By Oliver Lou, OD
When your staff wears new frames that you feature in your optical shop, patients notice and respond with purchases. Create incentives for staff to model the latest styles.
Point of sales materials like posters on the wall are helpful, but a far more powerful tool is when the people standing before your patients–the same people presenting frame options to them–are wearing the very frames that are for sale. I have noticed that we absolutely sell more of a frame when one of our opticians is wearing it. I have three opticians and three other staff members who wear eyeglasses. At our staff meeting they consistently estimate that the frame they wear sells five to six times more than the other frames on our board. Some frames my opticians wear sell 20 to 30 times a year. That is more than six times greater than our average frame’s frequency of sales.
I have an optician with me ten years who has over 30 pairs of eyeglasses as he usually gets about three pairs of eyeglasses a year. His collection is quite diverse and patients love hearing about all his frames. Having your employees and opticians own multiple pairs of eyeglasses serves to model certain frame lines, as well as open conversations about why it’s important to have multiple pairs of eyeglasses.
High ROI and Satisfied Employees
The return on investment is really high as we either pay nothing or a minimal amount for the frames our opticians wear. The ROI is at least by a factor of 100. Not to be lost in the equation is that my employees feel very well taken care of. Our happy employees also wear their eyeglasses outside of the practice. On numerous occasions patients have chosen to have an eye exam with us after seeing our employee’s fashionable frame outside of the office.
Coordinate Sales with Frames Worn by Opticians
Any time we are thinking about doing a sale, we have all opticians and employees who own a frame in that collection wear their eyeglasses. The opticians then point out to patients that–as luck would have it–the very frames they are wearing can be found in the same line of frames that are currently on sale.
Facilitate Optician Frame Purchase
Usually the discount to opticians for frame styles comes from the manufacturer. Frame vendors will periodically give us a complimentary pair of frames, especially if they know one of our staff will wear that frame. I believe that frame representatives know the powerful effect of an employee wearing their frame. Even if our practice has to pay a little, it is worth having the practice pick up the discounted cost of the frame if an optician will wear that frame the majority of the time. I also remember to give opticians a large discount on the lenses or ask our lab if they will give a complimentary pair of lenses as well.
We have our opticians wear our top-performing frame lines. It becomes a win-win situation as it helps our top performing frame lines perform even better. These frame vendors often have a great relationship with us already and they will happily give us a pair of frames for our opticians to model.
Allow for Opticians’ Personal Style
In terms of fashion style, I don’t often give guidance to my opticians. They already have a fashion style that works for them. They also know the fashion style that is reflective of our community. As long as the opticians are happy with the frames, they exude confidence that patients are drawn to.
Notice Fashion Style When Hiring
I have confidence in my opticians’ fashion and frame choices because it is something I considered before hiring them. It is always important to keep in mind the demographics of your practice population. Every employee whom we hire has to be congruous with the demographics of our practice or else it’s a poor long-term match. When hiring opticians or employees, you can usually tell right away if they will work well with your practice. It’s a definite plus if prospective employees have a fashion sense or style that works well with most of our patients.
Keys to Successful Optician Frame Modeling
When picking a frame line for staff to model, remember that the frames should be both fashionable as well as profitable. The last thing you want is all your patients gravitating toward a frame line that does not significantly increase your profits. Be sure the frame line has a good profit margin, a sturdy quality, an easy-to-work-with frame representative and a generous return / exchange policy.
Have the opticians and employees wear a variety of fashions and colors. You don’t want every staff member to wear similar and conservative frames. You want your “fashion models” to have fun frames, push the envelope a little and represent a wealth of options.
Give opticians great lenses for their fashionable frames. You want the lenses to be thin and very clear with no-glare lenses. You want your patients to see your employee’s eyes very clearly and know that good quality lenses make a difference in how you look and see.
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Oliver Lou, OD, owns Signature Eye Care in Cedar Park, Texas. He also is adjunct professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry. To reach him: firstname.lastname@example.org