|Talking to a Luzerne lab rep about its free-form product SightStar365 can be a great tool for finding out what presentation techniques work well.
How do different eyecare professionals (ECPs) across the country present free-form progressive lenses to their patients and what do they say to communicate these lenses to them? To find out, I asked three knowledgeable ECPs.
Beth Topliss, ABOC, Rivertown Eye Care, Hastings, MN
Wayne Young, LDO, ABOC, NCLC, Store Manager, Professional Optical Olympia Eye Clinic, Olympia, WA
Frances Scholz, ABOC, LDO, Optical Department Manager, Southside Eyecare & Optical, Anchorage, AL
What words do you use to describe the benefits of premium progressive lenses to your patients?
Topliss: The key words I use are: crisp, clear, vibrant, sharp, and HD! I like to say that our high-definition lenses give you maximized vision potential (your best vision possible). This new technology provides sharper, clearer, and crisper vision. Colors are more vibrant and contrast is enhanced. It’s like comparing a tube television to an HD television. These lenses help with glare issues during the day and night hours and provide a wider field of view.
|TEAM EFFORT Product knowledge can help with your product presentation as well as help your patients place value on their purchases. This knowledge can come from a variety of sources including lens companies. For example, companies such as Shamir Insight Inc., HOYA Vision Care, North America, Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc., and Augen Optics have great resources such as pamphlets, video loops which play on youtube, Facebook, and their Web sites to help patients have a better understanding of their products.
Labs can also be great partners in finding descriptive language to use when presenting the product. Talking to a lab representative at a company like Expert Optical Inc., Luzerne Optical Laboratories, Rite-Style Optical Co., or US Optical can be a great tool for finding what types of presentation techniques are working well in your practice. And don’t forget to look to equipment manufacturers for education too. Companies like Coburn Technologies, Inc. can answer your questions about a variety of technical and business issues related to the free-form lens business.
Young: Progressive lenses have no line to interfere with your vision. There is a smooth transition of power in these lenses so they give a smooth change of focus from far to near. We use a digitally designed progressive lens that gives the largest field of view for intermediate vision and reading, thus reducing head movement when using the lenses. If the patient has worn progressives of a lower quality, we explain that they should notice a larger, clearer intermediate and near field of view. They should also notice less peripheral blur. For first-time wearers, we explain that they will notice those things and they will feel that they have a very small reading area until their eyes learn how to use the lenses, which takes most people about a week and another two weeks to become automatic.
Scholz: You get better visual acuity, wider near and intermediate fields, and a more customized pair of eyeglasses. Getting the latest in technological advancements enables us to deliver the most accurate lens possible. I personally wear this type of lens and feel it helps me to see better. It has been easy to adapt to wearing too.
How do you explain the benefits of premium progressive lenses without using technical explanations?
|Augen’s HDRx free-form lens flyer can help patients have a better understanding of their products.
Topliss: We feel we can deliver the needed information in less than a minute; we simply explain the benefits the patient will experience. I think of the acronym “K.I.S.S” (Keep It Simple, Silly!). We have found our patients guide us in how much detail they need. We know our products very well in case they want in-depth product information. We overcome being too technical by using everyday analogies and comparisons (for example, HD television versus old-school television) that our patients can relate to.
Young: We try very hard not to be technical. We tell the patients that the lenses are digitally designed to optimize their prescription for the frame they have chosen and how it sits on their face. Getting too technical just confuses most people and they lose the important concepts we want them to grasp. Using simple language and analogies works well.
Scholz: I try to use examples that most people can relate to, such as: This premium lens is like purchasing a custom-fitted suit rather than buying one off the rack. Or: It’s like getting more pixels on a high-definition
|Shamir’s Golf lens consumer brochure informs patients about its benefits.
television screen versus an analog screen. Some technical jargon is necessary depending on the consumer, for example, engineers and techno geeks love details. We try to give the patient a layperson’s explanation of the lens and the benefits and value they will get from it. I also like using a specialized fitting kit to explain the additional measurements we take. I explain how the lab uses them in conjunction with software to come up with a compensated product that more accurately reflects their customized prescription.
What types of promotional support material do you use to help sell these lenses?
Topliss: We utilize interior and exterior lens signage. We place a window cling exclaiming the “wow” our patients experience from our lenses. Our team members have business cards and wear name-tags that include our premium lens choice logo. We have custom wall graphics in our reception area, exam lanes, pre-testing rooms, and optical area. We display Eyemaginations videos on our televisions that loop information on all of our premium products. We have pictures and posters showing what benefits the lens provides. We have two light-boxes featuring our lenses. We use our lens’ dispensing mats, brochures, handouts, and other educational materials. Our repetition is key so we make sure our patients literally see our goal!
Young: We use countercards in the lobby and waiting rooms and reading cards at the dispensing tables. We also use a PowerPoint presentation in the “dilatation room” that was produced by Shamir Insight, Inc. and given to us by our lab. Since patients have some downtime waiting to see the doctor, it’s a good time to educate them.
Scholz: We have brochures in the reception area as well as a DVD playing in the optical department. We also place brochures in the exam rooms and the doctor often gives the brochures to patients to bring to the optician for further details. I have also written a one-page paper explaining the benefits and joys of wearing premium progressive lenses, which we share with patients. My staff is also educated about what the paper says so we are all on the same page.
|HOYA produces a patient brochure that explains its HoyaLux ID MyStyle free-form lenses.
What do you say when patients “push back” on the increased cost of these lenses?
Topliss: Because we take more of an educational approach to selling, our optical store does not really see a lot of push back on cost. If we do a solid job of explaining the value and benefits and give patients choices, we empower them to make an educated decision. We offer standard, digital, and iZon lenses and explain the differences, then the patient picks what makes most sense for them. It’s not high-pressure selling. We sincerely do our best to give them what they need. Our basic option is very good, too. In the end, they are not paying for eyeglasses; they are paying for quality of vision.
Young: If we encounter resistance, we tell them that we don’t work on commission; then we simply tell them the truth. For example, we tell them that they are getting the top of the line, most technologically advanced lenses available. We mention how these lenses have patents that protect their uniqueness and features and that they will not find the lenses we sell in chains, who often use older or lesser technology to help keep their prices low.
Scholz: I merely explain the benefits and value the product represents to them and I ask them if they would like to try them. I explain the difference in cost is not as much as they think when they include the amount the insurance company covers for that premium product. They are able to now purchase a premium product for a few dollars more than they would pay for a standard lens.
Product knowledge is important for ECPs to have, but verbally translating that knowledge into action that results in sales is the key to selling free-form lenses and creating happy patients with them.
Joy L. Gibb is the owner of Eyes of Joy Mobile Optical Service in Woods Cross, UT.