Jerry Hayes, OD, shared the secrets of high-producing optometrists during a session at SECO.
Atlanta-Jerry Hayes, OD, shared the secrets of high-producing optometrists during a session at SECO.
Who are these high producers, and why are they so successful? Dr. Hayes identified what makes these doctors tick and drives them to succeed above and beyond their peers.
Dr. Hayes says there are certain traits shared among high-producing ODs:
• A burning desire to grow
• Being open minded (such as open to changing the exam routine or firing weak staff)
• Recommendations of solutions to patients without judging their wallets
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But if high ambition and relentless drive don’t come naturally to you, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your practice to the next level.
Dr. Hayes shared a list of seven things ODs can do now to put their practices onto the track to success:
This is important for people who are not naturally highly motivated. Your goal should be specific, measurable, dated, and challenging. Well, not just challenging-Dr. Hayes says your goal should be something that scares you.
“Set a goal that you don’t know if you can do,” he says. “If you’re comfortable with a goal, it’s too easy.”
Dr. Hayes recommends writing down your goals in order to provide mental clarity.
Your practice will need a mini-facelift from time to time. Take a look around your office and see what could use freshening up.
Next: Visit high producers
Dr. Hayes says that whenever he traveled to conferences as a young OD, he made it a point to find the busiest doctor in that area and pay him a visit. Those experiences opened his eyes to how successful practices run.
“If you handle it right, they’ll be happy to see you,” says Dr. Hayes.
Spending time with other successful ODs can light a competitive fire within you and give you the motivation you need. The best performers in any given field all have coaches and mentors. You should, too.
High producers are lifelong learners and are always looking to strive higher. One of the common traits among high-producing ODs that Dr. Hayes has noted is that most are involved in study groups.
“You meet regularly with other people who are very successful in your group, and you’re trading ideas,” he says.
You can learn from your colleagues about how they’re solving problems and take those ideas back to your practice.
“Together we know a whole lot more than we know individually,” says Dr. Hayes.
Next: Pick one duty to delegate
Dr. Hayes says that ODs are trained to do everything themselves, so breaking the habit of thinking, “I can do it better/faster myself” can be difficult.
“‘I can do it better’-of course you can! But that’s not the point,” he says. “It’s about leveraging yourself.”
He says practices within the $750,000 to $900,000 range are in a slow growth zone and while they are doing well, these practices often struggle to make time to grow and manage the business. In order to make time, he recommends hiring an effective office manager to take on administrative tasks and an associate to see patients.
Tell your patient all of your recommendations, but also communicate those recommendations to your staff during the handoff so they can help ensure the patient gets what she needs in the optical.
“You want to recommend solutions without judging the pocketbook,” he says.
Next: Develop a customer recovery program
How your practice handles mistakes or customer complaints will have a huge impact on your patient loyalty. Dr. Hayes recommends giving your staff the ability to correct any customer service missteps (even when the customer’s complaint may not be completely justified) without having to get your approval each time.
“Why don’t ODs do that more?” he says. “I think it’s because we don’t want our staff to give away the store.”
He recommends budgeting two percent of gross revenue for customer recovery, although he says he doubts your practice will ever spend that much.
“I have had many people tell me how well this has worked in practices-I’ve never heard of anyone coming even close to two percent,” says Dr. Hayes. “But if you put a limit on it, then you’re not going to be worried that your staff is going to give away the store.”