Nearly 300 practitioners attended the Sight Care annual business conference for independents (26–27 February, Hilton Metropole Hotel Birmingham), with the new format declared a success.
With the theme Independent not alone, the conference format was a mix of keynote speakers, together with a series of workshops and masterclasses held throughout the day.
The aim of the new format was to give delegates the opportunity to plan their day around sessions which met their personal and business needs, Sight Care explained.
Sight Care chief executive, John French, told OT: “This is the first time we have held such a diverse and interactive selection of workshops and the reaction from our delegates and supporting partners has been incredible.”
The new format provided delegates with a series of workshops and masterclasses run by industry experts from Sight Care’s supporting partners – CooperVision, Essilor, Opticommerce, Silhouette and Maui Jim.
The topics included sales techniques, stepping up to the demands of contact lens wearers and online strategies to grow a practice.
On the eyewear side, there were sessions on multi pair dispensing, being a ‘sunglasses retail champion,’ as well as the motivation and emotional engagement behind a luxury purchase.
The keynote speaker was award winning social media expert, Philip Calvert, who gave two presentations. He led a masterclass on how practitioners could use LinkedIn to find new customers.
In his keynote lecture, People buy people – but will they buy you? How independent opticians can leverage social media to win customers in 2017, Mr Calvert emphasised that independent opticians cannot ignore the benefits of social media.
He highlighted how independent practitioners can use social media to attract new customers, position themselves as a valued professional in the community and add value to their existing customers.
After the first annual business conference since he took over as Sight Care chief executive, Mr French said: “With almost 300 delegates booking places at the event, the popularity of the sessions did pose a real challenge, requiring us to increase places on a number of workshops – a nice problem to have.”
Mr French added: “My special thanks to all our supporting partners and speakers who embraced the new format immediately, demonstrating to the independent practices attending our conference that, although they may be independent, they are not alone.”
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