A new year brings about new resolutions but for most practices, the goal is always a simple one – increase profits and grow your practice. There are many ways to increase profits in your practice, but let’s talk about the basics: attracting more patients and selling more products. There are two ways to measure if you’re doing it effectively: measuring the percentage of patient growth and the rate of your optical capture. We’ll talk about how you can calculate these metrics and how you can make that number better!
How to Attract More Patients and Sell More at Your Optical Practice
Increase New Patient Growth Per Year
[New Patient Growth = (# of patients this year - # of patients previous year) / # of patients previous year x 100]
This is a good activity to do at the beginning of this year. How did you do in 2015 compared t0 2014? Did your patient grow by 8-10% in the previous year? That’s the industry average, but of course, doing better can’t hurt! If you didn’t meet the industry benchmarks, there are a couple of ways to market your practice to attract new patients. Most practices spend 4% of their annual expenses on marketing and promotions. Here are a couple of ideas to put your marketing effort towards:
- Start a blog: Blogging is a great tool for increasing traffic to your website through SEO, developing yourself as a thought leader in the industry, and building trust with patients. The SEO impact is very important in helping new patients find your website. Most practices already have an established website, but if that’s not bringing in more patients, a blog could a great supplementto getting more patients. For a complete guide, read our post: Should your practice start a blog in 2016?
- Sponsorship and Community Involvement: If you don’t want to focus on online marketing, especially if your practice is located in a rural area, maintaining a strong sense of community is a great way to build your customer base. Cost effective ways to create this bond and increase word of mouth is sponsoring local events such as a 5k run/walk, hosting educational classes at schools, or even a little league baseball tournament. This is a fun way to get involved with an audience that most OD’s haven’t thought of communicating with yet.
Increase Optical Capture Rate
[Optical Capture Rate = # of patients who filled their prescription / # of patients given a prescription x 100]
Frame and contact lens sales are a big source of revenue for many practices, so try calculating this one every month. Here are a quick ways to increase your optical capture rate that you can easily have your staff, especially the optician, incorporate into their workflow:
- Explain the value of their purchase: There are countless articles about how important it is for opticians and ODs to explain the value of a pair of glasses to a patient. But instead, an easy way to explain the value of glasses is to compare it to the activities and electronics your patients treasure each day. $200 might seem like a huge upfront cost and might scare patients away, but check out this infographic that your practice can print and keep by your desk as a cheat sheet to help customers understand what they are actually paying for. Read: How to prove the value of quality eyewear.
- Think about multiple sales: Don’t lose a sale assuming that your patients aren’t interested in purchasing new glasses if they don’t have a new prescription or if they are contact lens wearers. Most insurance companies cover frames every year, so even if your patient doesn’t have a new prescription, ask if they’d be interested in a new look, and check if the insurance payer covers it. Contact lens wearers could also wear glasses or if not, should have a pair of backup glasses. Train your front desk and optician to ask these questions and they could help increase sales in your practice.
Start your new year off with these tips to increase patient growth and sales in your practice! For more tips like these, subscribe to the blog!