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Thriving in a Competitive Environment

“Staying competitive means that we continuously have to evolve and move forward, otherwise relative to the rest of the market, we may find ourselves moving backwards. In the current economic climate that also means doing more with less, and working smarter, as well as harder.”

These were the key messages presented by Ms. Kassandra Lewis from Retail Performance Specialists at the first of the recent Business Building Workshop, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

Ms. Lewis presented a number of areas to focus on, to see an improvement in sales and overall practice effectiveness.

With 20 years experience in vocational education and training Ms. Kassandra Lewis has successfully worked with retailers in 22 countries around the world.

As Senior Consultant for Retail Performance Specialists, Ms. Lewis has introduced to the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the Asia Pacific Region, a proven retail management system which is unique in the world, focusing as it does on guaranteed increases in sales.

The three key points presented by Ms. Lewis were: ‘Getting the basics right’, ‘Making the Most of Every Customer’ and ‘Leading Your Team’.

1. Get the Basics Right

Focus on areas within your practice that you can control, to immediately make more sales.

There is no ‘one size fits all’. Across practices, the number of staff, and their skills and competencies vary significantly. The importance of getting basic tasks and responsibilities completed properly can be overlooked. But without clear position descriptions, expectations, checklists and training, many tasks can be skipped and fall back onto the Practice Manager unnecessarily.

To get the basics right, ensure full participation and buy-in from each staff member, clarify and document roles and areas of responsibilities, and provide the necessary training to ensure that they understand how to complete all necessary tasks.

2. Make the Most of Every Customer

Driving traffic into the practice is a hard variable to control without a thorough local area marketing programme. Therefore, complete attention and effort is required for every person that walks into the practice, otherwise it is a wasted opportunity.

Assuming that we know what a customer wants, without asking the right questions, may lead to offering the wrong products or services. Discussing all options will help to identify their interests, make them aware of new products and innovations, and most importantly, create an opportunity to discuss important elements of eye examinations.

3. Lead Your Team

Focus on ways to work ‘on’ your business, not just ‘in’ your business.

As practice owner/manager, you wear many hats – Optometrist, Operations Manager, Coach and Business Manager. These last two are critical for on-going success and growth, but they are the hardest to allocate time when we are busy, so they sometimes take a back seat.

Establishing an environment that inspires and motivates your staff to offer a high level of service and sales success requires understanding of team members’ strengths, capabilities and areas for improvement. For example, ‘operational’ practice staff may forget their ‘sales’ requirements within the practice – setting aside time for sales training will improve their overall confidence and competency to enable them to succeed in this area.

How we were managed earlier in our career is generally the training ground for establishing our own management style. Your team requires leadership – respecting each staff member as an individual who requires motivation, stimulation and clear goals.

Ms. Lewis finished the session by encouraging everyone to: “continue to challenge yourself – be objective, and look at the numbers.”

The Johnson & Johnson ‘Thriving in a competitive environment’ business seminars continue this month in Sydney (Monday 6 April), Gold Coast (Thursday 16 April the day before Queensland Vision) and Adelaide (Friday 24 April).



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