Let’s talk about an elephant in the room. Some practices are incredibly effective at selling annual supplies of contact lenses, and some practices are not. Just like daily disposables, low sales numbers are blamed on “the demographics of my practice.” There are certainly times when the patient just can’t afford to buy all of their contacts lenses at once, but perhaps we could be more convincing.
But selling is nothing more than conveying the value of something to someone. It’s no different than trying to convince someone where to go for dinner, for example. The key is being passionate and believing that what you want for them has value—and then, of course, being able to effectively communicate that value.
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Here are seven techniques we use to close the sale.
1. Create the culture.
This starts with initial phone call with the patient.
However, in order to be convincing, your staff must truly believe that buying an annual supply is the best option. Do this by asking your staff to write out all the benefits, both to the patient and the practice.
Begin with why contact lens patients get eye exams. Then there are the patients who typically don’t call for an appointment until they are on their last pair of contact lenses. Even before then, once they realize they are running low, they may be tempted to overextend the life of the lenses. So, if your patient decides to buy a three- or six-month supply, this process can happen more than once. This means that his annual exam could end up being delayed by months. For some, this may not have severe consequences, but for others it may compromise their outcome due to delayed diagnosis. This is in addition to the risk they take in abusing the lenses. The reality is that patients are more likely to change their lenses regularly when they have a handy supply from the beginning. Talk through examples of patients who have experienced complications due to overwear of their lenses.
Of course, the patient also sacrifices significant savings when she forgoes the annual supply. This forfeiture may include a reduced price per box, free shipping, and other perks, in addition to her rebate. An annual supply purchase also adds convenience for the patient, eliminating her need to remember to reorder or return for a pick up.
We know that having to process multiple orders per year means increased administration time in placing the orders, checking them in, and calling the patients, but it also creates more opportunity for order errors. Furthermore, it reduces practice profit margin due to decreased exam frequency and increased cost. And by allowing the patient time to shop around for the cheapest price, we could potentially lose the sale altogether.
Getting back to the phone call, your staff member should set the stage by telling the patient what to expect. “You will have your exam and contact lens fitting on the day of your appointment. You may also need a follow-up visit, but once the prescription is finalized, we will order your annual supply.” This message should be reiterated in the office. Be sure to record when the patient had his last exam. If he was overdue and resists buying an annual supply, discuss that as well as the risks involved.