[This is Part One of a Two Part Series]
Even in a challenging environment, there are proven steps that practices can take to increase frame sales.
1. Use a technician to fill out the patient’s lifestyle history form.
Rather than ask the patient to fill out a lifestyle history form, have a technician take the history through an interview with patient. The interview spares the patient the inconvenience of filling out another form. More importantly, this process allows the patient to talk about his favorite subjects – himself. The doctor will use this vital information at chair side to prescribe frames that will enhance the safety, comfort, functioning and performance of the patient’s glasses.
2. Harness the power of the doctor.
This is by far the most neglected step in the process of selling frames. If you do not use the “power of the doctor” in conjunction with the supplied patient lifestyle history, your glasses sales will not grow. The doctor is the expert, and patients expect their doctors to be precise in their prescribing of products and/or services. The practices with the highest profits and best cash flows are those that use the power of the doctor.
3. Don’t “up sell” –rather, demonstrate savings
After greeting the patient in the optical dispensary, the next step most opticians take is to discuss the price of the patient’s managed care vision plan allowance for spectacles. This is the wrong approach, as most of us would agree that the majority of patients do not understand their vision plan and feel their coverage should pay for everything.
So, when the optician identifies the amount of the spectacle benefit under the vision care plan – example, $100-then that is the amount the patient plans to pay. Ask for anything more and the patient’s defenses go up.
A much better psychological approach is to quote the entire retail cost of each frame and lens combination and then inform the patient that their obligation is only $X-that is, the retail cost minus the amount covered by the vision plan. For example:
“Mrs. Smith, the total cost of your frame, lenses and lens enhancements amounts to $600. But with your vision plan coverage, your total obligation today is only $240.
4. Create a new, high middle-of-the-road.
Most optometrists offer frames that range in price from $100 to $500. Market research indicates that a consumer will generally choose a mid-range fee-in this case $250-when presented with a product line.
However, expand your frame inventory with some exclusive frames that range in price up to $900, then the midi-range fee becomes $500. Just by expanding the high-end line, you increase the average frame sale.