By Thuy-Lan Nguyen, OD
When shopping, consumers value the benefits of products over their features. Show patients how the eyewear you offer can improve their lives.
START CONVERSATION IN EXAM ROOM. Explain to patients how what you’re prescribing will enhance their lives. Reinforce that message witheducational materials.
TRAIN STAFF TO TALK BENEFITS. Instruct staff to offer examples to patients of how products prescribed will make daily activities better.
MAKE STAFF PRODUCT ADVOCATES. Have staffwear the products you prescribe–and personally recommend them.
I have witnessed a problem over and over in my office: Myoptician would sit with a patient for an hour explaining the technical features of their glasses, and then the patient would ask the receptionist why their glasses cost so much. It’s common sense. Patients want to know how a product is going to affect their vision and their life. If a patient doesn’t understand how something affects their lives, they don’t see the glasses as a benefit, only as an up-sell. For that reason, my staff and I now practice benefits-driven product conversations with patients.
Dr. Nguyen recommends educating patients in the exam room about the benefits, rather than features, of products. Above are images seen in a brochure Dr. Nguyen gives patients to educate them about the benefits of BluTech lenses, which protect eyes from blue light and enhance color perception and night vision, while reducing glare.
Conversation on Product Benefits Starts in Exam Room
In our office, the conversation about product benefits starts in the exam room. I ask my patients,”How many hours a day are you on a digital device?” Some patients say 12-16 hours a day. Then I follow up with,”How do your eyes feel at the end of the day compared to the beginning of the day? I have glasses that can help your eyes feel better at the end of the day.”
I feel that if I’m not asking the right questions, I am not serving my patient’s needs. For example, once I’ve discussed the tiring effects of digital devices, my opticians are just continuing the conversation.
I also ask all my patients,”How do you protect your eyes from the harmful UV of the sun?” Again, once I discuss how UV can affect the eyes, it is much easier for a patient to see the value of Transitions or polarized sunglasses. As a physician, I am not selling something from the exam room; I am using a medical model to educate and treat my patient.
Opticians Continue Conversation
I prescribe a lot of BluTech lenses and computer designs like Unity CVX. My opticiansask patients a lot of questions about their daily activities:”What type of work do you do?” and “How far away from the computer do you sit?”We ask a lot of questions not to pry into a patient’s personal business, but to assess a patient’s visual needs. Then my opticians can say: “The doctor has recommended a lens designed to relieve your computer eye strain.” Or:”The doctor has prescribed a lens that will allow more range of vision for your long hours on the computer.” Now it is a benefit to the patient, not just a sell.
Train Staff to Sell Benefits
I train my staff to treat each patient as an individual. We use certain terminology, but the opticians have to get to know each patient. My office treats each patient as if they were their own family member. We aren’t up-selling for the sake of the sale. I want my staff to do right by the patient. That is what instills trust and keeps them coming back year after year.
Have Staff Promote Product Benefits By Wearing Them
Social media and the office web site is our way of introducing ourselves to the patient and connecting with them. When I post educational or promotional information on our Facebook page, the response is minimal. But I get more interest if I post a picture of my receptionist in the office wearing her own glasses with BluTech lenses, or one of my techs at the beach with her family all wearing sunglasses. Then patients begin to feel like my practice is part of their family.
Use Tablets to Show Benefits
Patients, like all consumers, relate to high-tech sales aids. I have demo-ed several iPad programs thatshow patients how their glasses will improve vision and function. I haven’t found one that I really like yet, but I’d love to implement an app to use in-office to show patients the benefits of the product they are getting.
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