Is this a subject that ever comes up in a clinical situation or in your practice / business? Do you ask your patients ‘what are your optical goals?’ Or do you TELL them what their goals should be?

If you as the doctor / optician do not havegoals for yourself and your staff, how can you ever expect your patient (i.e. your customer, your INCOME LIFELINE) to have goals?

If you and your staff are not wearing the correct and latest or A/R polarized lenses for outdoors or computer eyewear - you are not ‘walking the walk’. You are just ‘talking the talk’ - meaning, that you are not leading by example - you are leading from behind!

Prescription eyewear is NO different than a pill taken orally that a doctor prescribes for the patient. Corrective eyewear just happens to be worn on the face every day. This is NOT a negotiable experience and should not be based on price alone. It should be based on NEED.

The difference is that with an oral prescription, the patient pays monthly for those pills. With eyewear, it’s a lump sum game and many of our colleagues do not know how to express this to the consumer, so as to achieve the ‘desired’ result which is to achieve the best possible eyesight using state of the art optical products. As is the comparison with shoes eyewear has unique and specific needs - e.g. indoors, outdoors, computers, sports, driving - ALL of these have specific needs that require specific lenses.

Our goal in the optical industry is to replicate as close as possible to what takes place in the examination room. To ‘recreate’ the best possible optics -as done with the phoropter. The lights are out and the phoropter uses glass lenses with A/R. The eyes are covered, not allowing any light to get to the eyes – for the best possible Rx results.

If we are able to convey this message to the patient, ‘selling’ becomesa non-issue. Once the patients understand the ‘goal’, price should be irrelevant, hopefully.

I have found that most consumers will gladly pay more for something if they feel they are getting what they need - the ‘deal’ becomes secondary. What they ‘deserve’ is a great power word to use in selling.

ASSUMING that the patient ONLY wants one pair of frames and lenses is a mistake. It is just as easy to assume the patient wants several pairs of eyeglasses. It is up to you to romance the products, quality, fashion - whatever pushes the consumer’s hot button.

‘Daywear’ frames, especially for women) should be different than those worn in the evening for social events. Eyewear does not and should not be the same for all occasions. Women (more so than men) will match their eyewear to their ‘outfit’, to their accessories (i.e. shoes, handbags, earrings, etc). You would not wear the same frames for business as you would for clubbing or partying.

Image - be able to recognize what is important for the patient. Is she wearing David Yurman jewelry? Louis Vuitton handbag? Blanik shoes? These telltale signs will give you great insight into what is important to them - even if these ‘designer names’ are not so important to you.

I remember one scenario when a lady walked into a shop - ‘Can I help you?’ asked the optician. The lady said - ‘I am looking for WHITE SUNGLASSES.’

The optician replies ‘Why are you looking for white? That was in last year!’. STRIKE ONE!

Well, he proceeded to show her several sunglass frames, of which one looked fabulous on her. She asked ‘how much are these?’ His reply (i almost fell out of the chair on this one) - ‘Oh, those are expensive!’

This comment would or should offend most people. This could have been Bill Gates’ mother who wanted that frame for each of her seven homes. Fashion and quality have NO price. The consumer will pay it if they want something and see the value in that item. But conversely, if they do not like the item, you cannot make it cheap enough - they still will not like it.

What is expensive to this optician, might be pocket change to this lady. He ASSUMED and put HIS rubber band around her wallet. I left the shop before the scenario unfolded.

Point - raise your optical goals to meet the needs of the consumer and not your comfort zone needs. Instead of an ‘either or’ type of situation of which frame to choose, how about - ‘These three frames look fabulous on you and will fit all of your optical necessities!’

Yes, these are necessities. Lenses, more importantly. ‘Lifestyles’, life, jobs, careers - have become more specialized. A woman does not wear the same handbag, shoes or clothing to an evening out - that she wears to work. Eyewear is no different. It is all about how much emphasis that YOU put on eyewear and communicating the need for multiple pairs... not just a single backup pair.

It’s about telling stores and romancing these products and making them important to the patient. This is their FACE! It seems that regardless of what one is selling or dispensing, it always comes down to one’s passion for what they do for a living. Selfishly, my attitude is : ‘why are the opticians not getting a majority of the ‘fashion dollars; that the consumer spends? Why do people have more shoes, more handbags, more computers and cell phones and iPads - than beautiful eyewear?

Passion for what one does will translate into more sales. And if your patients or customers are spending more money with you on an annual basis, then you are making them happy optically and aesthetically. And if you get referrals from your customers, (your walking billboards), word of mouth is your best advertising. Growing your ‘dollar-per-patient’ visit by $100-$300 on 20% of your customer base is necessary. Creating a healthy increase in sales and profits is only a result of bringing newer, better products and thus a great shopping experience for your patients and customers. Giving yourself / your staff optical goals by categories is a good idea. Poly, palarized, premium, A/R technology, etc. Have weekly goals. Explaining and selling your patients on thebenefits of quality lenses, frames and A/R is doing them a favor, so to speak - as so many in the industry are ‘trying to save the customer money’. You will never have to apologize for selling better products.


Jamie Hansel

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