Basic sales strategies can turn patients into buyers


Learn how to effectively convert patients and walk-ins to buyers.

What would your staff do? Let her browse a bit before approaching her? Ask her if she needs help? Steer her toward the less expensive frames?

All three approaches can be costly mistakes when trying to convert patients and walk-ins into buyers, said Cathy Ives, a 25-year industry veteran who sold eyeglass frames and lab services to optometry offices.

More skills needed

After observing this scenario hundreds of times during the past decade, Ives realized that many eye-care professionals (ECPs) lacked crucial sales skills needed to maximize patient encounters. So, she developed a 1-hour course called "Turning Shoppers Into Buyers," which is certified by the American Board of Opticianry. Although she has presented the program nationwide, she says more training is needed because ECPs continue to make the same mistakes, missing golden opportunities.

The first mistake: When patients arrive, the optician prejudges them based on appearance. While that's typical human behavior, it often leads to false assumptions and bad sales tactics, such as ignoring patients or underselling.

"During the seminar, I ask participants to do one thing-whenever anyone calls or walks into their office, think they're worth $1 million," she said. "True millionaires are not ostentatious people. I always use Warren Buffet as an example as to why they should never prejudge."

Another mistake to avoid: When prospective patients request information about eye exams, employees should not tell them just the cost, but should explain what that fee includes. The wrong approach: "Our eye exam is $100. When would you like to come in?"

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