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Optical Dispensary Management – Patient Education is Sales!

Optical dispensary management is all about deploying proven tactics that expand sales.  Patient education is one of those proven tactics and it is a requirement today in our business.  With the degree of complexity of the lens choices on the market and the number of treatments available to the consumer as add on options, you simply have to bring your patient’s understanding of what they are purchasing to a level where they both understand and APPRECIATE what you have provided them.  Education is the key to a satisfied patient and a successful sale.

Recently MEC’s Optician Development Manager, Johanna Hathaway, came across an article that perfectly conveys how best to take this approach as a salesperson while maintaining all the values that are important to being a optician. Check out Jody Schuler’s revelation here.

“Recently I was asked a very important question while taking care of a long
time client of mine. The question proposed to me was, how do I always get
them to spend so much more than they intended to? This question made me
think for a bit. How do you sell without being a salesperson? The reason I
felt this was a good question is I honestly don’t ever feel like I ever sell
anyone anything.

How does that work? How do we sell without being a sales person? First, of
course we do sell eyewear that is what we are in business to do. People pay
us to give them a product so yes we do sell eyewear. As opticians we do so
much more: I like to view what I do as educating my clients. Remember what a
client is: someone who seeks the advice of a professional. We are
professionals. We spent time training, upwards of at least two years in
college or an apprentice program to take tests required to become licensed
or certified Opticians. We then are required in most states to continue our
education. What we do with this knowledge is what separates us from sales
people and professionals giving our clients advice to make an informed
decision and in turn make a purchase.

Take for example the client I opened this post with. She came to me as a
repeat client because she feels comfortable with me and my recommendations
and the quality of products I have fit her with up to this point. She has a
flair for dramatic looks, she is a bold woman, an art teacher with a sense
of fashion who enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors.

I knew all of this about her because I have taken the time to get to know
her personality during the latest transaction. I knew her needs, (sunwear)
and what she was looking for. Knowing about her love for the outdoors I took
the opportunity to educate. I shared some of the exciting new fashions as
well as lens technology that she would benefit from as she loves to be on
the slopes of the ski areas as well as the lakes.

All I really did was plant a seed on a short visit and when she came back in
to make a purchase I reminded her of our conversation. Showing her new
fashions, which she loved. I then demonstrated the value of quality
sunglasses. So did I sell her eyewear? I say no. I informed her of a need
that having protective sunwear with a better lens for her outdoor lifestyle
also filled her desire for high fashion. She then made an informed decision
to purchase a pair of updated sunwear as well as her other pair of high
fashion dress wear.

I honestly feel that if we look at selling eyewear as a process of educating
our clients to help them make the best informed decision they will not feel
as though you sold them eyewear. You will have filled a need and at times
one they did not even know they had. Such as the latest lens technology for
workspace lenses, or speciality design PAL’s to help with visual comfort or
a custom clip to fill a need. These products require us to educate ourselves
so we can in turn educate our clients about them so they can make an
informed decision. The results of this little extra effort on our part will
far out weigh any effort we put forth. We will be educating our client to
make an informed decision about their eyewear needs not just taking an order
and selling them a pair of glasses.”

 The Optical Vision Site

Written March 20, 2014