When I was in Optical sales, I was always told to try to push different kinds of lens options, coating packages, and such so we can get better sales numbers. Yeah, the commission was good, but I did not trying to push something on someone that they totally did not need. I know myself and I do not want to be “sold” something I am wasting my money on.
We always like to learn new things to be better at our job. Those that do poorly are probably not meant to sell. Take a look at the following Optical Sales myths and maybe there could be someway we could do things a little differently.
New technology lenses and frames decrease the need for multiple sales.
Eyeglasses with high-index materials, AR coatings, photochromic and progressive lenses would probably be considered “fully-loaded” by most practitioners and patients. Yet even these premium lenses have limitations. Heavy computer users and most athletes wouldn’t do well with these options. Those who do a lot of continuous distance or close work might do better with single vision lenses. So, while the technology available in both frames and lenses has increased exponentially in the last few years, we still don’t have a “one pair does it all” eyeglass modality. There are still some comprises with most eyeglasses. Certainly one reason we don’t do more multiple dispensing is because we have become mesmerized by, and complacent about, new technology.
Patients only want what the plan covers.
There’s no question third-party payers have taken their toll on our optical sales. However, many doctors have let this become a psychological barrier and excuse in building their businesses. A managed care patient who says, “I only want what the plan covers,” is the equivalent of a cash patient saying, “I have a fixed amount of money to spend on eye wear and I want to maximize every dollar.” Viewed this way, a managed care patients “allowance” can be positioned as a savings for the patient that now allows him or her to purchase additional eye wear. “Mrs. Jones, I have great news for you. Dr. Bill has written you two prescriptions and your insurance covers one of them. That means you’re only responsible for the second pair.”
Contrast this with the emotion many doctors experience when they discover a patient has insurance and is not a cash patient. Before he or she even greets the patient in the exam room the doctor has decided that the patient only wants what the plan covers! This profit-draining, self-fulfilling prophecy rears its head again when the doctor transfers the patient to his optical staff. “Mary, Mr. Specs needs a pair of glasses and he has XYZ insurance.”
My patients can’t afford more than one pair of glasses.
That might be right. Or it might be wrong. But multiple dispensing isn’t about forecasting expenses for your patient. It’s about doing what’s best for your patients regardless of their perceived financial status. You are your patients’ eye doctor – not their financial advisor. And, as the eye doctor you should be recommending whatever eye wear is best for your patients visual needs and lifestyle.
I believe in multiple dispensing, but my staff doesn’t.
Doc, I have news for you. If your staff doesn’t “get it,” it’s your fault. Unquestionably, your staff obtains their sales and dispensing philosophies from you. Your personality and view of multiple dispensing percolates down to your staff through your continuous behavior, no matter how subtle. Pinning poor sales on staff is an excuse that needs to be addressed by you.
Source: Optometric Management, Nov 2005 by Gerber, Gary
Thanks to Dr Gerber for sharing these Myths. They are awesome.
DR. GERBER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE POWER PRACTICE, A COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN MAKING OPTOMETRISTS MORE PROFITABLE. LEARN MORE AT WWW.POWERPRACTICE.COM OR CALL DR. GERBER AT (800) 867-9303.