Persuasion Momentum

Why do private practice optometrists see 2/3rd of the eye exams and sell less than half of the glasses in our industry?

I think the answer is very simple:  It is all a matter of momentum.

Momentum is defined simply as mass in motion.  The bigger the mass or the faster the motion, the stronger the momentum.  Momentum = Mass x Motion

How does that have to do with selling glasses?  Is the answer to find the heaviest, biggest pair of frames in the office and throw them at people?  Now that’s momentum.

Maybe a better question is how do we stop momentum?  Coaches all around the world know the power of momentum when it comes to winning or losing a game.  When the opposing team has momentum, the coach calls a “time out” to slow or stop the momentum.

In private practice, how do we slow or stop the momentum?:

Wait too long – one of the most common survey complaints in private practice is a long wait.  I know people appreciate thoroughness but there is a threshold of how long is too long for most people.  In fact, we clearly see optical capture rates drop when people spend an hour in the back.  An hour tops for the whole visit (including optical and check out) seems to be the sweet spot for most people.

Inconvenient hours – one of the biggest disadvantages for private practitioners are the hours of operation.  It is no surprise that independent doctors don’t want to work nights and weekends – after all isn’t that the point?  But what about early hours? Or a couple of a little later hours so that people can before and after work?

“Needs-based” selling over “wants-based”  – in an effort to appear professional we have distanced ourselves from the retail elements of the practice.  We refuse to “sell” anyone anything and in the mean time, patients are left feeling guilty because they really don’t need new eyewear.  How about the people that just want something?  They end up at the retailer or boutique down the street.

Merchandising – private-labels and limited product mixes have lead to lack of what people are looking for and wanting.   Consumer ads are driving more brand-hungry patients into the doors only to be met with “Oh, we don’t have that, but we do have this, and it’s just as good.”  People who have been persuaded that a product brand is good are reluctant to take that bait.

Perception of Pricey – private practice has a reputation for being pricey.  It isn’t the case but the perception is there because private practices generally offer the best and latest lens technologies and current styles of frames.  Those products come with a price.

So to get the momentum back, focus on these five things for at least 30 days:

  1. Be fanatical about running on time and make it the culture of your practice
  2. Try early hours – you will be surprised
  3. Let people buy something from you even if they don’t need it
  4. Open your product mix to new things and brand names – private labeling is OK but be educated and open to all the options
  5. Don’t be afraid to quote prices and educate patients about the quality and benefits of your products.  It takes a small amount of effort that pays big dividends.