Second-Pair Sales: To Boost Revenues, Project & Plan

By Stuart J. Thomas, OD,
and Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO

July 29, 2015


Improving second-pair sales takes teamwork and a winning strategy. Here’s a plan to project revenue goals and get staff on board at the start of a growth campaign.


TRACK & SET GOALS. Measure second-pair sales trend and set a goal for improvement, such as meeting national average of 16 percent of total sales.

PROMOTE AND MAKE THE PURCHASE EASY. Offer 50 percent off lenses on second pairs, coupled with a value frame–and offer patient financing.

MARKET TO PATIENTS. Send e-mail or texts to patients with your latest second-pair sales offerings.

Last year was not a great one for us in second-pair sales, but this year is shaping up as a much stronger year in this area.What made the difference is that weapplied a winning growth strategy and made a team commitment to continuously work to maintain progress.

How Do Your Second-Pair Sales Compare?

According to MBA Key Metrics (SEE PAGE 24): Average for independent practices is 10 percent multiple-pair sales, but reaching 15 percent is very doable for most practices–and the best-performing MBA practices hit 33 percent. Just moving from 10-15 percent can increase revenues 1-2 percent, factoring in a 20 percent discount on the second pair. For a $650,000 practice = +$13,000/year in additional revenues.–ROB Editors

Track Your Second-Pair Sales Numbers

In 2014, our practice, which does approximately 2,800 comprehensive exams annually, averaged 9 percent second-pair sales of total sales. For the first quarter of 2015, we are averaging 13 percent. April and May moved to 15 percent and 16 percent respectively, and 16 percent again in June. We’re very happy!

Nine percent second-pair sales of total sales means selling 65 additional second pairs annually. So far this year–just past mid-year–we have already sold 48 second pairs. By year’s end, we anticipate we will have sold at least 92 second pairs.

We get an average of $520 per pair on second pair glasses (after 50 percent off on lenses). Factor in that many of these second pairs contain digital lenses, and: 92(ish) x $520(ish) = $47,840 in additional annual revenues.

This would give us about a 4.7 percent increase in revenues for our $1 million dollar-a-year practice.

Set Goals, Including Impact on Overall Practice Revenues

If we could get to an average of 16 percent second-pair sales, I think we would most likely raise our overall practice revenues about 12-15 percent by the end of this year. We are having to offer a little more in savings, with promotions, to the patient to get them to move the needle and purchase.

Last year our second-pair sales were abysmal. We wanted Thomas Eye Center to perform at least the national average on second-pair sales. We knew we could not get there right away. So, we started at 5 percent. If we could just get 5 percent of sales to be a second-pair, then our two opticians would make $50 each per month, and we would reach the 5 percent goal. After we had successfully hit that for two months consecutively, the goal went up to 7 percent, and so on. We were very clear to staff that the national average is 16 percent, and we wanted Thomas Eye Center to be at 16 percent in 18 months. We almost are! The sales goal for the day is looked at and watched as the day goes on.

Thomas Eye Center
Athens, Ga.

Locations: 1

Doctors: 1

Optical: 600 frames

Comprehensive Exams: 2,800 annually

Annual Revenues: $1 million

Educate Whole Practice of Value of Second-Pair Sales

Second-pair sales move the bottom line up! With labs who give us 50 percent off a second-pair sale, it helps us with profitability to make that sale. Profitability is good for company growth, and here at Thomas Eye Center company, growth means employee growth, bonuses and the like.

The staff is tasked with a certain percentage of second pairs per month. If they meet that goal they will receive a $50 monthly bonus per employee. We are good at high-fives and praise via group e-mail when a very good job has been performed. For some people this public recognition is worth more than cash.

Offer Second-Pair Promotions & Patient Financing

We are offering 50 percent off of second sets of lenses, and we have close-out frames for $50, or $50 off an in-stock frame. We also talk CareCredit to everyone who is wavering on the second pair (or even the first). They can do six months same as cash.

Make Staff Changes, If Necessary

Sometimes it isn’t just your second-pair sales strategy that needs to be changed, but your optical staff. We replaced two opticians with individuals who are innately more motivated to make sales. They are self-starters who enthusiastically embraced the sales goals we set for them.

Send Out Messaging By Text and/or E-mail

We routinely send out messages (blanket e-mails) from Demandforce in our office. This lets our patients know about sales, specials and new products. We also have over 1,100 Facebook followers who actively engage us for our give-a-ways.

Doctor Talks About Second Pairs in Exam Room

The doctor always tells the patient what they need in the exam room–usually indoor and outdoor pairs of glasses, along with any specialty hobby or sports glasses. When he walks the patient to the gallery (dispensary) he needs to reiterate that same recommendation after he introduces the patient to staff.Our staff takes it from there. We also have a Post-it Note system where the staff lets Dr. Thomas know what (if any or all) recommendatons/Rx’s were followed. He then can reiterate to the patient the need for sunwear, hobby ….etc. He has immediate feedback if his recommendations worked or not.

Educate Staff on Second-Pair Sales Strategy

The Optometric Association of Georgia, where our practice is based, hosts training classes that we sent staff to in May. The more educated they are on anything/everything industry wide – the better, more confident sales people they are.

All opticanry trade journals are read (scoured), and then notes are left on the articles that coincide with our goals, and everyone reads them – front desk, techs, gallery sales – everyone. For instance, in the May 2015 edition of 20/20, we reviewed the following two articles with staff:

P. 36: “Patient Solutions: Multiple Pairs” – Staff Training outside the box.
P. 56: “GenEYE This OUR Generation”

Stuart J. Thomas, OD, is the owner of Thomas Eye Center in Athens, Ga. Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO, is practice manager. To contact:

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