ColumnsRobert Bell: Give Me One Reason Published 4 years agoon January 25, 2016By Robert Bell Share Tweet Recently, I was driving the coast of California when the Tracy Chapman song, Give Me One Reason, came on the radio. Love that song! Of course it’s about a personal relationship between two people and yet, as I listened, it became apparent that she could’ve been singing about being a customer of yours. “Give me one reason to stay here, and I’ll turn right back around.”Because I love questions, let me start with this one: Who has the best optometric practice and/or optical shop within a 20-mile radius of you? (Keep in mind that online retailers are within that 20-mile radius of everyone!) Be objective, folks. This is no time for pride and ego to get in the way. Here are some follow up questions. If yours is really the best option for vision care, can you give not just one but 10 good reasons — sorry, Tracy — why that’s so? If you can, are they written down somewhere? Would your staff give the same reasons you do? How are you sharing these reasons with your customers? Remember, the best way to communicate your strengths is to formulate questions leading your customers to those reasons. Advertisement “I don’t want to leave you lonely, you got to make me change my mind.” If you are not the best within that 20 mile radius, what are 10 reasons why? Write them down. What are your competitors doing better than you? Write that down. When was the last time you blind-shopped your competitors? (Please do not say, “never.”) When was the last time you visited your competitors’ websites? Be objective. Ask yourself, where would you rather shop? And why? What changes do you need to make to have people want to do business with you? Let me take you aside for a moment and talk about the blind shop. It’s a necessity. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, then hire a professional consultant, like myself, to do it for you. Or you may ask a friend or loved one to do it, but make certain you have them well scripted in what to ask and what to look for, then practice the script with you several times. The information you’ll get won’t be as detailed as that from a professional optometric/optical consultant, but it should be better than not doing a blind shop at all. Advertisement If you’re still doubtful, let’s use a sports analogy. Pick a sport, any sport. Do you think, for a minute, that your team or your athlete doesn’t do their due diligence in finding out everything they need to know in order for them to win? What do we do well? What do the other guys do well? What are my weaknesses and what are theirs? How do I use this information to compete? To win? Without this kind of information, consider some other lyrics from the song: “But I’m too old to go chasing you around, wasting my precious energy …” Your customers have a myriad of choices and reasons to buy from someone else, even if they loved you before. They’re not coming back and they’re not gonna chase you around unless you can give them strong and unique reasons why they should “turn right back around.” Advertisement Robert Bell has trained optical salespeople throughout North America for over 30 years and created The EyeCoach Selling System specifically for ECPs. In addition, he oversees the charitable Vision Program at Project Homeless Connect. Email Bell at email@example.com with questions about his columns.This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of INVISION. Related Topics:Robert Bellsales training click to Comment(Comment)Up NextRobert Bell: How To Be a Professional DummyDon't MissMichael Block: Meet the Challenge Advertisement SPONSORED VIDEOSPONSORED BY KENMARKJump In — the Water’s Fine!With a salute to summer’s shimmery, mermaid colors and warm weather-loving shades, Kenmark Eyewear celebrates this summer’s Aloha spirit with eyewear from Vera Wang, Kensie, Zac Posen and the Original Penguin Collection!You may like After 6 Years and More Than 50 Columns, Robert Bell Has One Last Thing to Say Peak Performance Selling Techniques In Sales There Are Not Two Sides to Every Story. There Is Only One — the Customer’s SidePromoted Headlines Fashion, Innovation & Technology — A Winning CombinationSerengeti Eyewear When You’re Passionate About Eye Care, the Right Technology MattersReichert Technologies See What Happens When Patients Try Varilux® Lenses for the First TimeESSILOREditor's NoteSize Matters… The Bigger the Better And addressing some other sensitive subjects you might encounter in the workplace. Published 2 mins agoon November 21, 2019By Deirdre Carroll AND THE BIGGER the better as far as I’m concerned. I have no problem admitting I am a size queen. I love a BIIIIIG … survey. The more data the happier I am. So, I got a lot of pleasure out of seeing the results of our first Big Survey and wow did it provide some insight. There is a lot to unpack there and you can see everything we found starting on page 34. This is the first of many to come and I’m excited to see how this survey evolves from year to year.The answers were of course anonymous but there is one more thing I need to say: breastfeeding or having a pregnant employee’s water break at work are not weird things employees have done. Those are natural and unavoidable. If you answered something in this vein to the question “What is the weirdest thing an employee has done at work?” perhaps you need some sensitivity training and to take a very close look at yourself. Ok, rant over.You know what amused me in this issue? The number of people cutting their nails at work — for the record, that is weird and gross (page 70) — and that so many of you consider your best and worst habit one in the same!Also, rarely does a Real Deal generate the sort of response this issue’s did – The Case of the Concealed Concern on page 72. I know the gun debate is a hot topic and in a magazine with as broad an audience as INVISION’s there is no way we are all going to come down on the same side of an issue, but except for one slightly over the top (and poorly written) response, all the points of view we received were measured, well-executed and logical. This one really got you thinking, so if you haven’t read it or addressed this issue in your business, I encourage you to review it and discuss.Best wishes for your business,Dee CarrollEDITOR-IN-CHIEFdee@invisionmag.comFive Smart Tips From This Issue1. Start a movement. Resurrect a one-off holiday celebrating opticians. (Calendar, page 20) 2. According to our Pop Quiz, 58% of you are anti-flu shot (page 71). So, be flu ready with an in-office flu kit. (Tip Sheet, page 58) 3. Want to know how to get to the root of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in the interview? We’ve got some ideas. (Ask INVISION, page 62) 4. Everyone loves a party… that’s how you “get to show them up” to your in-store events. (Line Time, page 66) 5. The perfect way to harness the power of the modern consumer’s self-absorption to benefit your business. (Benchmarks, page 68) Continue ReadingDanielle RichardsonA Case for Yoga Let go of any preconceived notions… yoga is for everyone. Published 1 day agoon November 20, 2019By Danielle Richardson, OD I KNOW, I KNOW — yoga is not for you… but let me stop you right there. Yoga is truly for everyone! Yoga is finding its place in the mainstream as 1 in 7 American adults reported practicing yoga according to a 2017 survey.However, as the number or practitioners continues to rise, so too does the number of people who feel alienated by yoga. Social media has warped the perception of this ancient practice into something that more closely resembles gymnastics or acrobatics. This shift distances many would be practitioners because of feelings of not being “flexible” or “fit” enough. I’m here to tell you that’s BS! This article is to make the case for yoga and its inclusion in your wellness routine. INVISION PodcastPodcast: What Exactly Does it Take to Become America’s Finest Optical Retailer? INVISION PodcastPodcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries INVISION PodcastPodcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients? The true origin of yoga can be disputed, but the most popular types of yoga in the West are derived from a 5000-year old Indian philosophy system and body of knowledge. Yoga takes a holistic view of the human experience and consists of practices to unite the mind, body, and soul. Yoga extends beyond physical movement to combine meditation, self-discipline, and breathing practices to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Below are a few things to remember about yoga:Yoga is for everyone. Contrary to popular belief, yoga does not require fancy tights or expensive studio memberships. Additionally, you don’t have to overhaul your life or become a Himalayan monk to practice. The only requirements for yoga are your body and your breath. Yoga is most often practiced on hard wood with a mat or blanket, but carpet is suitable as well. Yoga can also be made accessible to those with disabilities using chairs and props for modifications. There truly is something for everyone.Beginners are always welcome. There are plenty of resources available for new yogis. You can go the in-person route and sign up for a new student special at a local studio. Local yoga studios often have classes designed for beginners where you can receive in-person guidance and personalized tips to make the practice more comfortable. Additionally, you can use online beginner yoga videos on YouTube via my channel “FierceClarity” or another excellent source like “YogaWithAdrienne.” My recommendation is to begin once per week and gradually increase frequency. There is no right or wrong amount of yoga to do, but the longer you stick with the practice the more benefits you will see.Yoga has real benefits. According to The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an NIH affiliate, research shows yoga may help relieve stress and chronic pain, manage chronic disease symptoms, and even aid in smoking cessation. Other studies have found yoga to successfully decrease inflammation, improve heart health, and improve some symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Additionally, yoga aids in weight loss and can help maintain a healthy weight when practiced regularly.I started practicing yoga at the end of optometry school when I was burned out and sick from an unhealthy lifestyle. This simple practice has changed my life for the better. I became so passionate about it that I now teach yoga to others. I hope you will let go of any preconceived notions and give yoga a try. It is a rich tradition with several different styles and teachers. Be like Goldilocks and experiment a bit until you find the yoga that is just right for you. Continue ReadingColumnsDon’t Do Do-It-Yourself Optometry … Do This Instead Even the most successful DIYers know when to call in a pro — and doing so can free up their time for bigger and better things. Published 1 week agoon November 11, 2019By Mary Walker I CONSIDER MYSELF A competent Do it Yourselfer, and during a recent house remodel I was determined to handle as many tasks myself as possible. My father is a retired master carpenter, and I spent countless childhood hours watching him craft pristine custom cabinetry.Clearly, I had no reason to doubt my ability to handle some basic trim work. This was going to be easy, right? Wrong!Similarly, while a wealth of DIY-style info is available, DIY optometry practice management is no piece of cake. The goal of running an efficient, profitable practice is not as easy as it sounds.Perhaps the most important sign of a competent DIYer is knowing when to hire a professional. Honestly, I knew I couldn’t manage my own plumbing or wiring.Hiring specialists to manage certain aspects of your practice can outweigh the self-satisfaction of DIYing. More often than not, the main benefit is prioritization. Here’s why:Ten years ago, the optical dispensary comprised at least 70 percent of the overall practice revenue, while exams and services made up the remaining 30 percent. Today, with the increase in medical-model eyecare, exams and services can match or exceed dispensary revenue.Most ODs once dedicated significant time to dispensary operation, but more time is now spent learning new equipment, interpreting test results and filling schedules with more non-optical patients. Managing inventory and lens purchasing now takes a backseat to offering other specialty medical services. Such profitable specialties are where you should be focusing your energy, rather than overseeing day-to-day dispensary management. To compound the problem, optical dispensing is becoming increasingly complicated. Patients have vision plans with specific criteria, lab networks and products, mandating that optometrists be masters in maximizing profitability and understanding plan contracts.Delegating allows you to focus attention on next-level eyecare and promotes overall practice development. Let’s discuss a few aspects of optometry dispensary operation that benefit from less DIY and more professional management.Staff training. Optical dispensary management services provide staff with professional education sessions. Performance standards are established and regular meetings held to discuss products and technologies. Incentives programs entice staff to meet sales goals.Revenue cycle management. The capture, management, and collection of patient and insurance revenue as well as cash flow, audit risk and ultimately profit can be outsourced to professional firms.Marketing materials and initiatives. Demographic-specific marketing programs tailored to a practice’s patients can boost sales. Collateral may include educational patient information or professional courtesy programs.Third-party billing. Staff are trained to maximize plan benefits, and ODM services process all optical claims on the practice’s behalf.Dispensary inventory management. DMs purchase existing inventory while transitioning to new inventory targeted to a practice’s specific patient demographics. This includes an analysis of the practice’s market showcasing competitive price structures and consumer preferences.Enlisting professional help isn’t an admission of lack of skill, it’s the practical awareness that not everything can be accomplished on your own. So, while you may choose to keep your home remodeling efforts DIY, let experts take your optical practice to the next level. A little help never hurt anybody. 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