The Rewards of refined team training
Changing habits involves effort. Creating lasting change takes commitment. When the daily grind gets easier due to your team’s ability to sell eyewear to more patients with simplicity and no pressure, that’s a huge reward in and of itself for putting in the effort of implementing refined optical training.
You may find yourself saying “yeah but…
- will it really make a difference in my profitability?”
- will my team even use it?”
- how long will it take for my team to really understand it?”
The thing with potential is that it is impossible to predict. How can you measure something that hasn't happened yet?
How to tell if your team needs a refined training resource.
The optical field is extremely dynamic. There is so much to learn when starting out. Many optical team members have invisible limitations placed on them because they were never taught the proper way of doing a task, so they “kinda just figure it out” This figure it out on-the-job learning creates insecurities in team members.
These insecurities will often result in defensiveness when questioned later on in the employee’s tenure. A better way is to provide a resource for all employees is to offer access to learning information that will set the foundation for a successful career in eyecare.
Understanding how optical teams sell eyewear after refined training versus reflecting on previous habits will help to gauge the potential of what improved training can do for your optical. This is where the true rewards can be found. Here is what our member feedback has been when optical teams make a shift and implement a refined team training.
3 ways your team is made stronger by refined team training
Selling lenses for the sake of optics.
Seems like a no brainer but when members are reporting that their teams “are selling more quality lenses than before” complete with the best treatments, we began to dive deeper to identify why. Turns out it all comes down to communication. When your team is able to confidently convey how the lenses will improve life for the patient, the patient is much happier to buy. Communicating the value of optics is a massive benefit to the success of the practice.
Recommending frame quality over labels.
Brand labels are often an easy sell, but big labels lack the uniqueness that patients crave in independent opticals. Teams that have a refined training recognize that popular frame brand labels have their place in the optical, but that place is NOT in the forefront. The ability for an optical team to identify the uniqueness of a handmade frame and speak to the quality, fit, and durability, shows the refinement of the optical in the eyes of the patient.
Personal fulfillment in their performance.
Everyone has the desire to make an impact and feel like they are making a difference in this world. Those life-changing optical stories that we all have, i.e. the patient who first sees the detail of the leaves in the trees, or who’s headaches went away, etc. Team members report having more of these encounters with patients where each team member reports that they are making a difference on a regular basis.
Much of the success of this conversation comes down to whether your team leads with features vs. patient experience when discussing products with patients. A feature focused conversation discusses the index of refraction or the abbe value of lenses, or the hydrophobic/oleophobic nature, or light transmission of the anti-reflective coating. A patient experience focused conversation discusses how much thinner and more comfortable high index lenses will be for the patient; or that the anti-reflective treatment will allow for their eyes to be seen in pictures or videos, or that they don’t have the fatigue of straining through glare on their lens. One relates to the product, the other relates to the practical benefits a patient experiences, and the latter is what influences the actual decision about what to buy.
4 bad habits that refined training can address
Your team is concerned about the patient’s spending
When the conversation between your optical team and the patient revolves around price, the patient focuses on the price. Make no mistake, price is a factor, but should not be the main focus of the conversation. Identifying alternative points for the conversation and having the confidence to steer the focus to those points will allow for your team to create patients who purchase because of the perceived value of the eyewear not the price.
Your team discusses warranties over optics
If the conversation when discussing lenses with the patient includes “and there is an X time in X year warranty” then your team is selling the warranty over optics. This can lead to a mindset that is dependent on the warranty for both your team and the patient, this mindset will inevitably eat into your profitability. But it doesn’t have to be this way! A refined training will allow for your team to better communicate the superior optics of the lenses in a relatable way that your patient can understand.
Your team uses excessive industry jargon
If your team is using optical lingo around a patient like: fitting height, PD measurement, or stating names of progressive styles, then odds are your patient is nodding along without really understanding what is being said. Understanding this is vital to the patient being comfortable with the buying process; when your patient does not completely understand what is being discussed then they will be forced to fall back on information they do know, often this is price. They understand the value of a dollar. And a lack of understanding jargon will cause patients to rely on their knowledge of money.
For example: If a patient does not understand what you are referring to when you are talking about the Hoya EX3 anti-glare treatment on the lens, they will fall back on the price as the point of value, instead of the experience the product itself brings to the patient. Using optical jargon will limit the conversation with the patient causing the patient to stick with what they feel they can control which is price.
Many doctors and office managers will attempt to eliminate eyecare lingo when talking to the patients, but because our verbiage is so unique it is difficult for the leadership to avoid it when they themselves are in a conversation with patients too! If your office is using optical jargon with the patients in any way, you are in need of refined team training. In a refined training, the team is equipped with not only a list of “don’t say this” but also a list of “say this instead”.
Your team allows labels to control the narrative
Your patient’s experience will not be as memorable or unique when your optical is dominated by big labels like Coach, Ray-Ban, Oakley, or any other extremely well known collection that patients can get anywhere. If your practice relies on these labels as showcase brands, then your patient will start viewing eyewear that way as well. There is a better balance that can be achieved.
When a patient arrives in your office they will relate eyewear with brand labels they have seen on familiar marketing campaigns. Outside of eyewear, brands like Coach have a reputation for the quality and craftsmanship of their leather bags and shoes. But when it comes to eyewear, the Coach name is licensing the label to EssilorLuxottica. This manufacturer will now create the frames in a very inexpensive way then slap on a very expensive licensed logo. The consumer then assumes that the Coach eyewear is made with the same craftsmanship and attention to detail as the Coach handbags and wallets. This is simply not the case.
For example: When a patient comes in asking for a Coach frame. A refined team member will show them some Coach frames then adapt the focus with a conversation like, “Well Mrs. Smith if you are looking for quality and a luxury fit you should try these Lafont frames. They are handmade in Paris and the moment you put them on you will feel the difference in quality.”
If the bad habits listed above happen in your practice, you should know that there is help out there for you! You should also know that building a refined team of talented staff will develop the kinds of behaviors that your office will benefit from in the short term and in the long run. Having a refined team that can confidently speak to the difference in the quality of independent brands will raise the bar on every metric in your office from patient satisfaction to the bottom line in practice growth.
What does refined optical team training look like?
Our members at Spexy have shared their perspective on the uniqueness of their membership and why their teams have found success through their refined learning.
4 often overlooked aspects of team training
Easy access to trainings
The optical industry is so busy and has so many moving parts that down-time is rare. So when a team member does find the moments of free-time available, having a learning option that can be utilized at any time and from anywhere has proven to be a huge success in team members actually accessing the content. This is especially helpful given how people choose what to watch in their free time these days. People are accustomed to on-demand programming, and many team training programs in the space are antiquated and prescriptive instead of flexible and engaging.
A learning resource for every position within the office
Empowering every member on staff with the knowledge to understand the basics of optics allows for a much more fluid experience with patient care and intensified camaraderie among the team. The more each staff member knows about successful patient communication and how to set up the rest of your team for success, the more easily all of your KPIs (key performance indicators) will be influenced by changes in behavior. Furthermore, teaching each staff member how to deal with common patient issues and objections will lead to a higher capture rate.
Entertaining nuggets of great information
In this TikTok and YouTube driven world we live in, it seems like torture to ask a team member to study a textbook on opticianry. Let’s be honest, most of your team has not even read the employee manual all the way through. Having a resource with entertaining information that tells you the issue, teaches the solution, and directs on implementing it in real life has created great results for members.
Training how to actually sell
There are many brilliant opticians in our industry who can calculate a patient’s approximate decentration in their head, but they are terrible at closing an eyewear sale. Sales is nothing to be ashamed of and when sales are done properly they do not feel forced or come off as pushy to the consumer. This is no fault of our own, think about it the eyecare field is the only field that needs a sale of goods for our patient to experience the amazing prescription we found for them. Yet neither optometrists nor opticians are truly trained on how to sell.
Refining the training procedure and access in your optical office will massively improve the growth of your optical along with the confidence of your team members. Spexy Members are seeing a massive improvement in their teams, and you can too.