JAN 2016

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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

Marketing and Sales

It’s January, often a slower month in the office and the start of a new fiscal year. With the crush of the holidays, maybe you haven’t yet thought about your plan for 2016—how to merchandise and sell more, fix your website, get the training or people needed, decide new budgeting requirements, or just to tell the cold weather to go away…! Here are some ideas that might help.


  1. Clearly and properly position your brand by clearly showing and discussing titanium eyewear. Remember, frame materials with strong identities and brands occupy a clear, distinct place in patients’ minds. This will improve your own brand identity and that of your office.
  2. Deliver the frame benefits that your patients truly want: Quality titanium frames deliver a variety of durable and hypoallergenic promises that patients appreciate.
  3. Ensure that everyone in your organization delivers on the promise of the materials and brands carried: This means that everyone in the office should understand why titanium is used to make better eyewear, deliver the optimal patient experience for frame strength, durability and value, even at a higher cost.

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As today’s eyewear fashion pendulum begins its move back to iconic shapes and smaller eye sizes, perhaps it’s the perfect time to present glass as an attractive lens choice. It’s the perfect opportunity to differentiate your practice by specializing in glass lenses. With new thinner, high-impact materials, free-form processing and the application of the latest coatings technology, glass lenses are now offering choices on par with the technology of resin alternatives, but with the renowned optics of glass.

Eyewear consumers will willingly continue to pay for premium eyewear as long as they can see true product value being offered. So it makes sense for practices that pride themselves on quality to see glass not as a material in sunset, but as a true luxury material, one with a long and prestigious history. Glass: the finest optic available for your eyes.

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Above all else, when a patient walks, 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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Today, free-form manufacturing enables real-time lens design and optimization of single vision and progressive lenses. Because FF processing enables the use of a variety of molded, semi-finished lens blanks, a tremendous expansion in the number of material, design and treatment options are now available for almost any lens design. Although FF lenses may be ordered in the traditional way using PDs, heights and simple frame dimensions, the specific Position of Wear values allow the lab’s lens calculation software to automatically optimize the progressive corridor and entire lens surface.

Faced with the daily task of integrating POW in every pair of progressive glasses can appear daunting, and it is easy to see why many continue to rely upon what’s worked “good enough” in the past. Avoiding the use of customized progressives not only amounts to leaving “money on the table,” it is, more importantly, no longer what today’s savvy, online-informed consumer expects when they pay the higher prices asked by their local optical store.

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The Eyewear Tune-Up is a quick, efficient way to differentiate your dispensary or practice from others the next time a patient comes in for an adjustment, or even just as an added extra during a yearly exam. It’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate your abilities, remind the patient that you’re more than just a salesperson and give them something to think about the next time they need eyewear and are lured by the perceived value of online optical.

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First, include a complete lens care kit with every complete eyewear purchase. A full kit should include a 1-ounce bottle of premium surfactant lens cleaner, a microfiber cloth and three lens towelettes. The same is available for anti-fog, and your choice should be based on the way that this client describes their day and activities. Maybe both are appropriate. The bottles should be printed with your store’s name, address and phone. Label it with a price to associate value.

Next, discuss how the use of a proper lens cleaner and cloth work with all lenses, not against them. Show each and every customer how to clean his or her lenses or apply the anti-fog treatment. Just because they might have spent for the best lenses doesn’t mean that they won’t want to care for them properly.

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Begin by taking some time to plan out a monthly editorial calendar. While 12 months provides the bigger picture, beginning with a three- to six-month plan gets you started. Perhaps select a monthly theme to gear the majority of your content toward. Begin by brainstorming. Sit down with several employees for 30 minutes and list ideas you know you can talk about, such as upcoming events, a new frame line, or the latest in digital progressive lenses. Once you have a list established, group them by similarity. Whether you have additional time at this meeting or the next, assign a theme to each of the first few months and brainstorm again, this time by that topic. In the end, you should have enough ideas to develop on your own or source the content for the month.

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Celebrate the frame brands you carry, don’t just list them. That gives the “why” you are choosing to carry them. Most clients don’t know the differences in quality and brand names. They recognize brands, but don’t always make the connection to eyewear. Explain a few bullet points on why you carry the lines and what makes them special. They’re not there randomly, right?

Many websites use logo banners to list the frames. When you click the logo, it often goes to another website. Sometimes, it goes to the eyewear website. Oftentimes it goes to an online retailer! Or several advertisements will pop up telling the client to buy cheaper glasses online: #backfire. Make sure you know where it’s linking. Consider taking your own photos with your own optical displays featuring your frame lines. Under the photo, use a couple of bullet points highlighting why they’re compelling frame lines. Create a feeling that they will miss out if they don’t come to you.

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If your contact lens patient has never worn sunglasses before, a crash course may be needed in the lens options available to him or her. At its most basic, this comes down to a choice between polarized or tinted lenses. Many individuals will develop their own preferences. Evidence has been presented over the years that contact lenses can actually enhance glare for wearers, perhaps most recently in Richard C.K. Jordan and Michael A.O. Lewis’ translation of the 2011 book Contact Lens Complications by Roth. For those patients who experience this effect, polarized lenses may be your patients’ best choice in sunwear. Also, remember that many patients opt for contact lenses because they allow freedom for particular sporting activities—activities that might be enhanced by a pair of properly secured, appropriately-styled sunglasses.

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