our patients are better equipped to make good decisions with our opticians for their eyewear.

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Lifestyles and careers

I find that when we ask our patients about their lifestyle and careers, it opens the door wide open for discussions on why we can do better. Does your patient history include questions about lifestyle, computer time, professional demands and hobbies? These are key opportunities to open the discussion about the different things that your optical can address.

In our busy practice, our technicians may touch on a few key areas where the patients spend most of their time and take a few moments to go over their options, especially second pairs.

When I see the patient, they have already had a preliminary message from our technicians and then I can expand on details if needed.

For example: “Just like you have running shoes for running and dress shoes for special occasions, there are times when you will need multiple pair of glasses for the different demands and environments in which you use your eyes. Did you know that we specially design golfing glasses for our serious golfers?”

Patients don’t know what they don’t know. It’s up to you to educate and inform them.

In addition, we have chosen to position our optical products for quality and value in our office and have chosen not to compete with lower cost eyewear stores.

Personal recommendations

Don’t ever underestimate the value of telling the patient what you personally wear. When it comes time to discuss sunglass correction, I always tell the patient what I wear and why. It helps drive their choice in better quality decisions.

Now that I am a few days into my 40s and have had the opportunity to try several different progressive designs, I let the patient know about my personal experiences and why I recommend a certain progressive design over another.

The best of both worlds

By sellucating, you offer your patients the opportunity to learn more about the specific eyewear options that will meet their unique visual needs. You also afford your practice the opportunity to improve its optical sales. It’s the best of both worlds. OM

DR. COLBY OPERATES EYEWEST VISION CLINIC IN ROGERS AND ST. MICHAEL, MINN. SHE WAS NAMED THE “YOUNG OPTOMETRIST OF THE YEAR” BY THE MINNESOTA OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION. TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, E-MAIL OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



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