How can an Eyewear Styling Sales Strategy Grow Your Practice?

Incorporating a systematic and consistent Eyewear Styling Experience in your practice is a proven strategy to attract high ticket clients, differentiate your practice and increase your bottom-line profit.

Create A Success Story!
The story starts with that first impression when the client walks into your practice.  You only have 30 seconds to make a positive first impression and 55% of that first impression is based on what your clients see.

People are checking out your office design, clothing style and eyewear and deciding that quickly if they like you, your skill set and whether they trust you.  This all happens before you have a chance to say, hello!

The Power of Vision Science Plus Fashion
Eyewear Styling sales training provides you and your staff a new approach to pivot from the eye health conversation to the eyewear fashion conversation which energizes your patients and inspires them to purchase on an emotional level.

As eye care professionals, the focus is on eye health, prescription specifics and lens technology to provide the best possible vision.  Yet, only 1 in 10 Canadians purchase more than one pair of eyeglasses at a time and many simply walk out the door to purchase eyewear online or at a different location.

3 Changes Providing Opportunity
While the pandemic has generated many attitudinal and behavioural changes, the following three have helped to create new opportunities for the independent practice.

  1.  A shift to online video meetings as the new normal has lifted eyewear up the ranks in fashion accessories.
  2. Consumers care how they “show-up” on screen and personal image is important, especially in business.
  3. Covid-weary consumers are less inclined to shop around and more likely to make their excursions a “one-stop” experience.

Optometrists have every opportunity to capture this lucrative market.  Every pair of eyeglasses starts with a spectacle prescription – and almost all spectacle RXs start with a comprehensive eye exam and refraction.  Your dispensary is often the first and last area of your office that people see and is vital to that first impression.  This all-important piece of real estate in your business should be given attention and a healthy pulse.   This is the area where you will serve and style with expert advice.  It is your business to loose!

What is “Eyewear Styling”?
Incorporating a fashion forward eyewear styling process will allow your practice to capitalize on these opportunities.  The good news is that you already know the science part and the fashion part can be learned.

Eyewear styling is more than knowing eyewear trends for the season; it is the art of matching eyewear to facial features, clothing style and the client’s personal image.

Personal image is how one walks, talks, dresses and projects themselves to the world.

Process-oriented Training is Key
Discovering your client’s personal image and how they would like to be perceived can be achieved during the eyewear selection process.   There are serious risks to “judging a book by its cover” or “assuming” anything but there is power in observation, language and discussion techniques that can unlock the secrets.  This process leads to an engaging sales conversation for your staff and your patients.

Get a Free Frame board Audit

A consistently applied eyewear styling system provides you and your team a new sales language and the confidence to have informed conversations with your patients about their individual style and the impression they want to make with their eyewear fashion.

Your team members can be trained to speak a language that resonates on an emotional level, and evokes the feeling, “hey, you get me?”.  This is like oxygen to them.  Post-pandemic, people are craving an experience that makes them feel great.

What’s the Payoff?
Let’s face it… optical dispensaries all start to look the same to the average eyewear consumer.  Differentiating your space and your sales conversation can be energizing for you, your team, and your patients.  Creating a “Styling” area and upbeat fashion vibe in your office allows you to immediately stand out from your competition.

Developing a clear eyewear styling sales strategy helps your team members to work together and confidently make the offer for more than one pair.  This is productive and ultimately increases your revenues achieving a healthy bottom line.  Once you have completed the eye exam, you have a captive audience in your dispensary, and this is a huge opportunity to completely wow your clients and style successfully.

When you offer an exceptional eyewear styling session, people want to stay, people want to buy, and people want to talk about you!   Your clients will market for you, and you will organically attract repeat and referral business in your community.


Wendy Buchanan, Eyewear Image Expert is a Registered Optician, Image Consultant and Educator.  She is the creative force behind the Be Spectacular Eyewear Styling System® for Eye Care Professionals.  Wendy helps eye care practices to systematically reinvent their eyewear dispensaries to create an exceptional buying experience and increase profits.

Connect with Wendy on Instagram


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It’s not easy being the one in charge. There are multiple pressures on your time. However, how you respond to everyday problems and events in your office sets the example for your employees.

We recently spoke at the OAO and shared this example:

A doctor is getting ready to leave for the day. A patient walks in late. An employee walks back to the doctor’s office and informs the doctor of the patient’s late arrival.   The doctor expresses their irritation with the patient, grumbling that they just want to finish up their day and go home. The next time a patient was late, the staff responded by showing their irritation.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, employees are mimicking the actions of their leaders. The employees will put importance on the same things that they understand the owner is concerned with.

We are always surprised when doctors book training for their staff with no intention of attending. Training is going to be the most effective when everyone hears the same information and the doctors can reinforce the message on a day-to-day basis. Life-long learning is an attitude. Every staff member should feel that the continuing education opportunity will bring something new for everyone. By participating, the doctors are sending the message that they think this is a valuable use of time and are expecting to learn something new as well.

The same applies to Trunk Shows and other special events. It is imperative that the doctors are part of the organization and execution of these days. It takes a lot of extra energy and time to prepare for these kinds of events and, it is critical that the owners support the staff and show their appreciation by being enthusiastic and present.

Patient care will be directly impacted by the example the leader sets throughout the practice. As leaders, practice owners must be careful that their actions are reflective of the actions that would like to see their employees take. From arriving to work on time and leading a quick morning huddle to ensure everyone is ready for the day, to responding with care and consideration when issues arise, the leader’s actions will be the driving force behind their employee’s decision making.



is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at


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Failure to deliver the best care and services because one person is out sick is not acceptable. It is costly to your practice, and avoidable through cross-training. Our four-OD, 19-support staff practice, which delivers over 6,000 exams per year, has found cross-training to be an effective way of ensuring consistent care.

In addition to consistency of care, cross-training also has allowed us to provide staff with opportunities to grow in our practice. Sometimes we find a staff member has a great desire to learn something new, and occasionally, we may find a staff member has a strength that we didn’t realize until they performed another task in our office.

The staff of Miamisburg Vision Care delivers consistent care to patients, thanks to cross-training. Each is trained in a primary task and at least one secondary task. There is no disruption to patient service and flow when a staff member is out sick or on vacation

Along with the benefits to our patients, cross-training helps us keep our staff happy, as they feel more valuable, and experience joy when they find something new they can become an expert in.


In deciding what tasks to cross train, we first reviewed the areas where we already had challenges throughout our day, but also looked at situations in which the variables can’t be controlled, such as when patients come in late causing a bottleneck in pre-testing.

In those situations, having an additional staff member who can step in and do pre-testing is beneficial. Or having another employee who can pinch hit in the optical when the opticians are backlogged can mean the difference between making and missing a sale.

As another example, it would be great to have everyone trained in all areas, but working with the billing, and reconciling an EOP, is not critical to patient care. So, be sure to prioritize in cross-training areas that most impact patient care, or those that patients perceive to be something that should not include significant waiting, like scheduling an exam or picking up contact lenses.

It is important to continually expose your staff to the secondary tasks you would like them to perform, so the skills stay fresh in their minds.

Our personnel manager is responsible for setting the schedule to ensure each staff member is placed in both their primary and secondary tasks throughout the upcoming week. We always have in place a back-up for key tasks in case an employee is absent. After the daily schedule for primary roles is determined for the upcoming week, we then decide who the back-up employee will be for each of the key roles in the office for each day. It’s like having an under-study at all times for each essential role in the office.


It can be challenging when an employee finds their primary task is not what they want to do, and they would rather perform their newly learned task. We prevent this from happening by having a clear conversation with the staff member to set expectations and the purpose for learning the new task.

For instance, we told an employee, who was a scribe and pre-tester, that we needed her to learn contact lenses since one of our contact lens technicians was going on maternity leave. We clearly indicated that she would be working as a scribe, and that was her primary role, but we also were having her learn contacts to ensure we could maintain consistency in patient care for contacts. The other thing we did was to provide scheduling to allow her to work in both roles once the contact lens technician came back from maternity. She was thrilled to be able to work in both roles, and this allowed our practice to maintain the excellent care without the patient suffering or waiting because we couldn’t handle their needs.


The importance of cross-training is it ensures there is no change in the care you provide every patient, regardless of who is sick or on vacation.

Staff should always have, at a minimum, a primary task with a secondary task, and possibly other tasks they learn well enough to perform when necessary. What If only one person can take retinal photos, or run ancillary tests, such as a visual field? At the worst moment when a field is needed for patient care, you can be stuck making the patient wait while performing the task yourself. Or what if somebody decides they want to try contact lenses, and needs training, but your primary trainer is gone? It is much better to be able to help the patient right then versus having them come back. This works for all areas, like dispensing glasses or contacts, scheduling patients, or patient pre-testing.


The time needed for cross-training varies, but can be done in many ways. A big thing I do in my office is include training during our weekly meetings. This generally means we break up into groups and the person who has the best knowledge of a primary task will teach someone the task as their secondary responsibility.

We also make sure that whenever an employee is not needed for their primary task, they shadow the employee doing their secondary task. For example, an employee who normally performs contact lens training may follow the visual field tester if there are no fits being done at that time.

There also is continued training during the course of a typical day by the personnel manager in my office, on-the-job, as the need arises.



Partner Miamisburg Vision Care, Miamisburg, Ohio

Dave Anderson, OD, is a partner withMiamisburg Vision Care in Miamisburg, Ohio. To contact:


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At our practice in Fredericton, NB, achieving excellence in customer experience does not happen by accident, nor does it automatically happen by simply hiring friendly staff. It starts with an overarching philosophy on the customer experience, being open to change, and availing ourselves of the many training opportunities provided by our partners and others.

Don’t Sell, Educate and Provide Solutions
Every person who enters our clinic or optical area is looking for a solution and education to protect or improve their vision. Every encounter we have with a patient, be it on the phone, online or in the office, influences this customer experience. Having our team trained and consistently motivated to provide these solutions and to exceed expectations is the only way to create an awesome customer experience.

Our Team will tell you that we help people solve problems and fulfill their needs. We try not to just see to their vision needs but to really get to know people and find out what they require to optimize their visual experience in the world. Sometimes the absolute best solution is more than what their pocketbook can afford, but we pride ourselves on having options available for all budgets. As independents, we have a vast array of product options available and the professional and staff expertise to deliver; not always the case at retailers and box stores.

Training is Empowerment
Knowledge is power, and we give our team every opportunity for training. These opportunities may come from a third party outside the industry, from our buying group or from specific industry partners and suppliers. Providing those opportunities to our staff is incredibly important, as training serves to empower them to use their depth of knowledge and provide great customer service.

Don’t overlook the opportunities that are available to your team through your key suppliers. Each and every training session or customer experience can provide a new insight or action item.  Arranging those opportunities is incredibly important. Essilor Canada offered our practice a Customer Journey Engineering program which we were able to benefit from. It was very comprehensive and didn’t require us to shut down the office or invest a lot of money.

Customer Journey Engineering
Our local Essilor Training and Development Consultant arranged a full 360⁰ practice assessment involving the entire team through their Customer Journey Engineering program.

Click Here to learn more about the Customer Journey Engineering program provided by Essilor Canada.

The consultant spent a lot of time within the practice doing things that I just hadn’t taken the time to do. She sits in on every step of the customer journey listening, observing, and analyzing from the patient’s point of view. She also sits in our waiting room and uses all her senses to observe what people are experiencing when they walk through our door. She provides a report on specific improvement areas and training requirements. This gave us an opportunity to view our practice from a fresh perspective that we could not achieve on our own.

Uncovering Blind Spots
One of the big things that I would not have necessarily realized, but affected how people think about our practice, was at the front desk. We have a beautiful big desk; the control center in the front office. However, the desk was a mess! I know why the desk is a mess, they are being productive and busy, but a patient seeing the desk would say, “What’s going on here?” I never thought about it that way, and didn’t see it as a problem, but that was on top of the consultant’s list to fix! We deployed strategies to move and remove items to clear the space. The Customer Journey Engineering process provided by Essilor was enlightening.

Leadership Training for Associates

We go to school for many years to get our Optometry degree and then hone our skills to become experts at taking care of people’s eyes. Then, there’s this other part of independent practice: running a business and leading a team, for which we often don’t get training.

Reflecting on my own experience of not being provided with business and leadership training, when our Associate Optometrist expressed interest in becoming a partner in our practice we took the initiative to have her do an extensive 6-month leadership program.  If you want someone to buy into your practice and they show promise, give them the tools to succeed and build confidence. Leadership training gave her insights and skills moving forward and makes it easier for her to give input in terms of practice processes and systems.

It’s a Team Approach

We try to create a positive team approach. None of it works if we are just out for ourselves. We like to try to lift our team up and educate them just as best as we can so that they can feel confident in their interactions with our patients and our customers.

We encourage our team to go the extra step, which serves to create trust. That emotional connection people develop to our practice hopefully brings them back time and time again, so we become their go-to for anything to do with their eyes or their eyewear.

I don’t think there will ever be a time when we have it all figured out and can’t learn new approaches or benefit from further training, we are all just works in progress.  The more we educate ourselves, the better we can perform for our teams and our patients.


This message is sponsored by Essilor Canada.



graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 2004.  She practiced in several different retail and clinical settings in the Ottawa area before joining Downtown Optometry Clinic in Fredericton. She can be reached through


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Recruiting the right employees only takes you halfway to delivering high-quality care to patients. The other half of the challenge is training those employees. My practice takes a systematic, consistent approach to ensuring staff is prepared to deliver service to patients, and to help grow the practice.

In addition to spending about $6,000 per year on hard staff training costs (materials, testing fees, travel, seminars/meetings, meals associated with training, etc.), in our practice of 22 team members, we spend an immeasurable amount of time to training. Although we have not calculated the soft costs (down time for the trainers and ramp-up time for new employees) associated with training new team members, as well as ongoing training for all team members, I’m sure the amount would be very high.

But, I would argue that our return on investment is also very high. We can measure its effectiveness in the quality of our team that performs to the best of its ability every day. Our patients constantly remark on the outstanding customer service our team delivers. They trust our team, the entire team – not just our doctors – to provide them with excellent care and education. Those patients reward that trust by referring their friends and family to us!


We assign each new employee a trainer from within their department who excels at teaching and training. The team lead for the department is sometimes the trainer, but in our practice the owners/doctors and practice manager are never directly involved in the day-to-day training of new employees. The first piece of training material the new employee is given is a shared reference between the new hire and the trainer. It is a spreadsheet of items/areas to be trained, listed in chronological order, to organize the learning track.

When each new topic is introduced, both the trainer and the trainee initial the particular section of training that has begun. They each have to re-initial when they both feel it has been sufficiently trained/learned and they are ready to move on to the next subject. This helps to reduce instances of “I was never told that,” and it gives the trainee a chance to express that they may need the pace to be adjusted, or that they are having a difficult time with a particular training module.

A few of the 22 team members at Clarke EyeCare Center in Wichita Falls, Texas. Dr. Clarke says committing to staff training pays off in a staff that can deliver care patients appreciate enough to refer others to the practice to experience.

We have all of our office processes, including staff training, typed up in a shared document on our server that everyone in the practice can access. It is searchable so that anyone can type in keywords to pull up a process within seconds if they’re unsure what to do. Training processes are reviewed and revised by our department managers regularly.


The first step of the training process is HIPAA training with our compliance officer. After that’s complete, the applicant shadows an appointed person in the department for which they were hired to experience first hand the culture/patient experience they are expected to provide. How and when we say things are equally as important as what we say. The tasks of the job can and will be learned in time, but the exemplary attitude is our first priority of training.


Although we have a designated person to perform the initial training, the entire team works together to integrate the trainee into the culture of our practice by making sure that person knows our goal is for their experience to be a positive one. Not only do we believe they can succeed, but that we will all do everything we can to help them transition through the learning process successfully. They need to feel it’s a safe place to ask questions and learn from everyone.

We have used vendors to assist in training, in-person training (at regional meetings), and online training resources, such as training modules on the AOA’s web site, but we mainly rely on our people, our best resource, to train our other team members.


We hire most of our employees through a temp-to-hire agency. In using their services, the trainee is the employee of the staffing agency for a period of 90 days. This gives us time to objectively decide if the trainee is learning and retaining the knowledge at a good pace, is reflecting our core values and team culture effectively, and if we’re going to end the probationary term by hiring them permanently. This 90-day term is a time for constant communication of our very clear expectations and frequent reviews of how they are or are not progressing.


Danny Clarke, OD, owns Clarke EyeCare Center in Wichita Falls, Texas, which received an All-Star award by The Great Game of Business. The practicerecently was named the Family-Owned Business of the Year for the SBA Dallas/Ft. Worth district ofTexas. Dr. Clarke is also the President of MODUS Practice in Motion, which offers open-book management training to optometric practices. To contact him:


Joely Anderson is the office manager for Clarke EyeCare Center and is also the Vice-President of MODUS Practice in Motion. To contact her:


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