JUNE 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

IN-OFFICE: Marketing and Sales


The influence of the ’60s changed how we look at business. Losing confidence in government, we’ve begun to look to Fortune 500 companies equipped with the most advanced research departments and top tier talent to solve social problems.

Women now buy nearly 80 percent of all consumer products worldwide (including eyeglasses!) and are more influenced than men by brands affiliated with causes they support. Millennials (also called Generation Y, roughly ages 14 to 34) are receptive to cause marketing and more likely than non-Millennials to purchase items associated with a particular cause. It’s the most racially diverse generational group in the U.S. and at 23 percent of the U.S. population, just edges past Baby Boomers in group size. While some depict the group as entitled, selfish, lazy and addicted to technology, they have become a vital force for social good. They are socially and environmentally conscious and expect businesses to be as well.

—Susan Knobler

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By Mindi Lewis, MA, ABOC, FNAO

Have you ever been frustrated at the lack of commitment or enthusiasm in your office?

Engaging staff will increase positive energy, productivity and profits in your practice. This may sound easy, but it requires a plan and consistent effort on your part as a leader in your practice.

Gallup describes the “engaged” employee as “one who is enthusiastic and committed to their work and workplace.” Kevin Kruse, Employee Engagement 2.0: How to Motivate Your Team for High Performance (2012) defines employee engagement as “…the emotional commitment to the organization and its goals.”

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By Preston Fassel

Above all else, when a patient walks (leaves without purchasing), it means quite simply that he or she does not like us. It’s a tough pill to swallow, to be sure, but it carries more than a grain of truth. As a matter of fact, a McKinsey survey indicated that 70 percent of sales were motivated by how well the customer thought they were being treated, with the majority of lost sales being due to customer dissatisfaction with the way he or she was treated.

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By Michael Karlsrud, M.Ed

How effective is your recall system? If your practice is like the majority, the true answer would be “I don’t know.” Even if your recall system is attempting to reach every patient, less than 50 percent of patients respond to recall efforts. Automated recall systems are an important component of an effective strategy, but they are not the whole solution. Your practice reach is directly related to how well you have collected e-mail and cell phone information and how much effort you have made to keep the data up-to-date. The greatest danger to any recall system is one that you “set it and forget it.”

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Photo ©iStock.com/JobsonHealthcare

I OBJECT, Part One

By Michael Karlsrud, M.Ed

“Excuse me? These cost how much?” “But my insurance only covers $125, so I can’t afford those.” “Oh, my... so expensive, I think I will have to wait before I can afford new glasses, can you just use my old frame with new lenses—or vice versa?”

Objections are part of the process, whether we are asking patients to consider new ideas and concepts or lenses and frames. It simply happens. And patients can object at any time or at any moment. Perhaps you know of a patient who recently walked in the door and proclaimed, “You’re not selling me a new pair of glasses, these got me in the door, and they’ll get me out!” Good marketing and sales include rehearsing ways to answer objections; it’s critical to every office.

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Photo ©iStock.com/JobsonHealthcare


By Bethany DeWolfe, ABOC

The benefit of keeping patients is obvious. The average patient is “valued” at about $7,000 over the course of their time at a practice (52 years, new eyewear every two years at $262 average). This is significant. If an office with 4,000 active patients and a 2.5 percent defection (patient loss) rate loses approximately $12,500 annually (taking into account an annual $125 per patient profit), what a difference it would make to maintain even half of those patients! Inevitably, some patients will leave due to insurance changes or other reasons, but your practice can prevent significant losses by reducing remakes. By learning proper optical habits and promoting them in your practice, you can save a great amount of time, money and frustration.

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By Michael Karlsrud, M.Ed

The medical model totally dismisses the other 40 to 60 percent revenue stream that comes into the office: Optical. Optical—that foreign place many doctors never step into yet they own it, derive half their gross revenue from it and leave someone else to oversee it. Rest assured, in any other business or industry there is much more attention paid to such an important revenue-generating machine. Imagine for a moment that 50 percent of your gross income is gone. Is it important? If yes, then invest yourself in it.

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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.

Sufficient inventory means some depth of frame colors in each of the styles and enough styles for the consumer to believe that you are in fact a good source of sunwear. For the brands carried, be able to talk about that brand using the words and descriptions that have attracted the consumer. Talk to the sales rep— get copies of descriptions of the DNA of the brand, its style and fashion targets for the season and use that language with customers. Eighty-five percent of patients want their ECP to inform them about all eyewear and lens options available, regardless of the price. (Luxottica Patient Research Study 2009)

—Michelle Fleischer

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