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I recently had a sales rep for a large ophthalmic lens lab give a presentation to my staff about premium antireflective lenses. Sales of that product increased 30%. I'll be working to see if we can keep that momentum over time, but it got me thinking about what a great resource sales reps can be.
I have learned a few things about how to increase the likelihood of getting a winning presentation, which I'll share here, but if you have not had a rep speak to your staff lately you are missing out on a big benefit.
You probably have representatives asking if they can give a presentation to your staff, unless they've given up on you. Think about your best sales reps and ask them if they will give a presentation. Most will be happy to have the opportunity.
Here are a few product lines that work well.
Contact lens topics galore: one day disposables, multifocals, how to sell annual supplies.
How to sell multiple pairs of eyewear and other optical products.
The advantages of a specific line of premium sunglasses.
Nutritional supplements and their use in vision care.
Premium progressive lenses and how they are better than standard progressives.
Though not a sales rep per se, the practice administrator of a local LASIK center could present on the latest procedures.
The old joke that an expert is anyone from out of town could apply in a way, although industry reps usually are true experts about their products. But most staff members are inspired to hear from a new expert in their field; not the doctor in the practice. They become educated and motivated about the product. That might convert to increased sales but, even if it doesn't, it creates a more knowledgeable and aware staff. Staff education can improve morale and give employees an important perspective on the services they provide.
The rep certainly stands to gain as well because his products will be featured, but that does not take away from the benefit your practice derives.
How to plan it
Every office is different, but I ask the representative to give the presentation during our regular weekly staff meeting. We have those set up in advance so one hour of time is blocked out from patients and we have a large number of staff members present.
Don't invite reps who don't seem easy to talk to and likable. Presentations are great until they go bad or if they are boring.
Ask what topics will be covered and speak up about what you want to have covered. Inform the rep in advance about how your practice works in relation to the product. Think about what could be a problem and prevent it.
Ask the rep how long the presentation will be and then ask him to keep it to 30 minutes maximum. Reps are not always professional speakers and they often have way too many slides and they just try to put too much into a talk.
Ask if she will use PowerPoint slides or other demo items. Slides and other aids usually help make for a good talk, but it is nice to know so you can provide a projection surface and power outlets.
Will there be a handout with the highlights of the presentation?
Will the rep be providing any food? I think it's fine to have food but not everyone agrees on that. You may want to be ready with the extra items like paper plates, napkins, coffee, soft drinks, etc.
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.