One of the best ways of making your practice more successful with less stress and time demands is by doing what I call “one to many” consultations. As opticians, we are used to offering one-to-one appointments day in, day out, but recently I discovered the benefits of group consultations.
Although we can not do more than one refraction at a time, what we can do is “one to many” consultations for educational purposes. I shall explain…
Educating the many
During every sight test appointment, I try to educate my patients on eye health topics that are relevant to them. For example, if they present with signs of UV damage, I talk about all of the ways that UV can affect the eyes. Likewise, if they have signs of common eye conditions, like cataracts and dry eye, I educate them on these topics too.
However, the big problem is that practitioners have a limited time available to them during an eye test. Often, there is literally just a few minutes at the end of an appointment where practitioners can explain very important health concerns. Therefore, patients do not always take that information in.
For example, I have recommended sunglasses to hundreds, if not thousands, of patients, yet I was finding that very few were purchasing them.
One day, quite spontaneously, I sent a letter and an email to all my patients inviting them to the practice for a presentation on How the sun can knacker your eyes. While I know that it is not the most elegant of titles, by jolly it got their attention.
The response was unbelievable. The session was so oversubscribed that we had to run a morning and an afternoon session.
"The session was so oversubscribed that we had to run a morning and an afternoon session"
Presenting to patients
The presentation was a hit with patients – they all said that they had never experienced an event like it at another opticians. Although it was an educational talk and they found it informative, they also enjoyed it.
To ensure that there was an element of fun, as the presentation was summer-themed, we decorated the practice with some inflatable palm trees and colourful bunting. I also dressed in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.
The talk was around 20 minutes long, during which I was able to explain, in much more detail than I am afforded during the final two minutes of a sight test, the dangers of UV on the eyes.
"I sold more sunglasses in one hour than I had in the previous six months"
By hosting the presentation and educating my patients using a time saving “one to many” rather than “one-to-one” approach, I sold more sunglasses in one hour than I had in the previous six months.
Therefore, my advice to other practice owners is: don’t be afraid to do a presentation. I’m generally quite a shy person, but when you know a topic inside out, there is nothing to fear. As optometrists, we should all be able to talk with ease on common eye problems.
So go forth and arrange a talk at your practice. I am now hosting presentations on a monthly basis and they continue to be extremely well received by patients. However, you may want to leave your shorts and Hawaiian shirt at home...
Three steps to success
- Invite your patients into practice for educational presentations
- Pick relevant themes. For example, tackle UV during the summer months
- Keep it informative, yet fun.
For more information, visit Mr Prouse's website.