Contact Lenses

The New CL Sales Training that Contributed to Our Highest Grossing Month

Two of Dr. Whipple's support staff members participate in training in one of his two offices. Dr. Whipple says the contact-lens sales training delivered at the beginning of this was a success, but will need to be repeated.

Two of Dr. Whipple’s support staff members participate in training in one of his two offices. Dr. Whipple says the contact lens sales training delivered at the beginning of 2024 was a success, but will need to be repeated.

Teaching staff a new way of approaching CL sales.

By Ian G. Whipple, OD

April 24, 2024

Staff training is a critical element of any new sales initiative in your office. Here is how we trained our employees to help us provide better service to contact lens patients, and, in the process, greatly increase sales.

Specifically, I introduced new training and sales strategies as a follow-up to the inflationary issues we discovered, which I previously wrote about.

The main training occurred in our Farr West location during a weekday lunch. We closed the office for one hour, and the few staff members who were absent received a repeat of this training in our South Ogden location about a month later.

Lunch with Training by Sales Rep: The Value CLs Offer

Our local CooperVision rep brought in lunch for the staff and led a lunch-and-learn discussion on the “value” that contact lenses offer.

I completed the training by discussing competitor strategies (such as those used by online retailers and big-box stores), and we all spent a moment in the end discussing pricing and savings with vision benefits, rebates, annual supply discounts and the free shipping we offer our patients. The representative and I prepared in advance to make sure our messaging was consistent.

Updating Employee CL Job Aid

For many years we have utilized a simple custom spreadsheet tool, which quickly prices contact lenses for our patients. The quote sheet includes reminders for our staff about how many boxes of a particular brand are needed for an annual supply.

In conjunction with this meeting I updated the spreadsheet quotes to now include the current price for an annual supply of each soft contact lens brand from the biggest online contact lens retailers.

This online price comparison does not display on any of the patient-facing tools, but is included as a reminder to our staff members that our pricing is extremely competitive.

In fact, our office pricing is lower than the online vendor by roughly $20 for nearly every brand of lenses (with the exception of a few legacy products.) I hope this new price comparison tool will be helpful as a reminder for my staff to focus their conversations with patients on “value.”

New CL Patient Handout: 7 Reasons to Purchase from Us

Additionally, I prepared a new contact lens patient handout which our team now staples to every contact lens prescription along with the patient’s price quote. This new rack card lists the seven reasons why we think patients should purchase their contact lenses from us. The seven reasons are included below:

1. Free replacements if they lose or rip a lens

2. Free exchanges if their prescription changes

3. Spare lens for the rare case they need another pair while they wait for their appointment

4. $50 voucher for sunglasses in our office

5. Free shipping

6. Our lenses won’t expire

7. Support a local small business

Click HERE to download a copy of Dr. Whipple’s new contact lens patient handout.

Persuading Patients Who Are On the Fence About Buying from Us

I expect sales quality and quantity to increase now that my staff is empowered with this new training. I don’t expect every patient/staff encounter will result in a sale, but for those patients who are on the fence about purchasing from us, I think this training could move the needle.

Refocusing Conversation with Patients about Daily Disposables

Several months ago, I overheard one of my employees say to a patient that daily disposable lenses were “the expensive ones.” Rather than focus on cost alone, this new training helped the optician recognize the quality differences in lenses and helped them understand that the cost of daily disposables isn’t really that outrageous when its benefits and other factors are considered.

I specifically asked that employee during the staff training meeting if they would be willing to role-play a mock scenario in which they presented the cost of daily disposables. Their new scripting at the end of our meeting was much improved.

Boosting Service & Sales to Specialty CL Patients, Too

One week prior to this contact lens meeting, we had another staff meeting focused on specialty contact lenses. At that meeting we took turns trying on scleral and RGP lenses and went over insertion/removal reminders, as well as hygiene and cleaning recommendations for patients.

New Training & CL Sales Approach Worked, But Will Need to Be Repeated

We had our best month in the history of practice in gross revenue generation in January 2024, immediately following the training.

Our four-week rolling average annual supply sales rate increased from 62 percent to 71 percent in the weeks immediately following the training. However, it has since slipped back to 64 percent, so a retraining might already be necessary.

Positive Feedback from Patients

Our patients frequently tell us how easy we’ve made contact lens purchases. They love free shipping, and many of them appreciate that we’ve already done the hard work of price shopping by making our prices so competitive.

Ian G. Whipple, OD, is the owner of Vision Source of Farr West and Vision Source of South Ogden, both in Utah. To contact him: 



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