Sometimes I think we should change the title from sales representative to “customer trainer.” Most lab reps spend a lot of time in training, and for good reason: it strengthens bonds with customers and gives them a leg-up over competitors that only offer cheap prices.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. It makes sense. You don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new client. You just have to keep the ones you have happy. If you’re not convinced that retaining customers is so valuable, consider research done by Frederick Reicheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.”

The best way to keep your customers’ business and grow your own sales is with customer training. It has value in the eyes of the practice because it enhances the abilities and knowledge of their personnel. Most importantly, it will increase their profitability due to the improvement in lens utilization and treatments.

Many labs have their own proprietary digital lens designs. The best way to increase sales of this profitable product is to do “lens clinics” for your customers. Make sure the customer understands the features and benefits and how to present the products to the appropriate patients. This tactic can also be used with branded lens products, and often the lens manufacturer can assist with presentations and marketing materials.

Lens treatments are a valuable option for the patient, the practice and the lab. Make sure customers are effective at presenting all options to patients and doctors are recommending them.

The truly effective lab will make sure the practice owner is aware of how successful and profitable their practice has become thanks to the training efforts of the lab’s team!

Eric Rollins is a veteran of the optical retail, frame and lab industries. His firm, Rollins Consulting, LLC, consults with the three Os to improve profitability. Email him at


Leave A Reply