I am just about to open my own practice as an optometrist. I want to provide a good range of lenses and especially progressive lenses because many of the people who live nearby are in their middle or older years. Do you have any hints and tips on how to help my practice prosper?

I have worked in many different types of practices and the most successful used a ‘three option’ system when dispensing progressive lenses.

The dispensing staff presented ‘good’, ‘better’, and ‘best’ options when discussing progressive lenses. The ‘good’ option was a low-cost progressive lens with a narrow intermediate corridor and a small reading zone. The ‘better’ option had a broader larger reading zone priced about 50% above the ‘good’ option. The ‘best option’ was the best progressive lens available on the market at the time and priced at 50% above the ‘better’ option.

Having options is very helpful. A broad range of options should be offered but not so many as to confuse the patient. Some patients will opt for the ‘best’ option. Also, the mid-range ‘better’ option seemed less expensive when presented alongside a more expensive choice.

In my experience, about 75% of patients will go for the ‘better’ mid-range option and the remainder split equally between the ‘good’ and ‘best’ options.

If you only have one option and that is the ‘good’ progressive then you will be missing out on those patients who would have been happy to pay for the ‘better’ or ‘best’ option.

If you only have one option and that is the ‘better’ progressive lens you will be missing out on those patients who would have been happy to pay for the ‘best’ option and may price those people who want a ‘good’ option out of your practice.

If you only have one option and that is the ‘best’ progressive lens then you will be pricing those that want a ‘good’ option and a ‘better’ option out of your practice.

When discussing the lenses start with the ‘better’ option. Explain that this is the choice of around 75% of your patients who need progressive lenses. If the patient is interested or impressed with the middle option then introduce the ‘best’ option and explain the benefits of it over the ‘better’ option.

If the patient is not interested or impressed with the middle option and their tone of voice and/or body language tells you they are cost-conscious then introduce the ‘good’ option and explain its benefits.

The three-option dispensing method can be used for single vision lenses, bifocal lenses, and contact lenses. Each time the mid-range choice should be the lens you think that around 75% of your patients will choose. Then have a ‘best’ option for those who want to upgrade and a ‘good’ option for those who are more price-conscious.

The three-option system will help you dispense more of your patients and by offering upgrades you can better ensure the prosperity of your practice.

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