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Mark Hinton

Do You Have a Sales Vision for 2020?

Perhaps it’s time to accept that you, without even realizing it, build the walls and barriers that keep patients from purchasing more.

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BY NOW YOUR Doctor/Optician “sales” goals have been discussed, benchmarked and are solidly in place, right?

You have your plan to drive the sales of the primary pair of eyewear, task or computer glasses prescribed for? And of course, we don’t want the patient to contract sun damage, or further sun damage on the surface or inside the eyes, right?

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You already know you want patients to replace clear lenses with photochromic lenses because clear lenses filter and eliminate none of the shorter wavelength “Blue Light” beyond 400nm whenever your patient forgets their sunglasses outdoors, right?

Strategies are a necessity to achieve your “sales” goals. I hate the word “sales” and so do eye doctors; let’s just stop selling and start helping patients buy outcomes. Sell rhymes with hell.

You can’t persuade consumers to buy optical if they don’t understand the personal value of what they’re getting. People buy emotionally; recall that last thing you saw you wanted, that only a few minutes earlier you didn’t even know existed, and your emotional mind told you exactly why you needed it.

In our world we make buying glasses a scrubbed-down, ugly experience, when it should be more like the beauty counter. We use words like “coverage,” “overage,” “add-on,” “allowance,” “eligible,” and, of course, “outta pocket!” Those words focus on money and scare your patients.

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“Premium lenses!” simply says they’re going to cost a lot. “Polycarb” and “1.76” scare consumers. Use more consumer-centric words. Ask yourself, what does their vision benefits provider insure them for? Nothing! It’s a great club where they spend little (average $100 yearly) to get “big” savings. Their medical health insurance provider ensures their eye health when treatment beyond the “routine” vision plan is necessary.

At a handbag counter you’d never hear: “Unfortunately that one’s not covered by your insurance.” Change your words and change your world!

Let’s talk “frame eligibility.” Say your patient has a “managed vision savings plan” and is “entitled’ to a new frame every 24 months. They come for their yearly eye health exam at 15 months after their previous exam and eyewear purchase, and you say, “Sally, unfortunately, you aren’t eligible for a frame until next June!” What’s the outcome? Yes, perhaps they do get a dollar amount toward a frame every 24 months, but often their vision savings plan provides them a percentage savings any day of the week they’d like to add another set of glasses, and you have the power to provide or increase their savings, as you wish.

Patient: “How much do I get towards my frame from my insurance?”

You: “Sally, you have extraordinary savings for any and all sets of glasses you want. When we find your favorites, I’ll maximize your vision plan and show you your savings. Let’s have fun!” At dispense, invite her to “pop in and browse” the new collections that arrive monthly. You are a doctor’s office and patients don’t know they can just drop in and browse until you give them permission.

Why does the average person have a closet full of clothes, but one set of glasses? Take a close look at the words and phrases you say to patients. When was the last time you recorded yourself, listened back, and realized you, without even realizing it, build the walls and barriers that keep patients from purchasing more?

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Mark Hinton is a practice owner, as well as CEO and president of eYeFacilitate, a private practice consultancy. A sought-after ABO/COPE approved practice management expert, with eYeFacilitate he helps practices drive optical efficiencies, maximize managed care revenue and profit, improve capture, and increase revenue through simple systems with a focused process. Email him at [email protected]

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