Choosing the right frame vendor is one of the most important decisions ECPs can make when it comes to the profitability of the office. The first step? Identifying what is important to your business.
It’s critical to sit down and decide who you are, who your customer is, and what buying criteria are in line with your image and mission. Is it quality, service, brand names, vendor support, price, etcetera? Determining all the reasons you buy will help you partner with appropriate vendors.
The second step is to share your criteria with potential vendors. One key question to ask before forming a relationship is What is the current backorder status of your top ten frames? If they are running, for instance, at 20 percent backorder then we have a problem.
It is also crucial to ask vendors what type of sales support and merchandising programs they offer. ECPs can learn about prospective vendors by reading industry publications, attending tradeshows, and asking peers for their opinions. Your due diligence will pay off with better sell-through, satisfied patients, and the best value for your frame dollars.
TruCost™ vs. Real Cost
TruCost is our term for the bottom-line cost that takes into account the policies of the vendors with whom you do business. For example, do your vendors consistently have frames on backorder? This inconvenience may actually cost you money in lost patient sales.
What about the vendor warranties, return policies, and shipping costs associated with your products? All of these factors contribute to the indirect, hidden costs involved with frame purchasing. You have to rate the whole experience. If the frame is great but the service is unreliable and causes you grief and time, this (again) costs you money.
ECPs can benefit greatly by trying to lower the TruCost of their frames. The most obvious contributors to raising the TruCost are poor vendor polices, service, and quality. It’s important to work with your vendors to create an efficient and effective purchasing process. In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, ECPs cannot afford to work with vendors that do not offer the best price-value relationship.
4 Ways to Ensure Outstanding TruCost
Inventory you can count on.
Look for a company that makes a commitment in their supply chain and inventory. Ask about their daily fill rate. For example, what percentage of all orders ship every day and how long do most backorders take to fill?
Pricing that’s right from the start.
Look for a vendor that has the right pricing for your patients and you can still be profitable with. Look for that sweet spot. You will want fair pricing and range of it for all different types of customers. “We work backwards to look at where we think a frame is going to sell at the fastest turn rate and we mark it up from that price,” says ClearVision’s CEO David Friedfeld.
Highly-Trained, Experienced Reps.
Each appointment you take with a rep is time and you know the old adage. Most vendors have multiple reps spread across all frame lines. Search out a vendor that presents their product lines to you via one sales consultant, which will save you time and money. Also look for reps who also deliver extras like training and merchandising. Great sales reps are much more like “consultants” because that is what they do, they are there to be a partner and help you be successful with their products. Look for a vendor that spends a lot of time training their reps too.
Enhanced Sell-Through with Merchandising and Marketing Tools
You need tools to help sell through. Each office is different. Some want POP, some want digital assets. Some need training or sales promotions or trunk shows. Find out what “extras” your frame vendors offer to help you position and sell their products successfully.
Want to learn more about ClearVision’s approach? Visit us online.