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HomemibusinessBuilding Better Business

Building Better Business

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and Retail Performance Specialist (RPS) joined forces to develop a ‘Business Building’ program to help optical businesses thrive in this increasingly competitive market. The series of events were held last month (October) throughout Australia and New Zealand.

A successful ophthalmic practice, like any business, is built on the sales abilities of its staff. As a practice owner or manager, you play a crucial role in influencing the performance of the staff you manage and motivate.

What undermines many optometrists efforts at developing a sales culture is the misperception that all they need to do is a little staff training, track results and provide incentives. Then, in time, the culture will change. To generate long-term results the process of change requires many other components which need to be implemented over time and integrated into the day-today running of the business.

The Business Building program, presented by RPS chairman Dennis Reid, covered how to deliver real value and grow incremental sales, how to retain customer loyalty and improve top line sales without eroding margin.

A successful ophthalmic practice, like any business, is built on the sales abilities of its staff. As a practice owner or manager, you play a crucial role in influencing the performance of the staff you manage and motivate.

Over the past 30 years, working with different sales environments, RPS have identified the eight steps vital to creating and maintaining a successful ‘sales’ culture in your practice.

Step 1: Vision

For a sales culture to become a reality it must become a strategic initiative of the practice owner’s vision. Ensure that your strategic plan identifies ‘building a sales culture’ as an objective and high priority to be accomplished within your practice over the next six to 12 months.

Creating a successful sales culture requires the manager’s commitment to ensure that every day, every sales activity is measured and monitored and that the staff are given the skills and behavioural training to deliver the desired results.

Key questions to ask yourself about your business sales vision are:

  • What revenue do you want your practice to turnover?
  • What is preventing your vision from becoming reality today?
  • What are the key barriers you need to overcome in the next 90 days to deliver a stronger sales culture?
  • Have you documented the patient sales journey within your practice (reception, consulting room and dispensing)?

Step 2: Sales Targets

Sales targets are a key ingredient in ensuring your practice remains profitable. They give clarity to your staff on what sales performance is required for your practice to have a financially successful year. For a successful sales culture, ensure all staff understand the numbers, understand their role in delivering those numbers and know how they and the business are tracking towards the practice sales target.

Key questions to ask yourself about your sales targets are:

  • Is there a sales target for the year that all staff are aware of?
  • Is the sales target broken down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily periods?
  • Do you have specific targets for frames, sunglasses, contact lenses, etc?

Step 3: Critical Sales KPIs

Once you have established sales targets you need to break these down into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The KPIs become the quantification of your practice’s sales condition. They provide a reliable platform upon which to build improvements and raise your sales performance.

Key questions to ask yourself about your critical sales KPIs are:

  • How many patients do you currently have on your database?
  • What percentage are active and what percentage have lapsed?
  • What is your practice average transactional value?
  • How many appointments per day do you need to hit the practice daily sales target?
  • What KPIs need to improve for your practice to achieve a 10-20% increase in sales?

Step 4: Job Profiles

To build a sales culture, it is vital that you have job profiles that clearly define the attitude, skills and behaviour required for each role within the practice. These job profiles require you to analyse the key requirements for each position and provides you with a template against which new staff can be recruited and existing staff can be upskilled.

Key questions to ask yourself about job profiles are:

  • What are the key attitudinal requirements for each position?
  • Do you recruit new staff against these key attitudinal, skill and behavioural requirements?

Step 5: Skills Development

For a ‘best in class’ sales focus, a formal training program needs to be run on a monthly basis to train all staff, ideally with certification at each level. The skills development program contains both a sales program for the staff and a sales management program for the practice manager.

Key questions to ask yourself about your skills development are:

  • Do you have a documented sales training program for the practice?
  • Are your staff formally trained and certified on the steps of the sales process?
  • Has your practice manager been trained and formally certified on a sales coaching program?

Step 6: Performance Coaching

Research shows that the impact performance coaching can increase the annual sales for a practice by 62 per cent. The key to having a performance manager who is also a performance coach is recruiting appropriately, and formally training them on the skills and behaviour required for the role. Once the performance coach is trained, they are constantly coaching and mentoring the practice team against statistical numbers and the behaviour that deliver the numbers.

Key questions to ask yourself about your performance coaching are:

  • Has your practice identified what KPIs need to be improved to deliver your practice sales target?
  • Does your practice have a documented 90 day plan outlining the sales targets for each staff member?
  • Has the sales target been broken down into an average transactional value for each sales category?
  • Does your practice manager conduct one-on-one performance coaching?

Step 7: Tracking Sales Performance

If the numbers cannot be measured, they cannot be moved. To ensure your team buy into the sales culture, you must communicate the sales targets and your progress towards delivering these.

Key questions to ask yourself about your sales performance tracking are:

  • Does your current system provide you with accurate real time sales data?
  • Do you have an information board or method for communicating sales targets and performance, as well as product information and practice sales standards?

Step 8: Performance Improvement Strategy

This is the blue print for getting you from where you are now, to where you need to be as a practice with an effective sales culture. This document stems from the vision you have for your practice in respect to the responsibility for delivery of sales, and how this will be achieved.

Key questions to ask yourself about your performance improvement strategy are:

  • Have you identified the initiatives you need to implement to deliver your sales target?
  • Have you documented the actions required that will deliver these initiatives?
  • Have you allocated responsibility for each initiative to a member of your team?
  • Are there timelines for each action and for the project as a whole?
  • Do you have a weekly review meeting to update the strategy?
  • Do you celebrate your successes along the way?

Checklist for assessing your sales culture

Infrastructure

  1. Systems being used effectively to target marketing efforts and reward staff based on performance
  2. Make sure verifiable written standards are in place to ensure service consistency
  3. Conduct ongoing customer service measurement
  4. Ensure sales tracking and measurement systems are in place to track team and individual performance
  5. Assign individual staff and department Sales goals
  6. Make staff accountable for their sales and evaluate their performance
  7. Recognise above target sales performance and put in place ongoing recognition and reward programs
  8. Put in place processes to coach low performance and reassign those who do not meet expectation over time.

Organisation Development

  1. Make sure that your Key Strategic initiatives and mission statement are understood by all practice staff
  2. Put in place a strong sales communication programme
  3. The owner / manager must be actively involved and committed to sales
  4. Sales meetings are regularly conducted for all staff
  5. Sales performance and success stories are acknowledged and praised
  6. Internal service process encourage support between individuals

Skills / Training

  1. Conduct sales and sales management training regularly
  2. Put in place a product knowledge education programme.