MAY 2015

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Your monthly guide to staff training outside the box

Eyes / Lenses / Fitting Lenses / Free-Form / Frames / Sunwear / Patient Solutions / In-office / Standards

Multiple Pairs

One pair of eyeglasses equals compromise. One pair of glasses cannot be all things to all people, and the reasons are pretty straightforward. Research suggests that patients can understand the need for multiple pairs when the benefits are explained to them. In a recent research study, when consumers were detailed the benefits of polarized lenses and asked if they were interested in purchasing a pair, the majority said "yes." Yet in most offices, only about 20 percent of patients have more than one pair of prescription eyeglasses.

Multiple pair dispensing is critical for superior patient care and practice profit and stability. To be successful, a plan and consistent follow-through are essential. Here are the critical components for increased dispensing and sales of multiple pairs.

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Key to Second-Pair Sales: Start the Conversation Early and Provide Discount

By Rachael Click, OD

Second-pair eyewear sales increase if you start the conversation with the appointment call and continue it all the way to checkout time. The deal clincher: hard-to-resist discounts.

Educating patients about why they should invest in a second pair of eyewear and then creating second-pair discounts are keys to how my office drives optical shop revenues. This ensures patients have all the eyewear they need.

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The Importance of Protective Eyewear

By Maryann Macchiaverna

Severed optic nerves, ocular melanoma, detached retinas, pterygia, orbital fractures... these are some of the catastrophic injuries and diseases that occur when people don't wear eye protection.

In the United States, 600,000 sports-related eye injuries occurred in 2010, with 42,000 of them needing expensive emergency room care. For the workplace, each day, approximately 2,000 U.S. workers sustain eye injuries on the job that cost businesses $300 million a year when combining medical bills with productivity downtime. The most interesting statistic is that 90 percent of these injuries were preventable. So why aren't more people protecting their eyes?

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By Danielle Crull, ABOM

Mom and Dad understand the benefits of sport eyewear; little Johnny is confident going out on the field because he knows he is well-protected. Now we can "spread out the defense" by finding other ways to use the sport glasses. Sport and protective eyewear can be worn in many other places than just traditional sport venues. Don't be afraid to let them know that they can be worn for riding a bike, on the playground and at recess, sledding, even on roller coasters. Their new sport eyewear can also serve as a backup pair of glasses, and if they decide to use photochromic lenses, this can also be helpful until the budget allows a quality, great pair of sunglasses.

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To assist in the sale of multiple pairs, presentation is key. Besides the ability to describe products and their benefits, good visual merchandising helps attract customers to the sale.

The art of displaying merchandise to communicate its availability and enhance its sales appeal is called visual merchandising. For example, to communicate the opportunities of outdoor eyewear, make sunwear easily seen, touchable and accessible, available in enough choices but not too many and visible with clear cues to their price and value.

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By Michelle Fleischer

It is possible to change the consumer's mindset so that the ECP is the go-to destination for the right pair of sunglasses. If locations like Sunglass Hut can do it—an ECP that would consider a sunwear store within their practice—you can also do it.

A plan is necessary to make this happen. It requires sufficient inventory of branded sunwear, knowledge of the brand and its attributes, as well as a commitment to discuss sunwear with every patient who comes into the office.

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Once monthly, by owner and as part of an office meeting, review the numbers. For each category, list the successes, issues and actions required for improvement. (Remember to praise publicly and counsel privately). Focusing on the positives encourages others to perform better and be part of the team’s success. Be sure to also look at the trends for the previous three and six months. Eventually a look at the previous 12 months is good, as well as a direct comparison with the same month a year ago.

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Style consultants will tell you that customization is the key to making things fit properly so why else would clothing manufacturers bother to make their clothing in 15 different sizes? Let's use this same mindset. Each patient has different needs, and you need to present products based on their specific needs. Think of it as being the "optical tailor." The optical tailor works to make products that fit exactly the needs of the patient: no more "one-size-fits-all" dispensing. Here is an example of a conversation you might consider using in order to tailor the eyewear experience to fit your patient.

Asking the right questions and responding properly to the answers give you the opportunity to become the expert rather than just the order-taker. The educated optical professional drives the conversation, asks appropriate questions and responds with recommendations based on the information the patient has given.

Set goals for the dispensing portion and the sales portion separately. For dispensing, that's capture rate, multiple pair ratio, product knowledge and scripting. For sales, include ASP (average sales price), COGS (cost of goods sold) and percent material costs (get copies of lab invoices and frame costs for COGS numbers). This means that an analysis of the practice is required. Go back and measure the last three months. Establish this as a baseline. In an office meeting, determine what reasonable goals are for the next three months. Benchmarks are 60 percent capture rate, 30 percent materials costs and a 20 percent multiple pairs ratio as benchmarks. Determine area(s) of focus and set targets.

— Johnna Dukes, ABOC, FNAO

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