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The Only Difference is The Optical Dream

OD credits Vision Source® training and incentives with the increase in annual supply sales

Rosie Flores, OD, of San Leandro, California, had to give her staff a push to get on board with The Optical DreamSM when it was first introduced. Now that the staff is in, reaping the rewards and seeing the sales increases, Dr. Flores is telling her Vision Source® colleagues to stop delaying their own implementation. Dr. Flores has seen a 12.4 percent increase in revenue this year compared to the same point last year. “The percentage of annual supplies of contact lenses is higher, too, and the only thing we’ve done differently is start using the training and tools from The Optical DreamSM.”

In Dr. Flores’ office, her two most competitive staff people were the first to become involved. When The Optical DreamSM2 expanded the program, making it easier for the whole staff to participate, the numbers picked up.

“We all began to realize that if you don’t make it a habit to ask every patient if he or she is interested in sunwear or computer eyewear, for example, we’ll never know,” Dr. Flores says. The Optical DreamSM videos, which the staff watched together, helped reinforce what to say and how to say it so that everyone’s comfortable.

The summer months, typically the quietest of the year, have been busy this year. “We’re usually just breaking even at this time of year,” Dr. Flores says. But with the staff members all using the strategies they’ve learned through The Optical DreamSM, “it has literally been a dream for me,” she says, laughing. “Even our shyest employees are confident about asking patients questions that spark an interest in eyewear sales.”

The staff at Dr. Flores’ office

The program is simple to implement, she adds. But what makes it work so well are the ongoing incentives. “Even if I had made increased annual supply sales and second-pair sales a goal in the office, I couldn’t have come up with a program like this that continually incentivizes employees to keep them on track. Now that we’ve been doing this for three months or so, it’s become a habit to ask these patients questions,” she says.

Dr. Flores says that she has heard from colleagues who say that they doubt that prizes would motivate their staff. At first, she thought that was the case in her office, too. But as the prizes arrived, first for one employee and then a second, interest (and a little bit of envy) began to increase, too.

In her office, two opticians handle most of the sales. The process that has worked for this office is that when two prizes arrive, one of the opticians gets one and the other is awarded to a member of the staff who plays a supporting role. “Everyone remembers to log his or her points in the system,” she says.

The Optical DreamSM builds on Dr. Flores’ system of bonuses for second-pair sales and other upgraded purchases. It has had the effect of increasing those bonuses for employees—but obviously, the impact to her bottom line has been even more significant.

“What The Optical DreamSM did to make our whole system more effective was that it gave us the verbiage. It helped us all learn how to present annual supplies, second pairs and high-quality products to our patients,” she says.

In this practice, opticians also do the pretesting on patients. “Now they’re already asking patients questions even before I see them. ‘Did you bring your computer glasses?’ Or, ‘Did you bring in your prescription sunwear?’ Opticians can start developing ideas for what to discuss with patients even before they come back to the dispensary. It used to be that opticians would think of selling the first pair, and anything else could be addressed later. Now they’re thinking about multiple pairs right from the start.’”

Dr. Flores has made some staffing adjustments as a result of the increased business. She noticed that increased multiple sales required more of the opticians’ time. It was time well spent, of course, but Dr. Flores didn’t want patients to have to wait for an optician to help them. So she expanded the hours of some of her part-time staff to make them full-time employees. “It raised the payroll, but it’s a better situation. Full-time employees are more invested in the success of a practice than part-time people are, generally. There’s more continuity, too. They hear what’s going on, they’re thinking about issues here all the time. They’re more likely to see a patient they worked with when that patient returns to pick up eyewear.”

That has led to an increased emphasis on the quality of the final presentation of eyewear to patients. “Previously, our opticians would open the packaging when the patient arrived. That means the opticians were unwrapping the frames and taking stickers off right in front of the patients. Now we do that first and make any preadjustments we can. Then we place these frames in velvet boxes so when the patients arrive, it gives us a chance to reinforce to them the value of the eyewear they’ve just purchased here,” Dr. Flores says.

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