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Editor's Note

These 4 Fixes Will Convert Your Exams into Optical Sales

Here’s how to elevate your buying experience.

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A GOOD FRIEND, Kyle, shared his last optometric experience with me at a party. He said his doctor and staff “were so amazing,” they had all sorts of high-tech equipment, but the optical left him wanting. He felt as if the offering “was outdated and frankly a bit crusty.” He and his son went on to spend $2,800 on eyewear at a competitor’s. I know the practice and it does have the brands Kyle was looking for and a top-notch staff. So why the disconnect and why did Kyle feel he had to go elsewhere? 

Perception is reality. 

It was because he felt he would be served better, based on a series of judgments he made. Where did the practice go wrong? Here are a few key areas they should be aware of:

1 Brand identification and signage. It’s critical that anyone looking into an optical can tell the brands a practice offers within three seconds – the average American’s attention span today. Additionally, there’s a lack of wayfinding and informational signage. 

The quick fix: Create consistent signage throughout the optical, reception and waiting spaces that identifies where the Men’s, Women’s, Kids and Sun sections are, as well as your exam process and why the practice is different.

2 Lighting.  Most lighting in practices not only detracts from the products being shown but also makes patients look older and less attractive than they really are.  

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The quick fix: Replace all lighting with LEDs. A professional lighting plan will cost you, but is well worth it because lighting has the power not only to engage, but attract.

3 Displays.  The frame board is an antiquated concept. Modern eyewear has no place being displayed in boring rows like little soldiers. Frames today have a lot of detail that needs highlighting, so patients know what they are looking at.    

The quick fix: Use elegant, clean wood or glass shelving and modern stands to show off the frames being displayed. Free floating shelves no deeper than 10” with built-in LED lighting will serve to both display and illuminate eyewear.

4 Digital Engagement. Given the lack of digital content, Kyle and his son were likely on their phones while waiting, so probably didn’t pay attention to the TV playing eye health messaging.

The quick fix: Implement useful technologies — tablets and interactive screens — that educate and convert shoppers into buyers, while creating a calm, cool atmosphere.

It’s a hassle to go somewhere else, yet 50 percent of private patients do. Elevate the buying experience with these tactics and you’ll convert many of those who may have gone elsewhere.

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Bill Gerber is founder and CEO of OMG! Optical Marketing Group (omghome.net) and Contentlinq (contentlinq.com), a new system that enables a full digital experience in a practice. Email him at billg@omghome.net.

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Editor's Note

Some Things Are Just Meant to Be

Even when they didn’t work out as planned.

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I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU all got started in the optical industry but I sort of fell into it. Looking back though, I wonder if it was supposed to happen.

I was always a creative kid but I grew up thinking adults got jobs like teacher, lawyer or businessman (not that I knew what businessmen did). So, I decided to be a doctor at 11. I excelled at science and became a candy striper at my local hospital in high school. I vetted the colleges I applied to for their biology and pre-med programs and went to the one with the best reputation that gave me the most money…. And then my first semester, I failed calculus.

It wasn’t just because I hated math; but also, because it was at 8 a.m. twice a week. That first semester I was a little too “Woo Hoo College!” to drag myself to something as boring as calculus that early with enough regularity to have a passing chance. After that semester, I figured if you needed calculus to be a doctor, maybe I shouldn’t be a doctor.

I switched majors, hustled, and managed to graduate in four years despite that extremely lackluster semester. But as graduation approached, I was adrift. I didn’t want to be a businessperson or go to grad school — the only real options, I thought, for a girl with an average GPA and a B.A. from a liberal arts college. After a little research, I decided to move to NYC, go to fashion school, and get another degree in retail buying. I loved to shop and getting a job shopping for stores and not just myself sounded like heaven.

It turns out retail buyer is just a sexy name for businessperson. Most never leave their office and use spreadsheets to analyze what sold well last season just to buy it again in different colors. Yawn.

But fashion school did introduce me to a job I had never considered … fashion editor. I started working in magazines before I even graduated and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, I get to blend my interest in medicine, my passion for fashion, and my love of magazines to help you guys be better businesspeople. See? Meant to be.

Beginnings are funny like that. Unlike the ECP businesses we highlight in our Big Story on page 40, the start of my career wasn’t as deliberate as intended, but for all of us it happened exactly the way it needed to. And looking back, could it really have been any other way?

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Think graphic designers are overrated? Are you more DIY? Then these three apps are right up your alley. (Monthly Project, page 22)
2. Do we have a book for you. Imagine Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time … but for eyes. (EyeProGear, page 36)
3. Are fancy certifications or expensive equipment needed to bring in more kids? Well, that depends. (Special Feature, page 52)
4. Proceed like exceptions are the rule and never be surprised again. (Intelligence Cover, page 55)
5. Looking for ways to boost your memory, comprehension or retention? Grab a tennis ball. (Tip Sheet, page 57)

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Editor's Note

Such is Life, It Slows Down for No One

Luckily we provide a few hacks to make managing your business a little easier. We can all use all the help we can get.

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DOES ANYONE ELSE feel like they were woefully unprepared for this year? We’re three months in and I still don’t feel like I’ve caught up.

The new year comes around the same time every year … We know it’s on its way … It never just jumps out of nowhere to surprise us and yet, everyone seems to be scrambling to get where they should be by this time of year.

It makes me wonder if we’ve become so accustomed to instant gratification — Amazon Prime Now, news as it happens, binging an entire season of a show in one sitting, gel manicures — that planning for things in the not-so-distant future has taken a hit.

If you’re looking for some shortcuts to get back up to speed and even ahead of the game, check out our VEE Buying Guide starting on page 40. We’ve cut through all the noise for the most exciting products you should be seeking out. Our usual product features, starting on page 19, are pretty spectacular too. All in all, there are nearly 100 products in this issue for you to digest. No need to frantically lap the show floor trying to ferret it all out. We’ve taken the work out of it for you.

It’s a good thing too, because there is nothing like business travel to throw a wrench in your routine. I’ve done a lot of travel in the first couple months of the year and while I love all the time I’ve gotten to spend with many of you on the road, it has definitely been a blow to my self care. Dr. Danielle Richardson to the rescue with her most recent column (page 74), with tips to tend to your wellness while traveling to Expo, or anywhere really.

As much as we all sometimes would like life to just slow down a little so we can catch our breath, that isn’t an option. Hopefully, this issue of INVISION (and every issue for that matter) provides you a few hacks to make managing your business a little easier. Lord knows, we can all use all the help we can get.

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Demonstrating lens options can be difficult; luckily there are a slew of new apps to help. (Better Vision, page 34)
2. You and your staff should be in pictures. We’ve got some tips on how to make that happen. (Monthly Project, page 20)
3. Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold and you could be cashing in. (Special Feature, page 56)
4. The inexpensive way to build product excitement right as customers walk in the door. (Tip Sheet, page 66)
5. Amazon Eyewear? Could happen… Prepare youself. (Columns, page 72)

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Editor's Note

My Name is Dee Carroll … and I Am a Pinner

But in 2019 I am ditching resolutions for goals and making my dream board my reality.

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I’M ONE of those Pinterest people. You know the ones … We pin food we want to make, crafts we want to try, decor we wish we had, and worst of all, inspirational quotes. I would make fun of people like me, if I wasn’t one.

But there’s something to be said for having stuff to aspire to. I’ve started looking at the things I pin with less envy and more of a burning desire to accomplish more. To make my virtual dream board my reality.

This time of year the word “resolutions” gets kicked around a lot to discuss the things we’d like to achieve in the new year. But the running joke of course is that we never stick to our resolutions. So, I’m kicking the concept of resolutions out and making goals instead. After all, a resolution is just a synonym for something you’d like to do but probably won’t. A goal has a much more positive connotation and I am nothing if not a connoisseur of semantics.

To accomplish my goals, and move my real life closer to my Pinterest life, I’m relying on that not-so-old adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” That’s why I love this issue’s Big Story on Contrarian Rules of Business. Sometimes you have to break out of your rut and throw conventional wisdom out. Sometimes you just have to be contrary.

That is certainly what the 10 practices profiled in the Special Feature did. When traditional managed care plans weren’t working for them or all their patients, they came up with alternatives. No two are the same, but they have one thing in common: they have captured patients the business may have lost and turned them into repeat customers. A lofty goal many of you aspire to, no doubt.

Just like my secret wedding Pinterest board, I am not going to share my 2019 goals with you, but I do hope you adjust your thinking on what you want to accomplish in the new year. Ditch the resolutions and set some goals. Make them quantifiable, set deadlines, and hold yourself accountable. I’ll check back in with you in December to see how we all did. Until then …

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Presbyopes could be the greatest opportunity for growth in daily disposables. (Better Vision, page 24)
2. Are you asking your reps for year-end sales figures to benchmark your own turns against other retailers? You should be. (Manager’s To-Do, page 20)
3. Don’t promise excellent customer service, be an underachiever, and think small. Sometimes doing what seems counterintuitive is the best thing for your business. (The Big Story, page 28)
4. Talk till you’re blue in the face … then keep going. (Tip Sheet, page 45)
5. Beer goggles can be great for business. (Columns, page 47)

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