Shark Tank's advice for ODs

February 02, 2020
This past Friday I was doing some CE for financial and investment advisors at the TD Ameritrade Conference in Orlando and had the opportunity to hear Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary from Shark Tank offer some words of wisdom. Although I try to focus my content on the personal finance space and leave practice management to the rest of my family, his message was worth sharing.

Did you know academics have studied the 12 years of presentations by all contestants on the show and identified 3 consistent traits of successful pitches? What’s that got to do with your optometric practice? Every time you examine and consult with a patient to recommend glasses, contacts or medical therapy, you are pitching.

According to Shark Tank research, there are 3 components to successful pitches. These elements are so important, they occur in 100% of presentations the Sharks invest in. And we can all learn from them:

1- Be able to concisely communicate the benefits of a product or service: The initial proposal for any product or service should be simple, understandable and to the point. If you can’t explain to a patient how your product or service will benefit them in 60 seconds or less, you will likely lose them.

2- Explain why YOU’RE the right person for the job: Assuming they are ready to ‘buy’, you can’t take it for granted they are committed to you. Companies like Warby Parker and 1-800-contacts exist because consumers are easily swayed by price and other external factors. You need to sell the idea of why are YOU the right person to provide a possibly more expensive product and help the patient maximize the benefits.

3- Be specific with the benefits: Data and specificity = credibility in the eyes of consumers. For example, telling someone a certain lens will “help you see better” does not have the same impact as; “this lens has been proven to provide a 22% increase in clarity over regular contacts”.

Not sure where to start? I suggest you create a new ‘pitch’ for just one practice area like specialty lenses, sports vision or dry eye therapy. Make a point to use this approach with a difficult patient—if it works on Mr. Wonderful, you might be surprised at how well it works for you!

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