By Wendy Buchanan
June 22, 2022
Implementing a systematic eyewear styling experience is a proven strategy to make a practice more productive, increase capture rate and drive friends and family referrals.
Twenty-five years ago, working as an optician in a busy retail environment, I was bored with the repetition of fitting the same frames over and over and concluded that I had chosen the wrong profession. I thought I had wasted 10 years of my life.
Seeking a new career and orchestrating my exit strategy from optical, I trained to be an image consultant and started a new business, styling wardrobes of clothing to match personality. Once, after I had put together the client’s clothing style, I had a huge “AH-HA” moment. I realized that their eyeglasses were all wrong for their new wardrobe and their new look.
Listening to my client’s advice, I started including eyewear styling as part of my image consulting services. Within six months of believing I had made a “clean break” from optical, I was lured back in, and not just a little. All my referrals came from clients who were complimented on their eyewear. Seeing this business come to me easily, I pivoted my business quickly from styling wardrobes to styling “wardrobes of eyewear” and created a personalized optical service.
After styling over 1,000 clients with new eyewear, I could see similarities in clothing styles, personality traits and eyewear choices. I put pen to paper and designed a sales system to help me discover my client’s personal style and build my business. I created five categories, (I call them Spec Styles) to help me easily select eyewear, communicate the “why” it was the best choice and make the offer for more than one pair.
This sales strategy moved my multiple-pair sales from a big fat ZERO to 70 percent conversion with many clients buying three or more pairs.
Here are my top three tips to move your sales revenue to the next level.
Incorporate a Styling Process as a Step in Your Patients’ Journey
Styling eyewear is more than knowing about eyewear trends for the season; it is the art of matching eyewear to facial features, clothing style and personal image. Some patients want to wear what is trendy and others do not.
You can assess one’s image based on how they walk into your gallery, how they talk to you and how they dress and project themselves to the world.
When I graduated opticianry school, I had zero knowledge or training on eyewear styles and how to fit eyeglasses based on fashion. I knew the best frame size for a high myope and how to fit a temple, but not how to make a client feel confident and beautiful in eyewear. This is a skill that your team members can learn.
It takes time to learn the theory for each of the 5 Spec Styles, but when you consciously apply the theory and put it into to practice, you get better and better at it.
One optometrist said that her team members commented that when patients came back for a frame adjustment, with eyewear they had bought before the stylist knew the “Spec Styles,” they realized they could have recommended better frames.
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Train Opticians to Find Out Who Your Patients Are
Discovering the patient’s personal image and how they would like to be perceived can be achieved during the eyewear selection process. During the sales process, there are risks to “judging a book by its cover” and making assumptions, but there is power in observation, language and discussion techniques than can unlock secrets.
Your patients may arrive at your clinic straight from work. Their clothing style may be completely different when they are out socially on the weekend, playing with their kids or hanging out at home. Your team can be trained to speak a language that resonates on an emotional level, and evokes the feeling of “Hey, you get me!” Post-pandemic, people are craving an experience like this that makes them feel great.
Providing an amazing buying experience for your patients may take more time. However, it is well worth it. It is this personalized experience that makes your patients feel special and makes your practice stand out as extraordinary.
A consistently applied styling system provides your team with unique sales skills, and more importantly, the confidence to lead conversations with your patients about their individual style and the impression they want to make with their eyewear fashion.
Ditch the Scrubs
When your team members know their style, and dress in their personal “Spec Style,” wearing clothing they love, in colors that make them feel powerful, with amazing eyewear to match, they are a walking, talking marketing machine for your business.
Offering your team complimentary eyewear, which they can wear when they are selling and styling eyewear in your gallery, instantly gives them credibility as stylists. If they wear their glasses outside of the office, and the eyewear is a perfect match to their individual style, they will receive compliments. That then leads to conversations that generate referrals to your practice.
When you offer an exceptional eyewear styling session, people want to stay after their eye exam, people want to buy and people want to talk about you! Your capture rate increases, and you will organically attract repeat patients who then refer many others.