By Stuart J. Thomas, OD,
and Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO
March 29, 2017
In our practice, we recognized that our second-pair sunwear sales were well below the goal we set for ourselves of 15-18 percent of total second-pair sales, and we set up a plan to increase them. Our entire team is on board with this program, in which we have increased both messaging and visibility about second-pair sunwear sales, and we’re seeing notable increases as a result.
First came analysis. We spent money and time to ascertain what we were doing wrong. Currently, 10 percent of our second-pair sales are of prescription sunwear. Not where we would like to be, but we have grown this area over the past several years. We also need to find better ways to know exactly the revenue amount that second-pair sunwear brings into our practice. We have our highest sales of sunwear in spring and summer, when, last year, we averaged an additional $5,200 per month in sunwear revenue.
A few years ago, our two optical employees averaged about two second-pair sales per person per week. Now, we average four second-pair sales per week, and we are targeting prescription sun as a growth area.
For the month of March 2017, out of 153 jobs sent to our optical lab, 23 jobs have been second complete pairs of eyewear. We do not allow second lenses only to go into a patient’s own frame to count as a second pair. This is the first month we are at 15 percent second-pair sales of total eyewear sales.
Ask Employees to Wear Your Products
Employee buy-in is key in the push to sell more second pairs of eyewear.
Employees have to wear the quality product that they are offering to our patients. We have always trained our employees that they need to educate the patient about all aspects of what the patient needs to maintain healthy eyes and great vision throughout their lives.
If the employee does not educate in a manner that creates a desire, then the sale goes flat. Excitement has to be felt, and product has to be demonstrated.
Create Second-Pair Promotions
Our lab allows us 50 percent off a second pair of lenses when ordered the same day. We pass that savings on to the patient. Sometimes we will offer a 10 percent savings on a second pair of frames if it is needed to make the sale. We also added a budget line of frames and packaged polarized lenses with them as a last-stop resort to allow the patient to find a pair of sunwear in their budget range.
Make it a Team Effort
First, our front desk person, who confirms appointments, asks each patient to bring in their current indoor eyewear, as well as any sunwear they have. Second, our technician, who works up the patient, will evaluate those glasses on age, damage and current lens prescription. That information is relayed to the doctor, so he knows what the patient has (or does not have) and can make recommendations with a great deal of knowledge.
Dr. Thomas then discusses UV radiation and the importance of protecting your eyes with quality lenses just like you protect your skin with sunscreen. These recommendations are then reiterated at the handoff in the optical. The optician knows to demonstrate, not just talk about, polarized lenses.
We recently had Mark Hinton, optical industry consultant and owner of EYefacilitate, lead a staff training showing us better verbiage and tools that we can use to demonstrate product, and he gave us wonderful ideas about seeds you could plant that would grow into sales later.
If an optician’s sale totals $1,000, we call this the $1,000 Club, and they are paid $30 cash. If they sell two complete pairs, and their total is less than $1,000, they get $20 cash.
We have a goal of 10 percent second-pair sales per employee. It is a healthy competition, and all staff is aware at weekly meetings who is meeting their goal and who is not.
Create a Staff Reminder System
We just invented a routing slip that helps remind the optician what Dr. Thomas has recommended after he walks off, and then there is space below to write what the patient did. Dr. Thomas then reviews how many people acted upon (or didn’t) his recommendations.
Remind Patients of Second-Pair Opportunities
We put a poster of three frames on the back of the exam doors, so patients in the exam chair can see current eyewear styles.
We also added a look book to the reception area that contains pictures of current styles that we get from POP and trade magazines.
Demo Second-Pair Lenses
We demonstrate polarized lenses to everyone. We talk about the advantages of brown versus gray, and with products such as Costa or Maui Jim, we discuss the mirror treatments. Demonstration is key – and employees need to understand that talking about a product does not sell a product. Demonstrating is the only way to increase these sales.
Show Off Happy Second-Pair Patients
We post pictures to our practice Facebook page of patients who allow us to put their pictures up. These posts are also posted to our web site to keep our marketing content fresh and current.
In addition, we use Demandforce with twice a month e-mail blasts about our second-pair specials and other practice news.
Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO, is practice manager. To contact: Ellen.Goad@thomaseyecenter.com