As an eye care professional, you can keep your knowledge to yourself or share it with your customers. Taking the latter approach will help your customers understand the eye care options available to them and win their loyalty… which in the end will build your practice.
The saying ‘knowledge is power’ is, in my view, wrong and very misleading. If you buy a product and never use it, then it will go stale at some point… and the same condition afflicts people who possess knowledge but rarely if ever use it for the benefit of the people they serve.
The truth then is ‘giving knowledge is power’. Imagine a bookstore that buys 1,000 books a week but only sells 300 books a week; without question, the shop will go bankrupt. Now picture someone who possesses much knowledge but only gives a little of it away… that person
will suffer ‘mental bankruptcy’.
A person in optometry who actively gives knowledge to others in need will benefit
in two ways:
Most clients do not ask for more help (knowledge), and so both parties will suffer accordingly…
- the knowledge giver will become more valuable to patients and customers… and will therefore enjoy high levels of success (because customers will keep buying and provide referrals); and
- the more knowledge a person gives, the more ‘new’ knowledge they must gain… So ‘knowledge givers’ naturally become the greatest students of business.
Offer It Up
All of this represents very good news, but what if customers don’t ask for our knowledge… or ask for only a small part of what we know?
This ‘fact’ will loom large in business at all times, and it will have a devastating impact on many organisations, industries and professions. Take the accounting profession as an example, especially in private practice: accountants in private practice are usually people with vast amounts of knowledge, much of which is needed by their [small to medium] business clients. However, most accountants in private practice are by no means ‘givers of knowledge’… preferring instead to ‘wait’ for clients to ‘ask’ for more help (apparently, accountants feel that giving knowledge is somehow wrong).
Most clients do not ask for more help (knowledge), and so both parties will suffer accordingly… which is why I believe that the accounting profession will slowly and surely die!
Knowledge Belongs to Those We Serve
The diagram (left) highlights the amount of knowledge available from someone in optometry, alongside the amount of knowledge that customers ‘ask for’ from that person… and the likely area of knowledge ‘needed’ but not requested.
There are at least four ways that knowledge can be ‘given’:
- the possessor of knowledge will ‘ask’ customers if they want to know more.
- The response will of course be ‘no’; the possessor of knowledge will ask customers if they would like to know about a specific point relating to the topic being discussed, such as someone saying, ‘are you interested to hear about the various lens we have available?’ Again the answer will be ‘no’, since no benefit was ‘given’;
- the possessor of knowledge will be more direct, perhaps saying, ‘we have lenses that can be made to suit different situations you encounter each day, is this of interest to you?’ Instead of seeing a benefit, many customers will see an increased $ sign…and so again the usual response will often be ‘no’; and
- the possessor of knowledge will talk about an improved and key result that can be achieved: ‘I would like to show you some ideas that will enable you to use the glasses for both reading and using the computer’… and then after showing the opportunity, ‘this is a good idea for you in my opinion and the cost is comparatively low… so I would recommend that you use these lens; is that OK with you?’
Most customers will agree to such advice… especially if the person serving offers additional ideas relating to payment options that might make taking that advice relatively stress free.
Away from optometry, the dessert menu in most restaurants is rarely given, or diners are ‘sometimes’ asked if they want to see it… and some establishments display items available on a board. But one restaurant I know puts the items on a tray and presents it on the table, with a brief overview ‘given’ of each dish. An excellent and successful strategy… and one that optometry practices should consider using for the benefit of their clients. This strategy is called, “talking is silver, showing is gold!”
John Lees is a sales and marketing specialist, who operates services as a professional speaker, trainer, consultant and business coach. He is the author of 11 books on business development. Email: email@example.com Website: www.johnlees.com.au