This article was created in partnership with Essilor, a proud supporter of CovalentCareers and new graduate optometrists. 😎
Growing your optometry practice is not easy.
It is especially challenging for those new practice owners who do not have an established patient base, and no idea of where to start when it comes to marketing, training staff, and understanding key performance indicators that impact business growth and health.
Essilor Experts™ is a partnership created to provide independent ECPs with valuable tools, resources, and training. This will help both new and established practices leverage Essilor products and services in order to grow, achieve their full potential, and provide care for more patients.
How does Essilor Experts Work?
Essilor Experts utilizes innovative marketing, advertising and digital tools to help strengthen your business and build your profits. Experienced sales consultants work with practices by leverage key components of the Essilor Experts program which include digital advertising, staff training, in-store tools, and ongoing business consulting leveraging the Experts Dashboard. Essilor Experts is designed to help practices attract patients, engage patients, and optimize results.
Essilor Experts starts by identifying your practices’ needs and works to create custom solutions and give you the tools, training, and skills needed to achieve your practices’ goals. This involves the following steps:
- First discussing the unique needs of your business, and receiving your Experts Dashboard and in-store merchandising materials.
- Setting goals and creating a plan during an initial business planning meeting with your Essilor sales consultants.
- Undergoing business reviews to discuss progress towards goals and explore new business opportunities.
- Taking advantage of ongoing training opportunities for you and your staff, both in-office and at offsite Essilor Experts Workshops.
Leveraging Marketing to Attract Patients
A key component of Essilor Experts involves marketing, one of the most challenging and cost-prohibitive aspects of building and managing a practice. Marketing is a critical component to ensuring a continual flow of patient traffic, particularly for newer practices. Unfortunately, most practices drastically under-spend in this area.
A survey conducted by NewGradOptometry.com probed practice owners on marketing and what kind of investments they are making in this important practice growth avenue.
Figure 1: NewGradOptometry 2017 General Survey of Optometrists and Optometry Students
With the majority of optometrists either not knowing what they spend or spending low dollar amounts on marketing, it’s clear that there is a strong need for marketing education and support.
In the same study, we asked practice owners to identify their number one goal over the next three years.
Figure 2: NewGradOptometry 2017 General Survey of Optometrists and Optometry Students
Almost 70% of respondents felt their number one practice goal in the next three years was to grow their business in their current location. This response was particularly interesting given that these very same practice owners admitted that they didn’t know what they were spending on marketing each month, or were spending low dollar amounts to market their practice. Marketing is a key driver of practice growth so this disparity is quite alarming.
Essilor Experts leverages targeted digital advertising and prioritized placement on Essilor’s heavily-used ECP locator to generate more leads for your practice. Digital advertising is key to getting new and established practices on the map and generating awareness with potential patients. Utilizing Essilor Experts eliminates the guesswork involved in choosing what marketing platforms to utilize, and invests resources into avenues that will produce the best ROI for your business.
Leveraging Training to Engage Patients
Getting patients in the door is just obstacle number one, the next thing you need to do is to ensure you create an exceptional experience for them.
Essilor Experts is committed to providing product training, staff training, and focused merchandising to help practices increase their capture rate, one of the single most important metrics of the overall success of a practice.
Essilor Experts will give your staff the knowledge and expertise that will enable them to confidently educate your patients on the products you are prescribing and recommending. This will help you achieve growth in key categories and, more importantly, ensure each patient receives the best possible lenses to address their needs.
Essilor Experts will help your practice leverage in-store merchandising to support the staff in their selling conversations with patients. Visual cues play a powerful role in advertising, and being able to display the story behind the lenses and products you and your staff are recommending can drastically improve capture rate.
Leveraging Experts Dashboard to Optimize Results
Finally, Essilor Experts provides ongoing business consulting, powered by the Experts Dashboard, to help you maximize the impact of the program on your practice. Most optometry practice owners struggle when it comes to managing the business aspects of a practice, and for good reason. Most ECPs do not have backgrounds in business and this is not a topic that is taught in optometry school.
Having a dedicated team to help manage the business aspects of your practice allows practice owners to focus on what they are experts in – treating patients.
The optometric industry has a number of key performance indicators – or KPIs – used to compare your practice against industry standards to ensure you are being as productive and profitable as possible.
As we know, KPIs are critical in:
- Helping an owner understand if the practice is on track to reach goals
- Increasing practice profitability
- Providing accountability for staff
- Providing guidance on what particular areas of your practice show opportunity for improvement
Understanding and continually tracking your key performance indicators is critical to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your practice, and helping you develop a strategy to facilitate continued growth.
In our 2017 NewGradOptometry.com User Survey, we discovered that oftentimes, practice owners are not making practice decisions based on KPIs.
Figure 3: NewGradOptometry 2017 General Survey of Optometrists and Optometry Students
Seeing that 42% number is really concerning. When practices better understand important business metrics, they can solve many of their growth problems.
Learn more about what KPIs are critical to understanding the performance of your practice in this article.
What kind of impact and results from participation* in Essilor Experts can you expect?
- 2% average capture rate increase
- 75+ leads per month per practice
- Increase in average transaction of $10-15
*Practices that have completed their initial business planning meeting.
What have people been saying about Essilor Experts?
“By partnering with Essilor, our practice is seeing the benefits that we always thought were only for our commercial big box competitors. We receive in-depth training, online marketing and in-office marketing materials, and our sales have increased significantly. It’s really fantastic.”
-Ryan Powell, OD
“All my doctors and staff are on the same page as far as what products are available to make the necessary recommendations for the patient. This ultimately has a positive effect on my practice’s financial bottom line.”
-Todd Fettig, OD
“We decided to join the Essilor Experts program, knowing it would help us reach our goals. Our opticians feel more confident selling the best lenses, giving our patients quality products and teaching them what is best for their everyday vision needs. We have increased sales beyond what we ever could have dreamed of.”
-Michael Waterman, OD
“The marketing aspect alone is worth every bit of time we’re going to invest. Then add to that the staff training, the dashboard, everything — I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t do it.”
–Stacie Virden, OD, FAAO
“It is a partnership with Essilor. We are working with them in the long run. We are going to continue quarterly business analysis, reassessing the goals that we set early on and growing those in the long term.”
-Melissa Tada, OD
For both new and existing practices looking to expand their patient bases and really grow their practices to reach full potential, the support, tools and education provided by Essilor Experts is truly invaluable.