Time to Get Serious About Multiple Pairs of Glasses
April 1, 2015
Now is the time to focus on selling multiple pairs of glasses to large numbers of patients. This is a strategy that will make a huge difference in your profitability without requiring you to see more patients! And it is very effective even if vision plans are very prevalent in your area.
Consider implementing the following policies and procedures that will vastly increase your sales of additional pairs of glasses.
50% off additional pairs
As many readers know, I’ve used this policy continuously in my practice for many years and it keeps second pair sales high without even trying. Many ODs use various other discounts and deals on the second pair, but I find being aggressive gets more patients to take action. One advantage is that my staff feels a duty to mention the 50% off program to every patient who is buying glasses and I find that when they do that, we sell multiple pairs.
The policy is simple and widely used in retail: the patient gets 50% off the second pair and every additional pair of glasses. They all must be complete pairs (frame and lenses). All pairs must be prescription (not plano sunglasses, but Rx sunglasses are fine). The discount is always off the less expensive of the glasses. The first pair can be ordered under a vision plan.
My advice to make this policy more profitable is to raise your lens and frame prices before implementing this. Just make sure your prices are up-to-date. Also, keep in mind that many wholesale labs offer 50% off the lenses on multiple pairs ordered at the same time, so take advantage of that. You are already getting a discount on most frames. You can be very profitable on the second pair even with the aggressive discount.
Incentive for staff
Staff incentives are not always effective, but I find they work best when there is a high degree of correlation. This is when the action of the employee directly results in a reward. For example, when my practice pays a $10 bonus for each additional pair of glasses sold to the same patient, multiple pair sales go up dramatically. You may not want to do this forever, but try it for one quarter and see what happens.
We had staff members track their own multiple pair sales by writing down the date, patient name and how many pairs on an index card they keep in their pocket. It is old school, but it works and the employee can see how much money she is making. We just spot-check a few sales when we tally up the bonuses.
Optometrists recommend at the chair
Opticians tell me that their sales are so much easier if the doctor recommends a product at the exam chair. Consider how often you specifically prescribe and recommend multiple pairs of glasses for different purposes. I’ll bet it is not that often. I recently spoke to an OD who said he prescribes three pairs of glasses to most patients… and they usually buy two pairs. Use the patient’s occupation and history to prescribe for multiple purposes. Everyone needs an all-purpose Rx and a sun Rx, and many people also need a computer Rx or TV Rx.
Opticians ask questions
Train your staff to ask the patient questions when they start a frame selection. It is the best way to sell. Even if the optician already knows some of these factors, it is best to ask anyway and act like the answers are fascinating! After all, this is the patient’s favorite topic: himself!
Tell me how you use your eyes at work. What do you do?
Do you participate in outdoor activities?
Do you drive long distances?
Do you use a computer or tablet very much?
Do you have any hobbies?
Track multiple pair sales
We know that whatever you measure will improve, so track your multiple pair sales every month. Consider a contest or a goal with a reward that all the staff can have fun with.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.