If your ophthalmology or optometry practice has an optical dispensary, you may be familiar with the following situation:
A patient is enamored with the high def progressives they just tried on (in the Cartier frames, obviously). Then, the optician starts talking price. You know what happens next. The patient politely asks for his or her Rx and leaves, heading to the local discount chain (or worse, online).
The stereotype of the “overpriced” dispensary continues. Are your outdated sales techniques to blame? If you’re looking to sell more glasses, those strategies may need an update to improve your optical profits.
According to optical consultant Carolyn Salvato, former Chief Administrative Officer at Loden iVision Centers, competing in a modern economy requires implementing sales techniques that are a bit different from traditional methods. Top-down eyeglass sales is as old fashioned as Benjamin Franklin’s double spectacles, and typically results in one of two scenarios:
- The patient doesn’t purchase. After being initially shown higher priced products (often with bundled lens options at one add-on price) the patient feels disappointed and decide to buy glasses elsewhere. You’ve lost the opportunity to offer lower cost options.
- The patient purchases, but doesn’t feel great about it. They’ve had to ask (maybe more than once) to see less expensive frames or lenses. They were told that optical prices “depend on what you need,” so they believe they’ve had to sacrifice needed options to reach an affordable price.
3 Simple Steps to Sell More Glasses Now!
Salvato recommends taking a cue from brands like Apple, Longchamp, and even M&Ms.Follow these industry leaders and implement a “build-your-own” eyeglass sales strategy. If you’re wondering how you can sell more glasses (and who isn’t?), follow these steps:
Step 1: Start with a base price.
Narrow the patient’s lens choices according to the prescription. Tell the client the base price of each option without any add-ons.
Step 2: Discuss options.
Patients are often confused by the number of lens materials and coating choices. Assess their lifestyle, daily activities, and any visually challenging situations they routinely face.
Step 3: Recommend and build.
Based on your professional assessment, help the patient choose options that give them the best value by addressing their top visual priorities while staying consistent with their pricing needs.
The “build-your-own” strategy may seem counter-intuitive for selling more glasses. After all, if patients are presented with a basic option that meets their needs, what incentive is there to spend more?
Look no further than your nearest auto dealership. Sure, you can get a brand new BMW for around $34,000, but it won’t include most of the luxuries the brand is known for. Alternatively, you could enjoy a Ford Fusion with nearly all the bells and whistles for about the same price. So what’s the best value? It’s all about priorities, and every patient values something different.
A “base model” lens with budget frames will work just fine for some, but others invariably need and want more.
Patients love the idea of single-source eye care. They value honest recommendations from opticians and professionals that they know, like, and trust. They want to spend their money on quality vision products that will improve their daily lives. Unfortunately, an outsized number of patients still think it is more expensive to buy eyeglasses from their doctor’s office than from other retail outlets or online. The profitability of the “build your own” sales strategy lies in helping patients overcome their misconceptions about private dispensary prices, quality, and service.