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Thread: Sales incentives

  1. #1
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Sales incentives

    I'm interested in considering whether sales incentives are a positive thing for our office.

    I feel the tendency in our office is to try to have patients "save money" (maybe it begins with me) instead of offering them useful suggestions on products. Not enough higher index. Not enough photochromics or AR coatings.

    I can get laboratory data that show our percentages compared to the area's average.

    How effective have you found "revenue sharing" to change the focus from, frankly, suggesting being cheap to suggesting the better products?

    Thanks.

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    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    I'm interested in considering whether sales incentives are a positive thing for our office.

    I feel the tendency in our office is to try to have patients "save money" (maybe it begins with me) instead of offering them useful suggestions on products. Not enough higher index. Not enough photochromics or AR coatings.

    I can get laboratory data that show our percentages compared to the area's average.

    How effective have you found "revenue sharing" to change the focus from, frankly, suggesting being cheap to suggesting the better products?

    Thanks.
    Super complicated question, and I predict you're going to get answers all across the spectrum. I dislike spiffs and individual bonuses, but group bonuses can really bring a team together.

    I've found over my career that three things improve optical revenue above all:

    1) Position your practice as one that dispenses premium product. Just do it. Don't offer A-level ARs unless the patient presses for them. Don't offer ancient non-digital PAL designs unless the patient presses for them. Don't put your entry-level frames out on the sales floor; make the patient ask to see them. You are experts in this business: be experts and dispense premium product. That doesn't mean everyone needs to be in a Zeiss Individual, but it does mean that no one is in an Ovation.

    2) Have any sales bonus be staff-wide and based on an overall monthly goal. Everyone contributes to optical sales, starting with check-in. Eliminate any departmental rivalry or resentment.

    3) Start the sales process in the exam room.
    I know a lot of doctors hate this, but AR sales in particular will skyrocket. Walk the patient out, hand them off to an optician, and be able to tell the optician what the patient needs. I had a three-pair sale yesterday afternoon wherein the doctor brought the patient out and told me, "Andrew, XXXXXX needs an everyday pair of progressives, polarized suns, and a pair of dedicated ccomputer glasses." Boom. Done. It was just frame selection and finessing lens options from there.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  3. #3
    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    1. Hire properly educated staff.

    2. Pay them what they're truly worth.

    3. Profit.

    No need for fancy "incentives", "spiffs", or any of that noise. Keep it simple. Never part out your eyewear, or try to somehow soften the percevied financial blow of selling quality products. As an example - have you ever been to a decent camera store before? They don't bat an eye showing you a $15K lens, $20k body, or any number of equally "expensive" products that greatly assist your ability to get the shot. I can't afford the vast majority of it, but I promise you I would never buy from any shop that simply assumed I didn't want to know/understand the best solution to my unique needs, and therefore only showed me the cheap crap from that one dusty dark corner.

    You do you Doc, but I would strongly caution against the piecemeal business model. Simply give every patient the BEST option first, stop using parlance like "add-ons", or "upgrades". They AREN'T. They are the best form/best choice for your patients. If that doesn't work for them, ask them what they feel they would like to live without, and give them the choice to make. You don't have to present in any sort of pretentious, or stuffy manner, simply offer them what you would choose for yourself if that was your own prescription. Educate the patient on what eyewear does, and can do for them, and give them a SINGLE total price for the completed eyewear. It's easy enough to give them the power to cut corners on their glasses if they wish from there.

  4. #4
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Ironically, the person I'm thinking about JUST TODAY received the (gratis) job for her daughter...

    One of our best frames.
    Blue-reflecting AR.
    Higher index material.
    Digital SV design.

    That's to your point, Uileann.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    I'm interested in considering whether sales incentives are a positive thing for our office.

    I feel the tendency in our office is to try to have patients "save money" (maybe it begins with me) instead of offering them useful suggestions on products. Not enough higher index. Not enough photochromics or AR coatings.

    I can get laboratory data that show our percentages compared to the area's average.

    How effective have you found "revenue sharing" to change the focus from, frankly, suggesting being cheap to suggesting the better products?

    Thanks.
    Getting the lab data can be very helpful. I strongly recommend this. As far as useful suggestions for better products.... I have a lens menu that I created. It has a lens type section, materials section and a section for lens treatments. I sit down with the patient and go over everything starting at lens types. I find this to be very helpful because the patient can see the information. I highlight their choices or my recommendations as we go along. I even highlight stuff for future reference. Maybe this time they're getting progressives and maybe next they'll come back in a few months to get computer or sunglasses. It lets them know what is available. They don't order what they don't know is available! Also, they can't come back and say we never told them about something. It's all on there. Make it to fit the stuff you use and recommend for your office. I have progressives categorized in to 3 groups. Conventional, standard digital and enhanced digital. I even have a cheat sheet of photos of different corridors to sort of show the patient the difference between a conventional, digital and near variable focus. When they can see what the heck you're talking about, it makes a huge difference. It's just something typed up on the computer (with our office name and phone number on it) and I print a stack and keep it in the dispensary. You can even keep them in the exam room and highlight something you want the optician to discuss with the patient! Cheap and useful. Often, I have patients come in with the paper I gave them months ago. Maybe they didn't have the funds at that time or maybe they wanted to think about it first. I also write pricing on the back as we go so they know exactly what they're doing. The patient is well educated and is ordering what is best for them. Due to this, pretty much all our progressives are digital. (which are better in my opinion!) Maybe you educated them on AR but they don't have the funds for it this time, but next time they knew they wanted it and planned for it so they have the funds.

    As far as sales incentives. IDK. That's not my cup of tea. I do like spontaneous little bonuses to let your staff know they're doing a good job. Number were great this month? Surprise everyone gets a gift card! You see a staff member doing something above and beyond... buy them lunch or something. Let them know you saw them doing something good and it didn't go unnoticed. They're appreciated. Cash is always good too

  6. #6
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    So, really, if I combine the advice of both Ange and Uil, I'm hearing that it's a.) an office philosophy that matters, b.) the entire office needs to be a stakeholder (or whatever), c.) tit-for-tat incentives are a drag.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    tit-for-tat incentives are a drag.
    God yes. Although everyone likes to be appreciated. Also... if one person did a great job and the others are slackers, don't reward the whole office. It's lame.

  8. #8
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    Personally, I just go out and do my best and always recommend the best and go from there. I don't care about the prices... let the patient tell you what they can and cannot afford. You're selling good vision and not crap.

  9. #9
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I need a 10-gallon drum of that, M.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeHamm View Post
    3) Start the sales process in the exam room. I know a lot of doctors hate this, but AR sales in particular will skyrocket. Walk the patient out, hand them off to an optician, and be able to tell the optician what the patient needs. I had a three-pair sale yesterday afternoon wherein the doctor brought the patient out and told me, "Andrew, XXXXXX needs an everyday pair of progressives, polarized suns, and a pair of dedicated ccomputer glasses." Boom. Done. It was just frame selection and finessing lens options from there.
    Holy ****, this cannot be emphasized enough. If the doctor is on board with making nearly any recommendations whatsoever, it goes sooooooooooooo far in the patients' heads. That doesn't mean you need to be saying "yes, everyone should be in a PAL" if you think a flat top would be more appropriate for their situation, but walking out and recommending AR or poly/trivex, or whatever? That means I can point to it and say "well, the doctor recommended this for you based on what you talked about in the exam" and half of any battle I have is done.

    As well, starting at the top and dropping a category is usually how we handle products. You want a PAL? I'm putting you (most likely) in an X. Little pricey? Ok, in which case we drop one tier or whatever and now you're in a physio DRx or what have you. I typically don't even go below that. We have such a miniscule percentage of our patients who are in an ovation or natural, and that's because they themselves specifically called out "I want only what my insurance covers/pay absolute minimum or I walk". Don't even think about "good, better, best". Just, as an optician, going "Best. Maybe better, if I HAVE to"

  11. #11
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I need a 20-gallon drum of that, too.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    I'm interested in considering whether sales incentives are a positive thing for our office.

    I feel the tendency in our office is to try to have patients "save money" (maybe it begins with me) instead of offering them useful suggestions on products. Not enough higher index. Not enough photochromics or AR coatings.

    I can get laboratory data that show our percentages compared to the area's average.

    How effective have you found "revenue sharing" to change the focus from, frankly, suggesting being cheap to suggesting the better products?

    Thanks.
    I have worked in almost every sales environment and this is what I have found:

    1. Sales incentives work but it turns people dishonest and against each other. You end up with sales hogs. You end up with people who will oversell to get money.
    2. If you structure your incentives in a way that staff find annoying (you did 79% of your sales goal but you need 80% to get any bonus) you will turn people against you. Don't play games, you'll end up with high turn over.
    3. The environment that you work in (high end/ middle/ state) directly affects how people sell. I'm fortunate to work in an area where I do not get push back. But if your staff are constantly facing rejection when they try to sell stuff then they will just say f*** it and will become a factory production-line of "whatever" works.
    4. If staff have a say in what they sell (get to pick frames) and have good training on lenses then they will be excited to sell things. Every SINGLE time I've worked in an office where I simply got frames from corporate we 80% of the time hated it.
    5. MOST IMPORTANT hire the right people and pay them well. We live in a time where employees, especially good ones, will jump ship at a moment's notice. Higher wages will attract better and more talented staff. You, as a boss/owner, are replaceable. Always remember that.

    That being said, I think a monthly "revenue sharing" option is great. Like I said, do not make it tricky and don't appear cheap or insulting, make it a set number like 3% of optical sales goes to the whole crew (assuming sales of $70K that's $2100 to split amongst everybody evenly).

  13. #13
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter lensmanmd's Avatar
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    Prentice Pro 9000 is on to something. I’ve worked in retail and revenue based optics for too many decades. Both sides of the glass.
    Spiffs encourage overselling.

    The better approach is to incentivize remake reduction, refund reduction, and cost control.
    All staff, including frontline sales, backend dispensers, and ODs, plus lab staff (if you have a techs on site), will not only benefit, they will help improve the bottom line.
    I bend light. That is what I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post
    1. Hire properly educated staff.

    2. Pay them what they're truly worth.

    3. Profit.

    No need for fancy "incentives", "spiffs", or any of that noise. Keep it simple. Never part out your eyewear, or try to somehow soften the percevied financial blow of selling quality products. As an example - have you ever been to a decent camera store before? They don't bat an eye showing you a $15K lens, $20k body, or any number of equally "expensive" products that greatly assist your ability to get the shot. I can't afford the vast majority of it, but I promise you I would never buy from any shop that simply assumed I didn't want to know/understand the best solution to my unique needs, and therefore only showed me the cheap crap from that one dusty dark corner.

    You do you Doc, but I would strongly caution against the piecemeal business model. Simply give every patient the BEST option first, stop using parlance like "add-ons", or "upgrades". They AREN'T. They are the best form/best choice for your patients. If that doesn't work for them, ask them what they feel they would like to live without, and give them the choice to make. You don't have to present in any sort of pretentious, or stuffy manner, simply offer them what you would choose for yourself if that was your own prescription. Educate the patient on what eyewear does, and can do for them, and give them a SINGLE total price for the completed eyewear. It's easy enough to give them the power to cut corners on their glasses if they wish from there.
    DANG! You speak truth! I would also add that, in order to educate your patient, you must first be educated. I don't know what the doc's case is, but the vast majority of "opticians" out there do not know anything at all.

  15. #15
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    Extra words of wisdom:

    1. Think with their wallet, not yours.

    2. Make them tell you no.

    3. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  16. #16
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I like #3. But I don't see how it applies. I guess that's why I like it.

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    In early days of progressives Varilux used to pay a spiff to the dispenser for every pair sold it was $10 not bad for 30 years ago. This was always with the consent of the owner of the business. This had a huge impact on sales and the owners liked it because it did not come out if their pocket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    I like #3. But I don't see how it applies. I guess that's why I like it.
    This is more so for the owners. Don't come up with a circuitous sales bonus incentive. People will quit over that BS.

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