AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 41

problem. Lifestyle dispensing has
three elements:
1. The technician identifies and
records the patient's most visually challenging situation.
2. The doctor recommends a
specific lens technology and
verbally endorses the optician's
prowess at solving visual acuity problems.
3. The optician is taught how to
politely answer "how much?"
questions after educating the
patient about premium spectacle lenses.
No matter what happens during
the exam, the optician must be
prepared for the patient who says,
"I have XYZ vision plan and want
just what it covers."
ROLE PLAYING
Encourage opticians to base frame
and lens recommendations on need
and not coverage. This series of
questions (asked of themselves as
they advise patients) might help:
1. Will they see well?
2. Will they feel their eyewear
helped them accomplish their
most visually challenging daily
tasks?
3. Will the eyewear purchased be
perceived as a good value?
4. Will the total eyewear experience create a repeat patient?
Based on these principles, the
conversation might start like this:
Optician: I understand you
want to use your coverage.
With your permission, let's
go over what the doctor recommended and then discuss
coverage. (Pause)
ENSURING VISION PLAN
PROFITABILITY
Modern ophthalmic lenses minimize
aberrations and provide clearer, more

comfortable vision. The fabrication
process that reduces distortion and
improves clarity is generally referred
to as wavefront technology combined with digitalized corrections.
As you would expect, this increases
wholesale costs.
Even the most modest optical is
supported by a stunningly complex
number of wholesale sources. When
pricing premium spectacle lenses,
ask these questions:
1. Is adjusted gross covering the
time (hourly rate) opticians
spend per patient encounter-
the optical consultation, dispensing, processing orders, etc.?
2. Historically, has 30% of this
patient population been upgrading to premium lenses?
3. Can optical charge enough for
premium lenses to cover staff
(question #1), rush shipping,
and any re-makes outside
30 days?
4. Could finishing and edging be
done on-site?
Knowing the numbers, now fill
in these blanks: The optical's current
profit margin is ___% and the practice has a goal of ___%.
Is profit disappointing? Perform
a 25-file spot check to determine
why. Look at 25 recent optical sales
that included XYZ vision plan and
premium products. Record revenue
and expenses. Then:
1. Cross-reference vision plan
reimbursement and separate
frame and lenses income.
2. Assign expense: (a) fabrication;
(b) spectacle lenses; and (c)
frame fees.
3. Scrutinize monthly optical
bills and pro-rate shipping
and handling.
4. Include additional fees paid
to the plan's authorized lens
fabrication center.

5.

6.

Evaluate consignment
items. Are you paying the
vendor exactly what you
were reimbursed?
Benchmark cost of goods
for these sales. Adjust prices
until net meets your internal
profit goals.

THRIVING
The next time an exciting opportunity comes along, think carefully. Is
there extra admin time or training
to cut and edge dispensed spectacle
lenses? What's the cost of using the
plan's vendors? Will there be training time for employees learning to
enter orders into an online portal?
Do opticians need sales training to
move from being order-takers to
solution educators? Thinking this
through will make the ROI (or lack
thereof ) clearer.
Only by committing to training
and hard work will your optical
survive continued adjustments to
vision plan offerings. Set objective, numeric performance goals.
Become a practice that solves
vision problems run by a management team that watches data,
costs, and resources. AE
NOTES
Hamilton, D. P. (2001, February 12).
The price isn't right: Internet pricing has
turned out to be a lot trickier than retailers
expected. Wall Street Journal.
2
Turen, R. (December 2001). Loss leader is
no loss. Travel Weekly.
1

"

No matter
what
happens
during the
exam, the
optician
must be
prepared for
the patient
who says,
"I have XYZ
vision plan
and want
just what it
covers."

Donna Suter (423-4003727, suter4pr@
donnasuterconsulting.
com) is the senior optical
consultant/business coach
at Donna Suter Consulting,
Chattanooga, Tenn.

www.asoa.org // AE

41


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4

AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - Cover1
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - Cover2
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 1
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 2
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AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - Cover3
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