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Podcast: INSIGHT with John Marvin featuring Ashley Mills of The Vision Council

Vision Council executive shares her group’s recent successes.

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WELCOME! You’re invited to listen to the debut episode of a new podcast series produced by Texas State Optical: INSIGHT with TSO’s John Marvin feat. Ashley Mills of The Vision Council.

The first episode in the INSIGHT series, and just the first of many to come under the INVISION Podcast Network umbrella, kicks off with an interview of Ashley Mills, the chief executive officer of The Vision Council. In the podcast, John and Ashley discuss the role of the Vision Council and its initiatives, as well as the upcoming Vision Expo East tradeshow and its relevance to the industry.

“One of the biggest things that we do as The Vision Council is consumer awareness,” shares Ashley. “Our communications team is constantly working to promote eyewear products and solutions and technologies. Everything from the latest fashions to the type of lenses that can provide relief from Digital Eye Strain. We’re really successful on the national level.”

Some of their successes include a few recent segments on the TODAY show on Digital Eye Strain and National Sunglasses Day in June, which Ashley states trended #1 on Twitter and was on TV everywhere from ESPN to NBC and even late night television. “It gets bigger every year,” she says.

In terms of Vision Expo, Ashley feels education plays a huge role in the shows, but it is also “without question” the best place to experience what is new in the marketplace. “You simply will not see the diversity of product and new technologies by having sales rep visit after sales rep visit,” and you’ll “leave completely inspired and energized by the scope and energy of the industry in its totality.”

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Other topics discussed include the Think About Your Eyes campaign; The Vision Council’s robust market research division, which regularly polls consumers about their vision correction habits; and the similarities and differences between Vision Expos East and West.

The INSIGHT series hosted by John Marvin will appear monthly and cover all things current about the eyecare industry.

John D. Marvin has more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry. He is the president of Texas State Optical and writes about marketing, management and education at the practiceprinciples.net blog. You can email him at jdmarvin@tso.com.

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INVISION Podcast

Podcast: Make That Money! How to Improve Sales, Dispensary Performance and Patient Communication

Dee talks with multi-hyphenate Mark Hinton about making the most of your optical.

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EPISODE 11: MARK HINTON OF EYEFACILITATE (31:45 MINUTES)

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THIS TIME AROUND on INVISION with Dee Carroll, Dee talks with a 30-year opticianry and management veteran, a retailer, business owner, educator and coach, Mark Hinton. In addition to managing the optical in a private practice he co-owns with his OD partner, Mark runs the training and coaching consultancy eYeFacilitate.



This episode is brought to you by Art Optical.

To start, Mark goes deep into his own optical experience and history (2:00), as well as his philosophy on running an eyecare business. At 3:40, he shows the proof is in the pudding and confirms he practices what he preaches at his own business to highly successful ends. He talks about the #1 challenge independent practioners are facing in their dispensaries at 4:00 and the optician as salesperson challenge. Dee and Mark then riff on the customer perception of the high cost of glasses … when lenses tend to be the pricier item (6:00) and ways to communicate that to the patient, including high definition screen analogies. Which leads them to the importance of the doctor in the dialogue (7:30) and how to get them to prescribe better in the exam room.

Mark is a huge proponent in how words matter and at 9:00 he explains how changes in wording can remove patient objections by changing the idea of selling to them to fulfilling a prescription. Around 11:00, they discuss the importance of the doctor elevating the expertise of the optician to complete the exam process. At 13:00, he goes into the words you should ban from your business, the ones NO team member should utter to a patient, and sadly they are used all too often and stop people from purchasing. Shortly after, he talks about the biggest marketing opportunity most eyecare businesses miss. It’s an idea listeners can immediately take and run with. At 17:00, Mark provide the exact script ECPs should be using to increase their retinal image capture rate to over 90%.

At 21:00, Dee asks Mark what are the top three areas that business owners should focus on to immediately improve their performance. Mark hits on the importance of focus groups for your business, how to pull one off and who to include (23:30). To wrap up, Mark talks about what his columns for INVISION will cover throughout the year … and yes, he will go into more details on some of the ideas shared in the podcast. “These columns are gonna be really to make people think differently. To get people to think beyond the status quo,” he promises. “And getting people a little out of their comfort zone.”

This episode of INVISION with Dee Carroll is brought to you by Art Optical Contact Lens. For over 60 years, Art Optical’s mission has helped ECP’s to take control of their custom contact lens business. Listen to the podcast for a free offer from Art Optical and visit www.artoptical.com or call 1-800-253-9364 for more information.

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INVISION Podcast

Podcast: Is Eyecare in Canada Really More Like the US Than We Think?

Dee talks with 4ECP’s Trudi Charest on marketing and staffing an eyecare business in both countries.

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EPISODE 10: TRUDI CHAREST OF 4ECPS (26:05 MINUTES)

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IN THIS EPISODE of INVISION with Dee Carroll, brought to you by Art Optical Contact Lens, Dee talks with the co-founder of 4ECPs and the EyeInnovate conference, Trudi Charest.

First Trudi gives a little info on her personal background, including her family’s optical heritage, working as an optician in retail, a sales rep for B+L and Optos, and training and producing live events, and how her company 4ECPs was founded with partner Kevin Wilhelm due to a lack of available marketing resources for ECPs. At 6:30 minutes, Dee asks about the idea for the EyeInnovate conference, held in November in San Francisco. “[EyeInnovate] really spring from my background doing events for buying groups,” shares Trudi. “We didn’t do the typical eyecare event that you see out there; we made it more of a business event. We brought in non-industry speakers who could talk about the business aspects and motivational and inspirational speakers. I saw that there was no dedicated marketing growth conference in our industry.”



This episode is brought to you by Art Optical.

She goes on to describe the conception and format of EyeInnovate (9:00). At 11 minutes, they discuss continuing education and the recently changing landscape of accredited courses and the future of CE talks. In short, “people remember fun,” says Trudi (13:53).

At 16:30, Dee sets the stage for the U.S. vs. Canada discussion and Trudi sets the record straight (17:08). She discusses the similarities … mostly challenges ECPs in both countries face … including Canada’s insurance system (18:00) and how Canadians are more willing to spend more on their eyewear (19:00). But across the borders, when asked what their main challenges are, Trudi always hears the same thing… the number one universal challenge facing those managing eyecare businesses is revealed at 19:35. Trudi goes on (20:40) to explain how 4ECPs different divisions helps businesses learn what to do to compete in today’s world, including digital marketing, training and business strategy.

Dee and Trudi discuss the columns from the 4ECP team that INVISION readers can expect in the magazine in 2020 at 22:02. And the bonus content, guidebooks and tools readers will be able to download throughout the year.

This episode of In Vision with Dee Carroll is brought to you by Art Optical Contact Lens. For over 60 years, Art Optical’s mission has helped ECP’s to take control of their custom contact lens business. Listen to the podcast for a free offer from Art Optical and visit www.artoptical.com or call 1-800-253-9364 for more information.

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INVISION Podcast

Podcast: What Exactly Does it Take to Become America’s Finest Optical Retailer?

Dee talks with Eclectic Eye’s Robbie Johnson Weinberg and Dr. Michael Weinberg to get the scoop.

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INVISION PODCAST EPISODE 9: ROBBIE JOHNSON WEINBERG AND DR. MICHAEL WEINBERG OF ECLECTIC EYE (48:36 MINUTES)


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IN THIS EPISODE of the INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll, Dee sits down with the first place winners of INVISION’s 2019 America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest: Robbie Johnson Weinberg and Dr. Michael Weinberg of Eclectic Eye in Memphis, TN.

After establishing how Robbie and Dr. Mike met and how Eclectic came to be, they get into the nitty gritty of the things that makes Eclectic Eye a very special business. Like the fact that they converted to private pay only – that’s right, they take NO insurance – and the benefit that affords them (23:00). They also made the decision to only carry independent brands (27:00) and how other independents can make that decision too. At 34:34 minutes, they talk about the important role a business’s overall environment plays to the success of an independent eyecare business. Shortly after (35:30), they dig deep on working with an outside agency for branding, marketing and social media management and why it’s worth the money. Robbie and Dr. Mike also provide advice for others interested in finding their own agency to work with. And while they are doling out the advice, at 42:00 they provide their advice for couples – or anyone – looking to start their own independent eyecare business. Lastly, they talk about their few regrets (45:30) and how they had tackled them sooner. Be sure to stay to the end because they are issues some of you may currently be facing.

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