Monday, September 14, 2009

Marketing (and Selling) Basics - More to existing patients

There are many ways we can increase our business - here are a simple 2 that we all endeavour to achieve:

1. Find new customers
2. Sell more to existing customers.

In my last post I outlined a couple of items to find new customers, here I deal with how we can encourage greater spending by existing customers.

Generally existing patients can spend more in the following ways:

1. They see something they have to have - they are tempted and they give in whether they need it or not.
2. They are presented a higher quality and higher value product when they visit for their regular purchase.
3. They are offered something that fits with a different part of their lifestyle.

We've all done it. We look at MP3 players and whilst our head is telling us this one has all the features and works fine, our heart is telling us - but this one looks so amazing, and works so much more smoothly....

When we see something we desire we often justify it to ourselves...do you really need another pair of shoes? Do you really need that new driver - will it really give you 30 yards more off the tee? In the same way we can offer excellent products and customers will justify it to themselves if we present it well enough. This certainly happens at trunk shows - I have certainly had great success with JFRey as it's so different.

Why would anyone improve their eyewear when they have been totally happy wearing the same thing for the last 10 years? Well they may be persuaded by new technology, increased comfort and improved vision. Henry Jullien, for example, have may models in their collection made of Nanoflex - a material that is stronger and lighter than titanium. They also have an amazing history and design and production facility in France - again quite unique these days.

Then there are those many children and adults that play sports, run, cycle - Optician editor Chris Bennet, Ironman extraordinaire often preaches the missed opportunity sports specific eyewear presents opticians - but very few stock it let alone make sports vision a marketing tool for creating second pair purchases and new contacts.

In all these things profits benefit from an increased focus on maximising sales.....hmmm....

A comment about selling

Do we really see "selling" focus as a dirty function un-worthy of a health professional? Well, I suppose you'd be forgiven that view were you pushing a product on someone they neither wanted nor needed.

However, enlightened and beneficial selling comes from asking good questions of a patient and matching a product to their needs or wants.

The question "Do you play sports?" opens up a great conversation to offer a sports frame or a tint that can help them to perform better.

Will your patient be offended if you present them the opportunity to buy the most expensive frame in the practice?

Selling comes from connection with the patient and understanding their needs, problems, wants and desires and stems from that.

How many pushy sales people do you ask back into practice?! But those that help you, introduce you to new innovative things and solve your problems....?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Urgent - Sight tests for drivers needed NOW

I am convinced there is a desperate need for the government and optical bodies to increase the awareness of the nation's poor eye sight and to encourage people to have an eye examination - especially for those who drive.

Why?

The number of people obviously without children parking in Sainsbury's Parent and Child parking bays who cannot see the large yellow pushchair symbol and the cross-hatching yellow lines!

Boy, do we have a problem with our vision.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Marketing Basics - New patients

Marketing is mainly about making connections with those with whom you can enjoy a valuable relationship and enriching those relationships.

You may want to move your practice in a particular direction to find new more profitable customers but do not want to alienate existing patients...

How do you do this?

Simply - specific targeting and aligning your offer to them.

Firstly:
1. Define who you want to attract.
Understand who the people you want to attract are. This will help you to know which eye wear / examination services are interesting to these people. Outline the traits that mark out these people. Over 40? High spenders? Like golf, fashion, working out? This will help you to decide what you will offer to attract these people. For example, over 40s may be attracted by more in depth examinations whilst to build a younger patient base use eyewear brands and social media to make connections.

2. Be where these people go.
Network at the local golf club, spa, restaurant. See if there are opportunities to hold an event with an up-market hairstylist, art gallery or jeweller in order to make new connections - this way you can share your good customers without losing them to the competition.

3. Offer them something they desire.
People buy for 2 reasons - because they have to and because they want to. It does not take too much thought to know that the former spend as little as they can whilst the latter spend much more. Offer products people desire - perhaps present more benefits during the dispensing, starting with the highest quality first. You may be great at attracting these people to your practice but unless you have something they desire they will leave disappointed. Eyewear collections are not just stock that can pull people in - they are a foundation on which you can build a market and position yourself.

I am often suggesting to my customers that when they consider a new collection think "How do I reach the people that will buy this?" Otherwise you are buying something that may stay on your racks or shelves.

Of course, in any of these 3 headings there are a myriad of marketing options and issues to remember to ensure success. If you have any questions for me then let me know.

Here is a great website that may give you some ideas on how to market your business:

The Optical Vision Site
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