the business of contact lenses
Create the Right Packaging to Sell Your Contact Lens Practice
BY GARY GERBER, OD
It's been said in beverage advertising that people buy the label. On a broader scale, the famous violinist Joshua Bell proved the same thing. Bell played his $3.5 million Stradivarius violin in a busy train station in Washington, D.C., for 45 minutes and earned about $59. The night before he had played the same piece of music with the same violin in a concert hall to a sold-out audience that paid $100 a ticket to hear him play.
Just like most of us would prefer to drink Coors beer out of a Coors bottle and will pay more to see a virtuoso in a concert hall, packaging your contact lens practice is equally important. Wrap it up in the wrong package or put the wrong color bow on the box and your profits and enjoyment of practicing will suffer.
What's in the Box Counts Most
Beer, music, contact lenses — that's what goes inside the package, and of course you should perfect that before you concentrate on packaging. If you are planning to proclaim yourself as a "contact lens practice," make sure that you really are! Your clinical skills, technology, staff training, inventory, and systems need to be those of a fine-tuned contact lens machine.
This doesn't mean that you can't offer patients other services. But it does mean that being a "contact lens practice" in name only will get you mediocre (at best) results.
Wrapping it Up
Once you have the contents of your contact lens box perfected, it's time to start working on the box itself. There are three general components to consider: your physical office, your marketing, and your staff.
Office Your office space, inside and out, should reflect the quality of your contents. Highend audio stores won't succeed by displaying dusty equipment, and a Lexus dealership with dirty windows and poor lighting won't sell many cars. Your office has to have the look, feel, smell, and sound of an office worthy of the contents you've so carefully placed inside. Obviously you need cleanliness to the level of immaculate. Additionally, the "vibe" or feel of your office should mimic what you're trying to project. You can achieve this using certain colors and furniture, reducing clutter, and eliminating distracting signs or policy announcements. Play music that is in synch with your image rather than what you might prefer. And make sure the office not only looks clean, but smells clean and inviting too.
Marketing All internal and external marketing needs to reflect your carefully crafted content. It should be meticulously laid out, with a clean professional appearance and a look and feel that matches everything else you've done to this point. Tear your marketing apart down to fonts, colors, size, shape, paper stock and color, and anything else that might be involved. The content is king, but don't forget how that content is packaged.
Staff Finally, your staff also needs to be "packaged" correctly. The way they're dressed is the first step, and whether you decide on uniforms, dress clothes, scrubs, etc., it should be connected and aligned with your office appearance and marketing.
The "internal staff packaging" — how staff members carry themselves, speak to patients, and speak to each other — also has to be aligned with your content. Prospective lens wearers can be instantly derailed by a seemingly innocent comment that one staff member might make to another. It's impossible to monitor every staff interaction, but it's not impossible to continually stress to them their importance to the success of your practice. CLS
Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice – a company offering consulting, seminars and software solutions for optometrists. You can reach him at (800) 867-9303 or DrGerber@PowerPractice.com.