Promote AR, digital surfacing, polarization, photochromics and progressives to your patients using the following techniques suggested by the ECPs who use them.
Whether you’re new or a seasoned optical veteran, selling glasses with lens options is one key way to better serve your patients and their vision. Regardless of patient age, prescription, lens material or even insurance, there are always lens options to discuss at the dispensing table.
It can be challenging to describe something sight unseen, and when we start talking about lens options, the features and benefits can quickly become lost on your patient. Finding new ways to present updated lens options will help keep your sales skills fresh and boost conversion rates. Here are some tips and tricks from other opticians to help you concisely convey lens option information. The end result should help you gain more satisfied patients, revenue and lens option sales.
By enhancing clarity and durability and increasing comfort, anti-reflective (AR) coatings significantly improve the quality of vision your patients experience. While many of your clients routinely order AR, your next patient may be new to glasses. In our optical locations, we employ several AR demonstrators around the room, including the countertop AR-branded Crizal 50/50 lens display from Essilor and ZEISS AR dispensing mats, which illustrate the benefits of different AR coatings in different tiers.
While these tools benefit the understanding of what AR is, where we really excel is with real life demonstrations. Our opticians all wear glasses and always have a pair with AR. After we explain AR using the countertop demonstrators, we present a physical example of what AR does on a pair of lenses.
First, the optician shows the patient what a non-AR pair of glasses looks like as they try them on and look around the room. The patient can quickly notice the large amount of reflection on the lenses. Next, the optician tries on a pair with AR-coated lenses, showing the patient the dramatic difference in real time. The end result is a patient who now understands what the coating will do for their next pair of glasses, and the order is placed. These quick tips keep our AR percentages high in the mid 90s.
There is a wide mix of offices that are considering or have partially and fully embraced digital lenses into their sales lingo. The biggest confusion can often be linked to what digital surfacing is and how to explain it to your patients.
Optical manager for the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Michael Bright, ABOC, said: “Describing digital lenses and surfacing to patients often sounds far too technical. A good idea is to try to explain the technology of digital lenses by comparing them to advances in products patients use every day. Cameras, cell phones, televisions and tablets are all good examples. Try to focus on important key words to describe how advancements in technology have improved these products, which the patient is very familiar with. Chances are the patient has seen these changes improve their experience with these products and will be able to relate how digital lenses can improve their eyeglasses. I try to focus on key words such as clarity, color and contrast, and I allow the patient to link these improvements to their own vision experience without overloading them with technical information.”
When it comes to sunglasses, polarized lenses will help patients experience that wow factor when out in the sun. Instead of just a lens tint, a polarized lens incorporates a series of grid-like filters, providing advanced glare protection from the sun, especially from flat surfaces such as water and roadways. There are several tabletop demos that can be ordered from your surfacing or finishing labs, and many of them are fully covered or offer coupons to offset the purchase.
A personal trick is to have a first timer try on a polar pair of shades and have them look at a frame display with other polarized lenses. Then ask them to turn their head 90 degrees to the side; they will think you’re a magician when all of the lenses become opaque.
Many of the premium polarized sunglass companies such as Maui Jim and Costa Del Mar offer add-ons such as a backside AR coating and gradient, bi-gradient and solid front side mirrors. Costa for example, offers patients the option to choose a colored mirror lens in their sunglasses (color recommendation will depend on light conditions and where they like to spend their time). Additionally, Costa automatically includes a backside UV-AR treatment on all plano glass mirror sunglasses, and the UV-AR treatment can be added to all polycarbonate or Trivex Rx sunglasses. When showing these products, don’t forget to mention that the patient’s prescription order can also be integrated.
“My tip for selling polarized sunglasses with bi-gradient mirrors is to tell the patient that the sunglass not only cuts the glare, but thanks to those front side mirrors, the lens is technically doing the squinting for you in the bright sun conditions. This one tip, plus taking them outside to test a polarized lens in the sun, makes selling polarized products easy and fun,” said optician Hamid Pourghassemi, ABOC, of New Image Optical Shop in Media, PA.
The simple explanation to remember is that these are UV reactive lenses that darken when out in the sun. There are several companies with a wide range of photochromic brands including Transitions Signature, Transitions Vantage and Transitions XTRActive from Transitions Optical, Transitions Drivewear from Younger Optics, Carl Zeiss Vision’s PhotoFusion, HOYA Sensity, Signet Armorlite PhotoViews, VISION EASE LifeRx and ChangeRx, and VSP SunSync to consider, with many of them offering demonstration versions to use with your patients. These samples allow you to activate them with your patient by taking them outside in the sun or using a UV activation box or handy UV flashlight to trigger the lenses right there at the dispensing table.
Office manager Giselle Palmasano of Denville Family Eyecare in Denville, NJ, said, “In many ways, we present them and think of photochromics as an all-in-one pair of glasses for our patients. They automatically activate and change back without any effort, making them an easy sell. The added bonus for us is that the patient was already purchasing glasses. By adding photochromics, we collect additional revenue while making our patient’s lives easier.”
Think beyond drawing hourglass progressive lens pictures at the dispensing table, and reach out to your labs and lens designers for support selling their products. Branded countercards are a solid way to connect patients with the latest lens designs on the market and help convey a level of trust between you, the manufacturer and the patient. If you operate a busier practice, include brochures in your waiting areas and exam rooms too. This will allow idle patients to complete some research on their own and the doctors to sell the latest progressive lens options from the chair too.
Paoli Opticians’ Martin Langdon, ABOC, said, “If the patient is a current wearer, be sure to learn as much as you can about their current lenses. (Do they like the reading segment, how are the zones positioned, is there distortion, etc.) With this knowledge, you can customize their new lenses based on their progressive likes and dislikes from the past.” By educating your patients on the specifics of the progressives, you establish confidence in the product, even before they begin to use it. Also, a value is created beyond what the price tag dictates.
Frank Gimbel, ABOC-AC, is an advanced certified ABO optician and owner of Gimbel Opticians in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. 800.358.8258 • ZEISS.com/Lenses • Customer.Service@Zeiss.com // Costa 800.447.3700 • CostaDelMar.com • Sales@CostaDelMar.com // Essilor of America, Inc. 800.542.5668 • CrizalUSA.com // HOYA Vision Care, North America 877.528.1939 • HOYAVision.com • SalesSupport@HOYAVision.com // Maui Jim, Inc. 888.666.5905 • MauiJim.com // Signet Armorlite, Inc. 800.759.0075 • SignetArmorlite.com • MarketingLiterature@SignetArmorlite.com // Transitions Optical, Inc. 800.848.1506 • Transitions.com • CustomerService@Transitions.com• TransitionsPro.com // VISION EASE 800.328.3449 • VISIONEASE.com • Info@VisionEase.com // VSP Optics Group SunSyncLenses.com • SunSync@VSP.com // Younger Optics 800.366.5367 • DriveWearLens.com • Marketing@YoungerOptics.com