By Maria Sampalis, OD
March 23, 2022
Your patients want to buy from you rather than having to shop around after their appointment. But they have to understand what they can buy from you, including the value you are imparting. Here are conversations with patients that encourage sales by providing education about your products and services.
What’s So Good About this Frame?
Patients see cheap frames online and at big-box retailers. Without education from you, they have no way of knowing why they shouldn’t just buy whatever is least expensive. If the materials the frame is made of are better, or if the frame comes from a manufacturer with a unique story, it’s worth sharing that information with patients. Maybe the only thing you have to offer on a frame that differentiates you from online sellers is a warranty and continued service after the sale. That’s also important for patients to know.
Patient: “That’s a nice frame, but kind of expensive, right?”
Optician: “The materials this frame is made of are high quality, making it especially durable. A small, independent company manufactured it, so it is unlikely any of your friends will buy the same one.”
Patient: “I might be able to find it online.”
Optician: “Actually, this manufacturer doesn’t sell this frame online. Plus, if you buy it online, your purchase won’t be protected. We offer a warranty on this frame so that it can be replaced within the first year if you find that it is defective. Plus, we stand by the eyewear we sell. We’re available for adjustments and minor repairs after your purchase. We continue to be there for you even after you leave our office with your glasses. Your relationship with an online retailer usually ends when you click the ‘buy now’ button.”
Why Are Those Particular Lenses Important? Sounds Expensive.
When you prescribe high-end progressive lenses with blue light protection, an anti-reflective treatment and Transitions, there may be push-back. It may seem to the patient that they’re in the process of being taken advantage of the way a car salesman will try to sell you features for your car that you don’t need. It’s up to you and your staff to educate the patient enough so they know why you are recommending the additional features for their lenses.
Patient: “All I want are glasses that make it so I can see.”
Optician: “That’s exactly what we want–for you to be able to see, but to see as well as possible. These additional features will give you the best possible vision. The progressive lens the doctor prescribed will enable you to see both near and far without having to switch glasses, while the blue light protection will benefit your eyes when working on electronic devices, filtering out potentially harmful light. The anti-reflective treatment, which we call ‘AR,’ will make it much easier for you to see on a sunny day, and, as a side benefit, will greatly enhance how your glasses look in photos and videos, eliminating reflections. The Transitions will allow you to leave your house without having to worry about also taking a pair of sunglasses. These lenses automatically turn darker in brighter settings, such as outdoors on a sunny day.”
This Is Still Too Expensive For Me
Sometimes, even after you educate the patient about the benefit of the product they are purchasing, and the value of the lens treatments you prescribed, there is continued push-back on price. The patient at this point understands why they should buy the frame and the glasses with all the lens treatments you prescribed, but still can’t get past the price. That may be because they need help seeing what the cost to them will be after their vision benefits have been applied, or they need to know about the eyewear packages you also sell.
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Patient: “I really want to get these glasses, but I’m still not sure I can afford it. The price is going to be really high.”
Optician: “Actually, I think you’re going to be surprised how much you’re going to pay for this $400 designer frame with the lenses the doctor prescribed after your insurance has been applied. The frame now comes to $200, half its original cost.”
Patient: “I don’t know. I still think I may have to look somewhere else.”
Optician: “We also have eyewear package options that might be more aligned with your budget. Our single-vision packages start at $100 and our progressive eyewear packages start at $400. That means you could get frames and glasses for as little as $100 in our office. How does that sound?”
When your staff educates the patient fully about the quality of your products, the benefits of the lens treatments you prescribed and all the options the patient has to buy eyewear within their budget right in your office, that fast-fleeting sale suddenly becomes attainable.
Maria Sampalis, OD, is the owner of Sampalis Eye Care in Warwick R.I. and sublease at Warby Parker. She is also the founder of Corporate Optometry on Facebook. Dr. Sampalis is also founder of the job site, corporateoptometrycareers.com. She is available for practice management consulting. To contact: email@example.com