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Why Don't We Sell More Eyeglasses?
These four myths will tell you why.
is better, one or two, three or four? I'm not talking about performing a refraction.
Rather, I'm asking which is more profitable for your dispensary: selling one pair
of glasses or selling three or four, or maybe five or six? The answer is easy. We'd
all like to do a better job in our optical and we've all read and heard about "lifestyle"
dispensing and "multiple" dispensing. Yet, historically O.D.s do a poor job of selling
glasses, let alone multiple pairs, and the core reason is because they have succumbed
to the following four myths.
Eyeglasses with high-index materials, AR coatings,
photochromic and progressive lenses would probably be considered "fully-loaded"
by most practitioners and patients. Yet even these premium lenses have limitations.
Heavy computer users and most athletes wouldn't do well with these options. Those
who do a lot of continuous distance or close work (like a truck driver or an accountant)
might do better with single vision lenses. So, while the technology available in
both frames and lenses has increased exponentially in the last few years, we still
don't have a "one pair does it all" eyeglass modality. There are still some comprises
with most eyeglasses. Certainly one reason we don't do more multiple dispensing
is because we have become mesmerized by, and complacent about, new technology.
There's no question third-party
payers have taken their toll on our optical sales. However, many doctors have let
this become a psychological barrier and excuse in building their businesses. A managed
care patient who says, "I only want what the plan covers," is the equivalent of
a cash patient saying, "I have a fixed amount of money to spend on eyewear and I
want to maximize every dollar." Viewed this way, a managed care patient's "allowance"
can be positioned as a savings for the patient that now allows him or her to purchase
additional eyewear. "Mrs. Jones, I have great news for you. Dr. Bill has written
you two prescriptions and your insurance covers one of them. That means you're
only responsible for the second pair."
Contrast this with the emotion many
doctors experience when they discover a patient has insurance and is not a cash
patient. Before he or she even greets the patient in the exam room the doctor has
decided that the patient only wants what the plan covers! This profit-draining,
self-fulfilling prophecy rears its head again when the doctor transfers the patient
to his optical staff. "Mary, Mr. Specs needs a pair of glasses and he has XYZ insurance."
That might be right. Or it might
be wrong. But multiple dispensing isn't about forecasting expenses for your patient.
It's about doing what's best for your patients regardless of their perceived financial
status. You are your patients' eye doctor not their financial advisor. And,
as the eye doctor you should be recommending whatever eyewear is best for your patient's
visual needs and lifestyle.
Doc, I have news for you. If your
staff doesn't "get it," it's your fault. Unquestionably, your staff obtains their
sales and dispensing philosophies from you. Your personality and view of multiple
dispensing percolates down to your staff through your continuous behavior, no matter
how subtle. Pinning poor sales on staff is an excuse that needs to be addressed
by you, the practice CEO and leader. OM
New technology lenses
and frames decrease the need for multiple sales.
Patients only want
what the plan covers.
My patients can't
afford more than one pair of glasses.
I believe in multiple
dispensing, but my staff doesn't.
Optometric Management, Issue: November 2005