What are the elements of a successful trunk show?

Join Bethany and Kayla Ashlee, co-founder of Spexy, in a discussion about the art of planning and putting on trunk shows — events where specialty frame vendors bring their entire catalogs to your practice for your patients to browse and shop — and how they can benefit your practice in both the short- and long-term.   

Should you see patients?  Should you offer discounts?  How do you support your team?  What’s the key to getting maximum RSVPs?  What absolute mistakes should you avoid?   

Bethany and Kayla dive into key do’s and don’ts and show you how your office can benefit from additional sales, branding, community exposure and patient loyalty that comes with a successful trunk show.



August 9, 2023



Read the Transcription

Becca Starks: We have the ear with the students to hear what they’re looking for. They’re very, very few students that we’re working with, with the class of 2023 that will even consider an opportunity that is not private practice.

Dr. Bethany Fishbein: Hey, I am Bethany Fishbein. I am the CEO of The Power Practice and Host of The Power Hour Optometry Podcast. And I just want to first congratulate all of the new optometrists graduating this week from the optometry schools across the country. It’s such an exciting time. It doesn’t feel like that long ago since I and my classmates at New England College of Optometry in 1997 graduated. It goes fast. It’s really an exciting time. So congratulations, first of all, and this show is inspired by and dedicated to you and all of the people that you are hoping will hire you. Once you get your licenses and get out there into the world. So I’ve invited a guest, I have Becca Starks, Becca handles Enterprise Accounts and Operations for KMK Careers. And she’s here to help me sort out some of the things that today’s optometry students are looking for, and help educate some of the optometrists who are looking to hire young optometrists about misconceptions they may have or differing perceptions of this graduating class. So, Becca, thanks for doing this your second podcast ever. That’s awesome.

Becca Starks: Yes, thank you for having me. This is exciting. 

Dr. Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, thank you. It’s an interesting time because we work with mostly established optometric practice owners. So most of the people that I’m speaking to day to day are employers of young optometrists, and they have this vision of what today’s graduates are like, and then I get the opportunity to speak with optometry students and recent grads and they’re not necessarily like that perception at all. So hopefully, you can help us bridge the gap a little bit.

Becca Starks: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So, talk about yourself for a minute here. I want you to just talk about KMK and KMK Careers because when I want to data on students, I knew you were the one to go to. And so I want all of my listeners to understand your involvement with young optometrists today. 

Becca Starks: Yeah, absolutely. So KMK for those that don’t know KMK’s foundation is the KMK board review, which was started 18 years ago by Dr. Kyle Cheatham. And now fast forward 18 years we are inside of all of the 23 optometry schools nationwide. We have a team of optometrist instructors that traveled to all of the schools and we have a relationship with both third and fourth-year optometry students and 98, This is a big number to remember 98% of optometry students utilize KMK to pass their boards. So essentially we have a relationship with almost every single optometry student nationwide from the board’s perspective. And so we now have a new division of KMK specifically on careers which is just a natural extension of supporting those same students and finding their first career.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So you’re initially talking to these students when they’re students studying for boards. And then they hopefully pass boards and you know, move on and take more boards and pass those and move on. So what are the services that you’re providing for these students once they’ve graduated as doctors?

Becca Starks: Yeah, so it’s really fun. Personally, I am mostly an employee you’re facing so those that are looking for these candidates. However, we have a team of career advisors and all day long, they’re the luckiest ones in the world. They get to speak to these upcoming grads. So right now they are around the clock talking to those that are about to graduate here and a couple of weeks or maybe have graduated just recently. And uncovering what they’re looking for in a practice is really it’s a one-on-one relationship, so it’s totally free to students. They sign up to get a career advisor. They have calls with that career advisor to uncover what are they looking for what type of practice is it specific specialties, just anything that may be the true motivating factor as to why they want to go to a certain practice. And then essentially we play matchmaker so the career advisors speak to students all day long. I speak to employers all day long, and then we come together and get to build a bridge between the two and hopefully connect great candidates with a great opportunity.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Maybe it’ll be the next Netflix show after Indian matchmaking, Jewish matchmaking. It’ll be optometric career matchmaking. And be a celebrity.

Becca Starks: I think some of us would watch that, at least your listeners would probably enjoy that.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: My husband and I would watch it so 

Becca Starks: same. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So I mean, you’ve got a line of sight into exactly who today’s optometrists or today’s graduating class, today’s brand new optometrists are, can you give some facts and figures of what that class looks like?

Becca Starks: Yeah, so essentially, from a demographic perspective, it’s highly female. The data is showing 70% female and 30% Male.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: 70?

Becca Starks: 70 Percent.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Wow. 

Becca Starks: Yes. And there’s information I believe you are going to be able to put in the show notes. But there is a really robust report. I believe it’s lots and lots of pages. I don’t remember how many but there are highlights within that on pages nine and 10 that give a really good but really quick summary of demographics of this class, within gender within race. There’s even financial information about how many needed to have financial aid, that sort of thing, and some really detailed information even about by school breakdown.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Are you able to roll through some of the things in there that kind of stood out to you?

Becca Starks: So the biggest thing that stands out to me is female and how as you it shows kind of year over year how that transition has changed from much more female than male as it was in the past. Same thing with race, I believe I don’t remember how many years ago it was but just not too long ago. It was predominantly white for professionals graduating and now that’s shifted to highly other races, whether it’s Asian or black or other races that are included in that.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And what about the financial piece? Because I feel like that’s such a big topic for new doctors. Is this need to pay back student loans? Do you have any stats on the amount of debt that students are graduating with? 

Becca Starks: Yeah, so the report itself shows 85% of students are utilizing some type of support financial aid, loans, and the average for a graduate right now graduating is about $200,000 in debt. So definitely it is.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: That’s just from optometry school or that’s including undergrad debt?

Becca Starks: That’s actually a good question. We just get the stat of 200,000 and I assumed it was just optometry school. But that’s a good question.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So young, female, and any change in like age demographic? Or is it typically right out of college a year or two out of college starting into Optometry?

Becca Starks: Yeah, So typically, it is kind of a typical route straight out of undergrad and to optometry school. There is about of the 16-1700 graduates there are about 150 of those that are considered you know, like other avenues whether that would be part-time or returning back in at a later point in time.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Okay, so out of 1500 you’re talking about? Very typically, right? 1000 young, female, probably non-white doctors. 

Becca Starks: Yeah. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: If you had to say this is what’s typical. This is the majority. 

Becca Starks: Yeah. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: With debt?

Becca Starks: Yes. A lot of it. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Okay. So, when you talk to this typical doctor and are getting into the field of matching into a career of their dreams, what are they telling you that they want? 

Becca Starks: Yeah. So it’s been interesting to learn that so the things that I came into this thinking people would want my background was actually at LinkedIn for five years before coming on to help launch this division of KMK and I thought it would be very different. I would think pay would exceed everything else. But, interestingly, location is the top deciding factor for these new graduates in determining which practice they want. Obviously, that is the hardest answer because no one can do anything about the location of their practice. But we can touch on this later. Kind of some ideas and tips for those to try to recruit folks into harder locations but definitely the location. Again, before and above pay even this work-life balance coming into play that is much more of a topic. Then I think it has been in years past. Not necessarily meaning, Hey, I want to come in and I want to never work. But this generation is much more just passionate about having that work-life balance of the work to live not live to work mentality. And so location, work-life balance, obviously pay, and structuring pay in a way that is understood to the candidate as well too. So being very upfront about what that pay is so that they know before even applying and putting that in a way that they understand what they actually can make because sometimes it can be hard with percent of production, knowing what that means.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So let’s go into those a little bit more and I want to just go back one to work-life balance because I think that’s probably the biggest misunderstanding between a doc maybe in their 50s and a doc in their 20s. This idea of working to live instead of living to work and it’s respectable and it’s necessary and mental health is important and it’s and life has to work for you. But these older docs, that was not their world. And so when I hear it, it’s complaints. They won’t work weekends, they don’t want to put in 40 hours. They’re asking for a four-day workweek. They’re like it’s coming across as we’re lazy. We’re not dedicated to the practice. We don’t want to be here we’re not going to work as hard as you and it. It creates a disconnect from the start like somebody interviewing, who says I don’t want to work every weekend. All of a sudden has all these judgments thrown on them that they probably don’t deserve. Do you see that with the docs that you’re talking to and you’re matching?

Becca Starks: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it’s the same thing I hear to have. You know, that’s typically the demographic of employers that I’m talking to all day long to have, you know, they came out and maybe cold started or they came out and bought a practice and they’ve been doing it for 20-30 years and like. What?

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Right and they remember, or maybe they’re still working 70 hours a week and they’re there, you know, every day in the practice and their day off there when the cleaning themselves because that’s what the owners do. How do you coach of 50-something and 60-something-year-old practice owners into understanding that it’s not laziness and it’s not to they don’t want to work?

Becca Starks: Yeah, so that is it is a big misconception of the students that it is laziness, and specifically, most students are expecting to work at least one to two Saturdays a month. So it’s not that they’re coming in and saying I only want four-day workweeks, and I’ll never work a weekend. They are expecting a true full work week and one or two Saturdays per month. To your question about how to coach an owner in that situation. I think it’s just taking a step back and looking really high level at your practice as a business and I’ve had this conversation with many owners of I don’t know why we are open Saturdays, honestly, we’ve just always done it and so determined are we doing this because it’s just always been done or when determining this because it is a true business need. And so same thing with later hours or that sort of thing. If it is a true business need 100% voicing that to a candidate that’s a friend and that’s that’s great, but there may be situations where again, it’s just we’re doing this because it’s been done forever. And actually, our patients wouldn’t mind if we didn’t have a late night or we had a late night instead of a Saturday or vice versa.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Do you think docs have like a little bit of that? It’s like that hazy mentality? Like I went through it I put in my time therefore you you need to.

Becca Starks: I think it could be a little of that. Me not being an optometrist. I have to tread lightly because I have not earned my dues. But in the conversations that I’ve had, I think it is a little bit of that at least.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, I worked weekends for 23 years. I’ve never missed it Saturday. I’ve never called out sick. And now I’m going to change my whole practice because this 24-year-old kid doesn’t want to work, like there’s that so what are the students are the new grads thinking about these practice owners, doctors who are in a different demographic from them because there’s got to be misconceptions going that way also.

Becca Starks: Yeah, I don’t get to hear a ton of the misconceptions from the student side. But I think there’s just both sides can teach each other something right like maybe that student can come in and show this business owner who’s been doing this forever, like, wow, I could totally do this differently. And, wow, I’m kind of relieved that you came in and brought up the idea of work-life balance because I as the business owner, really needed that, and wow, my life is different because of it and vice versa. There’s obviously so much that the practice owner can teach and pour into these new grad optometrists. But as far as misconceptions from them, I haven’t heard any to be honest. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: I hear that they look at a private practice. They think they’re not going to be paid as much. So they’re thinking that not necessarily that the owner is cheap, but that it’s not. It’s not as profitable, therefore there’s not as much money in it for them. You didn’t mention the mode of practice. You talked about location, work-life balance, and pay. Are students coming out looking for commercial opportunities? Are they looking for private practice or looking for MD offices? I mean, obviously, students are looking for each of those, but what are you seeing most frequently?

Becca Starks: Yeah, great question. So motor practice is very important and private practice remains. Top of the list for I’d say close to 90% of the new grads.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Serious?

Becca Starks: Yeah, because I hear the same thing. I hear a lot from private practice owners that say that almost come to the call with me very nervous, like “Becca, what’s going on? Why might all the new grads want private equity and why do they want retail? And can I really afford to hire them? Because it sounds like they’re throwing all the money in the world with them.” And then it’s interesting because we have that ear with the students to hear what they’re looking for. They’re very, very few students that we’re working with, with the class of 2023 that will even consider an opportunity that is not private practice. So there’s just a handful of folks that have said all maybe look at private equity or retail, but the vast majority say I truly, truly, truly want to private practice and there’s even a really good group that says, “Not only do I only one a private practice, but I already know that someday I want to partner slash buy this practice as well.” 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Do you think though that it’s, it’s like self-selecting a little bit because retail opportunities are so easy to come by? That they might not even consider needing to work with a company like yours? They just need to go on Ziprecruiter, Indeed, and type in optometrists job and the geography they want and they have their choice. Are you talking to them before they’re job-seeking?

Becca Starks: Yeah, so we actually start a process with them a year before they graduate. And so we have them fill out a profile with us it looks just like a LinkedIn profile, but it’s specifically for KMK, and go in and select all of the different types of practices that they’re open to. And so, we have both from the data from what they input on their profile and then they all have a one-on-one call with a career advisor as well. And so that’s where those points come from, both in the data they enter and then the conversations they have with a career advisor.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And is that when a student should be starting their job search is early in fourth year?

Becca Starks: Yeah, so we were really surprised in the timeline as well that a lot of students start having conversations about the fall before they graduate. So this class of 2023 they were starting interviews, October timeframe, and then a lot of them were during their Christmas break, timeframe holiday break, going on visits to practice owners. And then as soon as the New Year transitioned over there were many that were in contract. So definitely, Fall time is like you can feel good. About yourself being ahead of the game, wintertime is still very safe, you still have a lot of opportunity to be reaching out to candidates, and then as we enter into more of the springtime, a lot of I’d say probably half if not more of those that we’re working with are 100% in contract ready to go.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: When you start working with them. Is there any issue with students who are starting the search and still haven’t passed their boards or won’t have the credentials to work when they graduate?

Becca Starks: Yeah, Yep. There is information from ASCO also about passage rates. And it goes into detail even of school by school, but it essentially shows year over year the decrease in passage rates, and I think we’re at about 70% passage rate, right now. 73%. And so there’s a huge population of students that don’t pass typically it’s part one where the struggle is and so there are some students that will even graduate and still have not passed boards. And another misconception there is, “Oh, these students are lazy or they’re not understanding the information, and I don’t want those students because they won’t be good doctors”. And completely not true. Those are students that could either be not very good test takers. These are also the population that came into optometry school right in the heart of COVID. There are some that have just had really rough life events around the time that it is to take boards and so but they are all great people that will be great doctors, they simply just need to pass this test. Many of them have had really great GPAs some of them have other degrees that help them with the practice management side and so it’s just a matter of getting past that one test or many of them.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And how does, how did they navigate that with the job contract like, will an employer sign something with a student who hasn’t yet passed boards?

Becca Starks: Yes, we are running into that actually part one. Board scores were just released this past week. And it was a lot of that there was a lot of celebration and there was a lot of sadness around those that didn’t pass. And the good news is, I don’t know that I’ve come across a single employer partner that we work with that isn’t at least open to the idea of bringing on someone that’s graduated in kind of a super tech role. It’s kind of how we position it to practice under that optometrist owner until they graduate and we even have some that say, “Hey KMK I know that you, as an organization, do great at coaching them and helping them after they fail boards.” I will even invest in that side of the house to ensure that they can pass boards not only to show that, hey, I believe in you and the hardest time in your life student but also that gains them a really loyal employee that again, is going to be a great doctor has just had trouble taking this one test.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Coming in as a super tech though, obviously, they’re coming in at a lower pay scale and they would come in as an optometrist, and they have those student loans. So let’s talk about compensation of obviously it’s going to vary around the country and regionally and how many hours and all of that but what is it that a new OD is looking for as far as the ability to earn money?

Becca Starks: Yeah, good question. So, specifically with this new grad population, the way that I kind of coach, the employer partners that we work with private practice owners is, a lot of times they’ll come into the call and say why pay 16% of production, but with this new grad population, they aren’t able to really wrap their brains around what that is, you could have a $1.5 million, your practice and they still just don’t, they can’t really understand that. And so the recommendation that we give is to at least have some sort of salary and we have information and concrete data on specific areas of the nation. So by all means, if, if we can support you in any way with that, I’m happy to to make sure that you’re competitive, but having some type of salary listed up front is what’s going to entice these new grad population because they can wrap their brains around 140,000. They can’t necessarily wrap their brains around 16% of production. And so totally understand, then obviously the argument private practice owner, I hear you what’s going on in your head is. “Well, I need to motivate them to work hard. Like if I just give them a salary, then what’s the motivation to work hard”, and so there’s been kind of this really nice avenue that we’ve taken with a lot of partners that’s worked well in that advertising a salary a little higher than you probably would have normally, but then decreasing to a really low percent of production, so that there’s some salaries that’s there that’s enticing to a new grad, but a lower percent of production. So for the first year only, so year one higher salary and lower percent of production, and then having that shift for year two and year beyond your two to a lower salary, higher percent of production. And so what that does is again, entices this new grad to apply, and even want to learn more about your practice because there’s a salary, but that little bit of percent of production will get them to realize in their first year of working well. I’m doing the math, and if I would have went on the percent of production, I probably would have made more than my salary. This is making sense this is motivating me to work harder. And then again, you can even have it in the contract that upon year two that shifts to a lower salary that’s guaranteed and a higher percent of production. So as they’ve gotten their feet wet, they’ve learned they’ve been mentored that first year shifting then into percent of production.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So you’re coaching your doctors to do a salary plus a percent of production?

Becca Starks: Yeah, that’s pretty typical. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And what about benefits and stuff like that is that important? Yes, it is important. Is that something that a brand new grad is going to give enough importance to that it’s going to help them decide one place versus another? 

Becca Starks: Yeah, such a good question. So I’ll give both sides just agree very important. I would say the majority of private practice owners that we’re working with are offering some sort of benefits, whatever that might look like. Some are very comprehensive, some are very “Hey, we will pay 50% of your medical and leave it at that.” But now that we are in this lane of there is competition from private equity and from retail. Those are just a no-brainer. In those avenues. And so to remain competitive from that regard. They will get a full package of 401K’s with matching with benefits with PTO, all of those things, if they’re considering a retailer or a private equity opportunity in comparison to your private practice opportunity. And so, again, I think most I talked to very few that say “Hey, I’m just percent of production and I don’t give any days off you just you if you’re here you make money if you’re not, you don’t but you can take whatever days you want type of thing”. I have a handful of those but for the most part, most private practices are offering the salary with percent of production, at least something towards medical, and then most do have a 401K whether there’s a match or not with that.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Are there other intangible benefits, other things that would make a practice more attractive?

Becca Starks: Yeah. So I think the thing that’s so such a great opportunity with all of the listeners that would have that are trying to hire than our private practice owners that have been doing this for years to a new grad specifically is mentorship. And so those that are willing to do that are excited about that. Well, maybe “Hey, I haven’t really even thought about that. But I’m gonna share over the last 20 years, I really have learned a lot that I could pour into this next upcoming generation”. And so being very vocal with that, even in a job description, or whatever it is that you’re creating, to entice candidates to come your way and some people put a really extensive plan behind, “Hey, we have a weekly meeting, and you get lunch hour with me every week and we will cover XYZ and some it’s kind of informal of just “Hey, I’m going to be with you I’m alongside you. You can call me when you want”, whatever that looks like, or even if you haven’t, some team members that are fairly recent grads, being able to vocalize that to have hey, we’ve got folks that I brought on board as new grads and couple years later looking them go and so the mentorship side is again that intangible free opportunity that I think a lot of people don’t even necessarily recognize they have the ability to give.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Is it mostly clinical mentorship they’re looking for? is it practice ownership? like when you say mentorship, what are they hoping to learn from you?

Becca Starks: Yeah, definitely medical at the top of that, but there are again, those those candidates that just know that they know that they want to be very involved in the practice management, the business side of the house. And so for those candidates that are interested in it, being willing to say “Hey, here’s I’ll show you all of our programs and all of our software and how I design the day and this is how I designed the business side of the house”, and so in those situations for folks that are interested in that side, I think it’s important to have just kind of an open door policy of “I’ll show you all that. I’ll show you that number. So I’ll let you in on this.”

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So for practice in a particular geographic area, if you can get your salary and benefits close, but they don’t necessarily have to be higher. They just have to be within range and you can kind of check off all the other boxes. Is there a type of practice like heavy medical versus refractive versus specialty that people are looking for?

Becca Starks: Yeah, so definitely looking at highly medical. And then what I would also say is kind of another somewhat intangible, but if practice owners are open to new specialties that maybe you don’t have in your practice right now. But hey, if there’s somebody who comes in and is passionate about whatever it may be, and they want to bring that into my practice, that’s a really enticing thing for a candidate to really see themselves. They’re in the long haul of “Wow, I’m passionate about myopia management and this practice says, by all means bringing that on.” That’s such a great thing to be able to offer to a candidate and so definitely, medical and specialties are really where the candidates are wrapping their brains around of how do I see myself there.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And what if you’re in rural Wisconsin, where there’s just not a huge population of optometrists looking to settle? What’s the best way for a practice like that to set themselves up to find somebody to join because so many of those are great opportunities to become part of a community to ultimately partner buy a practice have a really low cost of living like it’s how do they make themselves attractive or show how attractive they are I guess I should say.

Becca Starks: Yeah, and I think that so often because I get the luxury of talking to these practice owners in some of these more rural areas. And every time I’m just like, Wow, if I could just record this and let all of these candidates see this owner care about the type of patients they get to see a lot of times it’s the smaller communities that because there’s not a nearby ophthalmology or another office like those are the most medically focused practices. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Absolutely. 

Becca Starks: Yeah. And so, so often I feel better. Oh my gosh, if I could just package this up and get a candidate to truly wrap their head around it. So one of the things that we do on the candidate side is our current advisors do as soon as a student comes in and says, “I only want Miami in New York and LA”, we try to mentor as well and show your kind of cost of living and let’s truly take a look at this and let’s look at your lifestyle and look at

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Miami, LA, how about rural Wisconsin?

Becca Starks: Right? Yep. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And consider Minnesota.

Becca Starks: Exactly. We play that game all day long. Yep. And then to the practice owners, a lot of what I tell them is, they’ll tell me I say they get to brag. So give me your brag book, when they come on as a partner to me, tell me what’s so great about your practice. And then they’re typically ready to end the call and I say, “Okay, based on your area, we also want you to brag on the geographic location just as much as the opportunity and so getting a candidate to truly understand what their life is going to be like, not just when they’re at work with you all day, but once they leave work, and what does this community look like and what can I do there? Is it great for hiking, is it great for the music scene, and the art scene? Is it great to raise a family and maybe I’m not thinking about that right now. But in the next couple of years, I will be.” And so I always say “Somewhere in your job description, however, you want to do it. It’s a post that you’re putting on to kind of an Indeed or an AOA. Having information, just typed information about your geographic area and what makes it so great. And then also, the other added thing you can do is you can always create videos.” Videos are I feel like that’s kind of how we’re all digesting content at this point. And especially this generation of these new grads, and so if you can even do a quick it doesn’t have to be professionally shot but videos of you just speaking informally, almost as if you’re speaking to a candidate who wouldn’t be right in front of you talking about again, envisioning their life there, the more that a practice owner can make a job description or job post about the candidate instead of themselves. The better that that’s going to relay to the candidates have just really getting to understand “Okay, this isn’t what I thought I was thinking Miami, but now I can kind of envision how my life could be in Wisconsin.”

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: That’s a really strong and valid point. Because when I think about a job ad, it’s all about what we need and what we want. We’re looking for an optometrist to work these hours to do this and when I’m interviewing candidates for Associate optometrist, but really for any position I’m always sensitive to an applicant, who all they’re telling me is what this job is going to do for them. Right. So I’m very critical of it as an employer when they’re like, I’m looking to build my clinical confidence in myopia. I’m looking into, you know, whatever. And I think what are you going to do for me? But in the ad, maybe it should be the other way off, Here’s what I’m going to do for you so that they’re interested and intrigued by the post enough to then come in and want to tell me what they are going to do for me so

Becca Starks: Absolutely 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Cool. 

Becca Starks: We even have one it’s a Power Practice member that wrote a personalized it looks just like a letter you would receive from your grandma in the mail and it was so different and so eye-catching and so engaging. It was truly just a personalized letter, Dear Candidate, and then it just spoke really informally like, Hey, I get it. Words are hard, school is hard, but here’s what it would be like living here. Imagine if you could leave work and go out and do this, this, and this and your two hours within this big city so you can go catch a basketball game and be back home at night. And so it was just very, again trying to get that candidate to envision their life not only with that practice but in that geographical location. And so that was an incredible example. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Did it work?

Becca Starks: We’ve gotten some interest. We don’t have anybody signed on yet, but it has enticed interest.

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And talked about KMK a little bit again, just before we close. So if a practice owner is looking for an associate, they can reach out to you or how do they go about tapping into this database network matching service that you guys have?

Becca Starks: Yeah, absolutely. Yep. I would be the point of contact Becca Starks. And I’m sure you can put my email in the show notes, but it’s just Becca@kmkodcareers.com. And yeah, we typically just do a really informal introductory call and learn about the practice, learn about what they’re looking for. And then go over kind of our offerings. We’ve got two different offerings to choose from, just depending on what the practice owner is looking for. And then yeah, we just go from there. It’s really simple. It’s free to be in agreement with us and having us promote a practice. And so basically, we get that agreement going and then our current adviser starts promoting any of our partners that we’re working with. And then essentially once we have a student that is a great fit, we play the matchmaking game. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: I love it. Thank you. I think this is valuable information for new grads to help them understand what they’re going out into and some of the misconceptions they might be facing. But hopefully, we did our part today to try and reduce some of those and really give today’s employers a more real picture of new grads who are looking for jobs. So thank you so much for taking the time to do this and give this service to all of the optometrists out there.

Becca Starks: Absolutely. My pleasure, Bethany. Thank you. So much. 

Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Thank you


Read the Transcription

Kayla Ashlee: Having a budget set on what you guys are going to invest basically to throw this really sick party That’s what you need to figure out because the more of a really great event that you make of this the better your results are going to be.

Bethany Fishbein: Hi, I am Bethany Fishbein CEO of The Power Practice and host of The
Power Hour Optometry Podcast and my guest today is the ever-famous Kayla Ashlee from Spexy. She’s co-founder of Spexy Which is a training resource used by optical teams around the world today. We’re talking trunk shows. So Kayla thank you for joining me again. This is fun.

Kayla Ashlee: Awesome. Yes, Bethany. Thank you so much for having me again I really, really enjoy all of your podcasts. So just to be able to be a guest again. It’s a true treat.

Bethany Fishbein: Thank you. Hopefully you will enjoy your own as well and I’m excited to be talking about trunk shows and events in general because I feel like it’s something we used to talk about a lot and then once COVID happened everything stopped and it kind of dampened the enthusiasm. We just never came back to it. And so now finally people are starting to ask again what are those new practices that open during COVID have never heard of this concept. Practices that have done it before like oh, yeah, we kind of remember that was fun so I’m just excited that we’re in a place where we’re getting to have this conversation because it is something that people are asking about.

Kayla Ashlee: Absolutely, and I love that you brought up all of these new offices that had opened during and after COVID that really haven’t experienced the awesomeness that can really come from a really good trunk show so, perfect timing for this.

Bethany Fishbein: For those and for others, let’s define it because I feel like we say trunk show and sometimes new practice owners or new staff in a practice are like trunk what? Let’s make sure everybody knows what we’re talking about here.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah, so for a trunk show what makes the trunk show really great is you’re bringing in a brand usually one brand sometimes multiple but best successes with one brand is when you bring in a brand and that rep you make an event out of the whole frame show. So basically, a trunk shows a frame show where the reps bring in all of their rep bags that they have mass quantities of and they lay it out in your office for people to be able to come and look at the full entire line when you set it up like an event. It makes it kind of a little bit more of a to-do. It’s a big exciting event that people want to go to in your community that is rather exclusive because you can only carry so many styles of a certain brand in your office. And what’s really great is when you have a brand that you can feature everything people love being able to have kind of that exclusive opportunity to be able to pop in there and see everything that that brand has to offer. All the colors all the styles all the uniquenesses of the brand. That’s what’s really great about a trunk show and when an office does it right and plans that event accordingly, it can be really really powerful not only to increase the power of that brand and your office’s ability to sell it but to really increase, I guess the level of the awareness of your office and your local community. Because a lot of times when marketed properly the trunk show doesn’t just bring in patients It brings in all sorts of people that are wanting to shop around and look around.

Bethany Fishbein: Let’s talk about how to do one and make one a success. You said when you do this with the right brand How do you pick the right brand? Is it about the glasses? Is it about the wrap? What’s the criteria to choose?

Great question the right brand I would say would be a brand that has a lot of different offerings. I would not personally just bring in one brand that was just like kids or something that was just exclusive to just women, you know, you might have a rep that brings in a female brand and a male heavy brand and showcases those at one trunk show that would be okay but have offerings or have a brand that has multiple types of offerings. So for example, one of the best that we have seen is with that near Barcelona they have really subtle styles and really loud styles and they have styles that are very very feminine, styles that are very very masculine, styles that are very very sleek looking. All underneath the umbrella of the one brand and sunglasses Althomics. So when you have a more dynamic brand It’s a little bit easier to I guess showcase. However, I will say the most important part of a really great trunk show is you need to have a rep that has some personality.

Bethany Fishbein: I agree with you completely as you’re talking about the eyewear Kayla, I’m agreeing with you and at the same time if I had the choice, I would do a less dynamic brand with a more dynamic rep than the opposite because they can make all the difference in the world. Talk about what you want your rep to be to be somebody that you want to partner with for something like this.

Kayla Ashlee: I will start by telling you what not to do because I experienced it and it was terrible. We picked the most popular line for one of the big big trunk shows that we did for one of the offices that I was working with. We picked the most popular line that they sell because it’s the most popular line and it turns the best and it was awesome, right? We were like, yeah, we’re gonna do this brand and we got there and the rep was a complete fuddy-duddy. Seriously like sat behind the table with all the stuff did not really engage with people and what was funny was that typically, the rep would, with us when they were, you know showcasing, you know further rep visits their brand or I’m sorry the styles that were new and stuff like that. They were fun. It was almost like they were complete introverts that were only comfortable with our little team, and not with being able to really sell their brand. So I learned from that I learned what you need to do is to make sure that the rep will be able to I guess, properly showcase it to people. So a good little thing that I have done and I encourage offices to do is that when you’re choosing, you know, you got down to maybe you know, the two reps that you want to use for a trunk show when they come in for their rep visit where you know they’re picking and swapping out frames for your boards and stuff like that, when they come in for that visit, have them work with some people in your office, you know have them, hey, you know if you can stay call them let them know so they can plan it But like hey if you can stay an extra half hour or so I would really love if we can kind of see your style of how you like promoting this brand with some of our patients. And honestly that works out really well, and I am grateful for that one trunk show that was so awful where we had to step in which is our job as opticians to be able to step in and be able to sell it. That’s what you’re supposed to be there doing the rep is supposed to be kind of like an extra little perk that takes the whole level of the optical to a higher extreme for the event so you want the rep to really have the ability to communicate, the ability to sell really some people hate the word sell in our industry I know. But the ability to be able to talk about the uniquenesses of that brand and what the patient will end up loving about it, and then the other thing too is, I had a situation with a rep where they were nervous to sell it because they didn’t know what the office necessarily had it retailed at and I thought that that was really interesting. So let the sales rep know, you know, you don’t have to know the price of every single frame that you’re selling that’s part of your thing just hand it off to an optician then if you don’t want to talk numbers. But have them sell the brand, have them sell you the uniqueness have them sell what makes that style such a must-have for that patient. When you’re able to really almost kind of interview them like a working type interview for the frame show, you will have a much more successful frame show if you have a rep and I agree with you 100% If you have a really great rep that can really take that trunk show to the next level you will have much more success than just having your hottest selling style or brand or most unique overall brand.

Bethany Fishbein: I agree the rep can really make the event and we’ve always done it. We’ve promoted them as a stylist from whatever the company is and I think one thing that’s important that we learned along the way and we’ve had some we’ll call them learning experiences also, I’m thinking about when we did in our second year of practice this is like 20 years ago, but the rep showed up without his frames.

Kayla Ashlee: Are you kidding me?

Bethany Fishbein: I’m not. He like, forgot it was a show and he had one tray of like 18 of the newest things that I’m, not exactly sure what he thought he was going to do that day. But we ended up emailing everybody the show is off and we created a whole concern, you know, my mom, everybody, is everybody okay? Yes. Everybody’s okay. Yeah without frames but I do think you have to set expectations with a rep because what you want in your office might be different than what somebody else’s office wants. So we’ve learned along the way, if we’re expecting a certain level of dress like if we do a high-end frame brand sometimes the staff will dress up and if the rep shows up in Jeans and a button down, it’s like, we want them to know that if we have office policies on not using your cell phone in front of patients, you don’t want a rep that thinks it’s okay. So you have to do a little bit of expectation setting I guess.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s also helpful when offices are able to set the event as a more exclusive type deal. So one that we were working with an office on they were actually able to, they weren’t selling tickets but, you can reserve your spot at the party or at the event so that they kind of got an RSVP list basically is what it was, from patients of who was planning on being there. What was really great is their first set of emails, It’s all about planning. We’ll talk about planning soon. But their first set of emails that went out was like we’re going to do a trunk show, it’s going to be an exclusive event. If you are interested, please click this link here so that we know that you’re interested and we can keep you filled in and then once they kind of had a date narrowed down and the time and all that stuff then they were able to keep hitting those same patients. They would hit their full group of patients the entire time. But what was really great is that they got an interest level And if you’re able to go back to your rep with that area of interest and you can say hey, we’ve got 120 people. I’ve already pre-registered to be there now who’s going to actually show. Let’s say it’s even you know, 60% of them, okay, that’s still pretty nice if they’re actually if we can keep them engaged. So to be able to have kind of like an RSVP type event to set the expectation for the rep as well. As far as who’s going to be there. It’ll really help with their level of involvement, too.

Bethany Fishbein: Let’s talk planning, you pick a line. You’ve got your rep so, you know what you’re going to feature. What else are you thinking about needing to plan to make this a really fun event?

Kayla Ashlee: I think the best place to start is actually pre those things, you need to set what you want your budget to be. Now many offices have a hard time with having a marketing budget. That’s a whole ‘nother podcast.

Bethany Fishbein: Yes. This I know.

Kayla Ashlee: But having a budget set on what you guys are going to invest basically to throw this really sick party. That’s what you need to figure out because basically the more of a really great event that you make of this, the better your results are going to be the better the carrot the more interaction you’re going to get That’s what we talk about in all of our social media stuff that we train on. So you need to set up first what you guys are okay with budgeting. Now if you’re doing a trunk show often there’s one that we work with that does it every month which I think is insane and they have a turnout which is great, but they’re in a really unique part of their town to be able to do that. Most offices have success doing trunk shows once or twice a year other than that It gets a little bit too busy. You need to figure out what you’re going to invest in your trunk show in marketing and food and beverages. Are you going to have little giveaways? Are you going to have all of these other things and then also set up what you are planning to have? As kind of that incentive for people to come. They’re going to come for the trunk show. But when you partner with that rep, could you maybe set up something that was like hey rep we’re going to have 100 people at the event that have already confirmed and we’ve reconfirmed x amount of times. So we want to give them a little something. Can we do a giveaway? Would you consider going have these with us on a giveaway for a frame and stuff like that to get people to come in? If you can pre-plan what you want and what you want your expectations to be like we mentioned earlier for that rep, and for budgeting and everything else if you can plan all of that beforehand, you’re going to have a much greater success going through. So first budget.

Bethany Fishbein: Kayla, if someone you’re working with asks you “I don’t know. I’ve never done one of these before what should be a reasonable budget?”.

Kayla Ashlee: Oh gosh.

Bethany Fishbein: What number do you give?

Kayla Ashlee: Oh I would not give one. That’s what I would not do. You have to set aside what type of event you want to have. So if you want to have some people like to have like a taco truck come to their event. Especially if it’s like summertime and you’re in a part of town where people start coming over to the taco truck. And then you give out tickets for everyone that comes to your event. So their tacos are prepaid up to a certain amount of money when you start the RSVP process. You get a little better gist of what that budget should be. Some offices are like no we’re not going to do food, which is totally fine. You don’t have to for an event not at all and some offices are like hey we’re going to partner with a local brewery and we’re going to do the trunk show after hours and the brewery is going to give out their samples and that’s a good way to do it.

Bethany Fishbein: I’ve even seen some offices that will do it in someone else’s space. So do a trunk show in the brewery or in a cool gallery or something.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah, which is a really good way to like you said cross promote and cross promote specifically with people in your community. Because people that go to that brewery or go to that art gallery may not even know about you. So to be able to have those cross featured is quite genius. It really depends on how creative you really want to get on what your budget should be. When you are working with your local community, you do need to set a budget in my opinion for social media. You will, to send out ads within your local community, on social media. If you don’t have your social media up and running and doing a great job at it you need to be doing that we can help. Contact me I’ll help you out. But you need to be having a social media presence and you need to have some marketing in there You also need to have a marketing budget for your in-office patients. So the further ahead you plan the better your results are going to be. So let’s pretend that you do it every six months. So right after that last truck show you’re going to start planning for your next one. My timeline that I really love is give yourself at least three months to plan a trunk show. Minimum because if you don’t you’re just going to be kind of like hodgepodging things together last minute and it’s going to be a total mess. So once you have your budget and everything set out, the next thing is to start putting up awareness for it. So, you know, basically what day or what weekend or what week you’re going to have your trunk show start having little printouts there in your office that every patient that comes through when they leave the office with their receipt or if you’re an office that gives prescriptions or something like that you have the trunk show thing stapled to it. Every single patient that walks out. So you’re going to be doing a lot of digital stuff but you still don’t want to downplay the importance of having a repeat message being sent out with patients because technically, you’re not even going to see that patient again for another year. Who knows if they’re actually going to open their email? It’s a good little opportunity for you to be able to start marketing it beforehand. So then as you get closer and closer and closer then the awareness just starts coming, obviously a little stronger for patients.

Bethany Fishbein: One thing that I would do I would throw a step in the middle there is once you have that budget set and one thing that I would say and I agree with you I mean I’ve seen people do these with almost no investment. And I’ve seen multi-thousand dollars with celebrities and radio ads.

Kayla Ashlee: Awesome!

Bethany Fishbein: So you can make it as big or as small as you want to. But I think there’s a step in there where you have to really decide the theme like what the event is going to be and what it’s going to feel like because depending on the line. You can have a formal party with champagne and music you could do something very fun and casual. So I think that that’s going to start to determine what your marketing stuff is even going to look like. Are we doing this elegant? Are we doing this casual? Are we doing this fun? So I think some thought into, we call it five senses like what it’s going to look like feel like smell like taste like.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah.

Bethany Fishbein: How it’s going to be because, we’ve done some that are okay staff is going to wear all black and we’re going to wear heels and they’re going to do their thing. And we’re going to have very refined things for a certain line. And then we’ve done some everybody’s wearing jeans and the company gave us branded t-shirts and that’s a whole different vibe to your materials.

Kayla Ashlee: Absolutely and I think that’s a great thing to be able to figure out like you said in the beginning because everything else will the style of if you do end up bringing food, maybe it’s not a taco truck. Maybe you’re going to have catering people that come out with these delicious little hors d’oeuvres on their trays and things like that. So you’re absolutely right. So you definitely want to come up with a theme and a plan for the overall trunk show. Definitely. Now you also want to after you figured out your marketing you figured out your budgeting in my opinion I have seen the best results when we have offices do, it seems so silly, but basically an incentivizing type raffle. What I love about raffles is they’re seriously tickets. I should have grabbed my tickets, but they’re seriously just raffle tickets and you can have a million people enter your darn raffle for who knows what you’re giving away and you only have to give away the prizes that you want to give away. So I will always tell offices if you have a trunk show and people are showing up whether the rep is going to help you out or not, which hopefully they will but whether they’re going to help you out or not I think that you should give away one of those frames. I think that it should be a thing that you should have a giveaway for the trunk show for the frames that are there. And when you have a really good carrot, like we were talking about earlier, an incentive for people it allows for them to have more incentive to sharing your stuff throughout the community. So the reason I say all this is because in your social media let’s pretend that they take your social media posts and if they share it they can earn a raffle ticket and If they then bring other people to the events every person that you bring to the event, you’re going to get additional raffle ticket. Okay Well, you know what? I’m going to bring my friend Sally and then my best friend Nina and I’m going to bring them in and they’re going to come with me and they’re just saying because we’re going to go to dinner after the event. But then they end up buying stuff and they end up telling their friends about it. So having some sort of incentive to get the word out in your community I think is really really powerful and the longer that you have to be able to Plan that and plan all the things that you’re going to do. It’s going to be the very best. So I would say the social media marketing and everything you don’t want to do more than three months out. But you want to have a plan for it and the offices that are planned to start doing their marketing heavily at about two to three months out is where the ones that have the most success by far.

Bethany Fishbein: That kind of marketing you said it in the beginning even if those people don’t come to the office on the day of the trunk show and buy a frame, they’re hearing about the office multiple times. And learning that you are a fun office that sells cool products and does cool things. I think for some practices, they focus in on the result as being how many pairs of glasses did we sell that day? And that’s easy tangible result. Like of course, that’s what everybody wants to see.

Kayla Ashlee: Right, it’s measurable.

Bethany Fishbein: But there’s so many other benefits that come from it. Having something to put out there that shows the personality of the practice.

Kayla Ashlee: Yes, there’s one that one of our offices does every Christmas, which honestly I think is absolutely insane because our offices are already crazy enough. But they do one and they circle it around almost like a toys for tots type charity event that when you come to the event with one of those toys for donation or whatever that you’re able to then get a raffle and then they have an event centered around it and everything else. So teaming up with local like charities or something like that to do an event is also a really good idea as well. But the biggest thing again is planning it all out for sure.

Bethany Fishbein: So in addition to the social media promotion, the emailing to your own patients. What else do you do to get the word out there that you’re having this?

Kayla Ashlee: To build on that list just to recap after emailing to your own patients. Making sure that you’re hitting on those patients that are there in your office depending on what your community is like, talk to your community. Some communities are rather small. So it’s easy to kind of get the word out. Some of y’all are in big cities and so it’s a little bit harder to get the word out. But talking with local businesses as well with the promotion is also very powerful. Even just going to the other businesses in your complex, there was one time that we were working with an office that had a dentist’s office there and an orthodontist office like all in the same kind of like complex like big parking lot thing and we went over the dentist’s office and the head O.D. was friends with the head dentist that was at that office. But we went over there like promoting it like hey guys, we’re having this event later this Thursday or whatever, we would love to see you and the whole entire team came over and they had no idea we were there. Can you believe that?

Bethany Fishbein: I can because we see it all the time.

Kayla Ashlee: No idea We were even there and we made massive sales from them. And then of course they all became patients and everything else because we were right there. So having an excuse to go to other businesses and kind of promote what you’re doing is a really great opportunity as well. The other thing that I will recommend too is also within the community and focusing on other community businesses. We also sent out the invitation to other businesses. For example, like your local coffee shop or something like that. Like hey, we’re doing this big event There’s going to be a bunch of people there, you know, we’ve already had, you know, 100 RSVPs for it. We just wanted to let you know that if you guys wanted to be featured there and wanted to have a gift card or something like that for your guys’ business. We would love to have you there just to be there. But if you wanted us to feature you it’s basically like free marketing for them, If you guys wanted to have gift cards or something in our giveaways, we would love to be able to promote you too So promoting other local businesses is also really really powerful for the overall event. Yes. We are there to sell frames. Yes, we’re there to sell the specific frames for the trunk show. But at the same time if you can create a big event out of it, you will have a much greater impact for your practice overall.

Bethany Fishbein: One other idea that we’ve done and I want to talk about pricing and discounting and stuff in a couple of minutes. But on some of ours, we’ve done a friends and family card for staff to give to someone so even if we’re not discounting for everybody who comes to the show to use it as an opportunity for staff to invite their spouse their parent or their friend.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah.

Bethany Fishbein: Or something special kind of elevates it for them, too. And increases the initial turnout the number of people who say yes in the beginning.

Kayla Ashlee: Absolutely. I love that. Yeah, just having that extra little incentive to invite people is really powerful. And so many doctors try and bootstrap it and just do it all on their own get your team involved. Your team is all part of your community and if you can get them involved It’ll be a much better and more exciting turnout for sure.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, that’s one of the other benefits of this in addition to the opportunity for promotion getting your name out there having this event. Hopefully having a big day of sales. I think the benefit of it being something different from the day-to-day for staff is a big benefit. This becomes something you talk about and you look forward to and you plan for and it takes you out of the everyday we’re doing kind of the same thing. And gives you something else to focus on so talk logistics for a second, I know there’s some debate on this. Do a regular schedule during the frame show or do you say no and just have everybody focus on the show?

Kayla Ashlee: Great. Great. Great point. They are very conflicting opinions on this. I honestly have seen the best result by having a half day of patient care and then stopping patient care. So patients are aware of the vibe. They’re aware of the vibe. They’re aware that something’s going on. Maybe they didn’t know. Something like that. So you’re able to see patients for most of the day. But if it’s an evening event, you’ve already got everything set up I would have the rep there have them get working and bring in lunch for your staff. So everyone’s just on this, you know high little vibe of the day and then when you have those patients that are coming through your office you’re creating kind of this level of awareness. I have for offices that have set up trunk shows where they are at least seeing patients for half the day I have yet to have a practice that I’ve worked with and been there for where the patients don’t go “Oh, yeah, I was here earlier today!”. Awesome. That to me that says that you need to have patient care. Rather than just going without it because even just one other patient coming in or coming back in. It’s a good deal.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, I’m team patient care on this one because for exactly the reason that you said and maybe you end patient care a little bit early and let the show go on so that there’s time for additional sales and orders and stuff like that, but it’s the patients who walk in somehow, they miss the 15 emails that you sent about it and they’re like, what’s this? And now they are walking out of the exam room with a brand-new prescription the need for a pair of glasses and so they will usually participate in the event like they’re usually excited to see it.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah, there’s one patient. I’ll never forget her. Her name is Sherry. I won’t say her last name. But she was a great great great patient of ours and she was one who showed up back when I wasn’t working at Spexy and consulting I was actually in the office and I remember I’ll never forget, she comes in for her exam that day and she’s like, “Oh my gosh you guys didn’t even tell me!” and we’re like Sherry, I personally sent you a letter in the email and an email and all these other things right and she’s like, oh my gosh and she went and she was like part of like this book club or women’s tea thing or something. She literally went to her women’s tea thing told them all about it and how great we were and we were bringing in Lafont and she’s like how she loved Lafont frames and everyone needed to come see it. She brought I think there were like eight or ten of them her little crew of her little women and I was like “This is the best thing ever!”

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah.

Kayla Ashlee: And she had no idea and that was one of the offices that I was working in. So I thought it was a good idea to take my VIP patients that you know I knew were happy to buy new eyewear and love new eyewear and we wrote them handwritten letters. So I literally wrote her a letter. She didn’t even know so I think definitely team see patients my opinion.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah. That’s another idea for promotion because people who’ve bought something from the line you’re featuring or people who have come and shopped at trunk shows before and kind of know the fun of being able to have every size every color right there and not have to wonder would a different color look better or anything like that? They are kind of apt to come again one thing you said there and it’s another thing I’ve heard conflicting opinions on you said oh we were doing this we were bringing in Lafont? And I’ve heard offices talk about a trunk show as a way to introduce a new line what are your thoughts on working with something that you really haven’t worked much with before good idea or no?

Kayla Ashlee: I don’t see any problem with it. We had brought in Lafont just a month before. No, two months before because she got her first one. She was like one of our first Lafont buyers. So it was just a few months before that we had actually brought it in. But this was our first time doing a trunk show with featuring the new thing because not everybody had seen it. So I personally again, it’s going to come back to you don’t necessarily bring on your hottest seller. So it doesn’t have to be a brand that’s already established in your office. I think the focus should be on the rep and our Lafont rep was amazing and had so much spirit and just so much love and excitement and brought this vibe every time they walked into the office so we wanted that to be part of the trunk show. And so I would say if it’s a new brand and your rep is the most rad person on the planet bring them in.

Bethany Fishbein: Come help us welcome x to the office and that gives you a chance too to see what patient reactions are going to be and how they’re going to interact with the line do they love it as much as you love it. Hopefully they do.

Kayla Ashlee: Right.

Bethany Fishbein: For people coming to the event, do you usually recommend some kind of promotion, a discount, something on products for that day? Or is the incentive really being able to be part of the party and have that whole line there?

Kayla Ashlee: I think it is best to have it be part of the party I think so many times a discount we get in our heads that we’re overpriced in optometry. It’s just an optometry thing. We all got it in our heads. Like we’re very expensive. We’re very expensive. So if there’s an opportunity for us to give a discount a lot of doctors will just go. Yeah. Okay, let’s do it. So it is part of a promotion. But I would put your spend as what you would be losing in a discount. And I actually wrote an article on this and then InVision magazine a little while back to stop doing your annual sales. Just stop. Because so many people will hold off for those annual sales before they buy because “Oh, I might save 30% or I might save 40% or 50%.” and they won’t buy so you’re sacrificing some of your purchases in your day-to-day routine to then have this big sale that you’re doing and I don’t care if it’s necessarily sunglasses or you do an annual sale and whatever it is. Stop doing annual sales or routine sales that people can plan on. If you’re gonna do if you have a lot of discontinues that you need to get rid of do a flash sale. Nobody gets a warning. We don’t know what’s here and it’s only going to be here for a very short amount of time. I think for trunk shows that we shouldn’t do discounts. There should be incentives on you know, when you purchase you get an extra raffle ticket to get in for that free one or something like that. But offering discounts all the time. I think O.D.s often we shoot ourselves in the foot with a lot of our opportunity to make money that people are totally happy to spend and I think when you put an event together like a really beautiful trunk show you have a beautiful line. You have a really fun and active rep, people are there with the vibe and it’s not focused on necessarily the sale of it all.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, it’s such a good point Kayla because I’ve seen that where once you tell staff especially oh, we’re going to do the show and then all those frames are going to be 30% off they can’t ethically feel good about selling something full price even two months before, and so I have seen that where they start to say “Oh don’t get it today come back.” and some tiny percentage of patients actually do so the ones who come back are saving money and all the ones who don’t come back are back next year with the same complaints because they never got their new glasses.

Kayla Ashlee: Right.

Bethany Fishbein: So, that’s really a valid point.

Kayla Ashlee: I was just going to add to that I was doing an immersion event which is where we go I take my team and we go into an office and work with them and we were two months out from their annual sale that they had where they had massive discounts on every single one of their frames and I personally watched four people. They only had a half day worth of patient care because we were training the other half the day but, four people spoke out of their mouths “Oh, you have your annual sale coming up, right? Okay. I’ll be back in two months.”.

Bethany Fishbein: Right and if you wrote down those four names and called the office in two and a half months and asked how many of them came back. I don’t know how many it is, but it’s not going to be four. It’s probably not three either. Everybody means to come back and then they just don’t.

Kayla Ashlee: Taking advantage of a patient when they’re right there in front of you is the best thing that you can possibly do. And I say taking advantage in the best way what I mean by that Is taking the opportunity to be able to sell to that patient right then and not saying okay patient, there’s a sale in you know, two, three months and whispering in their ear, you know? And you’ll be able to save a lot of money because whether it be for us or our staff, we don’t love overcharging people. But like you said so beautifully we’re kind of planting that seed in our own minds and in their mind Oh, it could be for less or it has been less before. So as far as discounts mm-mmm.

Bethany Fishbein: So other day of logistics, what do you have non-optical staff doing, what else do you need to think about going on in the office that same day?

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah, day-of you want your whole team to be on what I call the vibe. You want everyone to just be on cloud nine? It’s the best day ever. This is the best place to work ever. It’s going to be the best party. So this is one of the struggles with having patient care because when you have patient care, there are some things that you have to do, you know get on phone with insurance companies and all that kind of stuff. But that’s why I like really kind of phasing it out. But day-of it’s all about creating this vibe for your team. So that morning maybe if you’re a donuts office donuts and coffee. Maybe you have other little things that you do for your office, but start with like donuts and coffee. There’s little snacks back there throughout the day. Keep the staff happy because a lot of times for trunk shows you’re running after hours and things like that. It’s okay if people go into overtime people, it’s all right. But if they’re happy and they want to be there and they want to be doing that, then you need to reward them accordingly. So if you have an office where you have a team that is running 40 hours a week and they’re okay with going into 42 or 43 hours, then I’m so happy to pay you overtime wages for that and we’re going to make this event really great. I say that because there was one office that I worked with very recently that the doctor had called me. And made it into the leadership course. Because the doctor called me and he was like “Hey, my staff is really upset and blah blah blah blah and I talked with the office manager and basically it came down to they were being asked to put in extra hours, but didn’t know if they were going to be paid overtime for those hours.” And I was like, oh, okay. So this is a communication issue.

Bethany Fishbein: Right.

Kayla Ashlee: Being able to set the expectation for your team on we’re going to take care of you for this event. We love you guys. This is so great making it really fun that day and then making sure rewarding them accordingly I always like giving the team an incentive for that day. I like giving entire team incentives. You know how many Sally sold and how many Mary sold and how many Jill sold? I don’t like that. What I like doing is having the whole team incentive like okay guys, so this is our goal we’re going to sell a hundred or whatever it is. Whatever your number is. We’re going to sell this many or if we sell this many and figure out what that number would be. And then work backwards on the profitability for the office and work in an incentive for your team. So after we sell this many we’re going to put 20 bucks into the pot for each one and then at the end everyone splits this pot, right? Make sure that everyone is all-hands-on-deck and then when people are not all-hands-on-deck, what’s really funny is that they will be real soon. Because the rest of the team who wants to be selling things, if this guy is not doing his part then it’s going to bring out the whole team. So everyone is contributing and on the same level. So I always say same day make sure and do incentives for your team that you reward heavily for that.

Bethany Fishbein: One of the quotes that I like is “Treat your team the way you want them to treat your best customers or your best patients.”. And so what you’re saying is a perfect example of that. You want them to greet your patients with excitement. You want them to be happy about the little extras, invite them to share in all the extra cool things that day. So you coming in in the morning and doing that for your team Is setting it up that they’re going to do the same thing when your patients start arriving for the show.

Kayla Ashlee: Beautifully stated.

Bethany Fishbein: What else as far as day-of?

Kayla Ashlee: The day-of you want to be hyping up social media with what’s happening that day. Some offices do not engage in social media stories. They’re like, yeah, we have a company that posts for us occasionally. This is your day to do your social media stories. So be posting on social media, you know, the frame lines, scan the frame lines that are coming or all the different frame styles that are out there, videotape the food truck as it pulls up, or take pictures of your team trying on certain things hyping it up. Locally when you do stories like that and you have a lot of local followers, it’ll help to increase your engagement and awareness and then take lots of pictures during the event. You do not have to post them all I would actually recommend that you don’t. Post a few during the event and then after that just keep them because you can do some flashbacks on your social media and everyone will be able to see how great of a really killer-event you can throw, and everyone has a really great time and you can feature all of the different vendors. What I love about having different vendors whether you’re paying for a taco truck to be there or you have a brewery that you’ve partnered with is that you can tag them and all of your stuff. So all of their followers will see your stuff as well. Super important there too.

Bethany Fishbein: We’ve been like super positive. I have to ask like just a little like, blanket questions. One of the things that’s come up especially recently is patients ordering frames during a trunk show and then the frames are back ordered for six weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks. I had a client recently where they were so happy a patient bought multiple pairs of glasses. Had to make the call that they’re not going to get these glasses for eight weeks and then the patient said forget it and canceled the sale. Any tips for ways to avoid?

Kayla Ashlee: So painful.

Bethany Fishbein: I know it’s awful to hear I’m like aaagh.

Kayla Ashlee: Well, I will say without naming any names or brands that there are brands that are notoriously on stinking back order all the time. I would personally I don’t care how cool the rep is, if that was the case, I would not bring that brand in.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, because you know, you’re gonna end up with most of the people that are buying, ultimately not as happy as they should have been.

Kayla Ashlee: Exactly. Yeah. So if you do and that could be a really good conversation with a lot of the brands that you’re filtering through on which ones to bring in is, have you guys been having any backorder problems because we want to make this a really good thing for both of us. No reps are reps and though we love them, they’re gonna be like, oh no, it’s fine.

Bethany Fishbein: I got the whole line in the trunk of my car. No problem.

Kayla Ashlee: I will say the best results that I have ever seen and personally had in offices with trunk shows has been with a little bit more kind of like boutique-y type brands. Definitely more on the independent side of brands. I am a huge advocate for independent frame brands and one of the reasons why is just because a lot of them you can actually meet the person who’s making the glasses.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah.

Kayla Ashlee: There’s one gentleman that I know his name’s Blas for Laibach & York and I know that if I was putting in a big order for something I could call Blas and be like “Hey bud we need these. I need them like right now.”. So if we were doing a trunk show I could be like, hey, we’re gonna prioritize this, right? We’re gonna make sure all of our people are there. Yeah. Okay, cool. That’s one of the benefits of working with independent lines is you kind of get less people to go up the chain to get to the top. So you can make that happen. But if you historically have a brand that releases something new and then they’re on stinking back order forever, might not want to choose that brand for my trunk show just my opinion.

Bethany Fishbein: And then just to close this out here talk about the afterwork because that’s so critical in the success of the show and it’s tempting at the end of a long day to just leave everything and walk out, and the next day you come in and oh wait, I didn’t write that frame down. There’s a post-it note that says 5-3-6 on it, and I don’t remember why.

Kayla Ashlee: Oh, for heaven’s sakes!

Bethany Fishbein: I think that what happens in the 24 hours after a frame show is also really important and ultimately the patients who participated, who took advantage of the event having a memorable great event that what lingers is how great it was instead of this…

Kayla Ashlee: Chaos.

Bethany Fishbein: This whole confusion that occurred after the fact.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah, absolutely. I love that you’re getting so close to the after the fact trunk show because usually the conversation is a little bit further than right after the trunk show, but I will preface this with during your trunk show have a setup where you know that you can hand off to somebody who maybe is not an optician. Maybe who you know it’s kind of like the biller from the back and she’s there and she’s happy to be there, but she doesn’t have anything to do like she just smiles with people and stuff like that. Have a buddy. I can’t believe I didn’t talk about this earlier. Have a buddy at the trunk show with each of your opticians that you can hand things off to so you have the measurements. You wrote down patient Mary Smith was there you wrote down her measurements and her frame and everything else. So then you can turn around and be like, hey Sally can you go ahead and take this, wrap it up or you can say “Hey Sally? I didn’t write down the frame number. Here’s the frame. Here’s the number. Will you write this on here?”. So you have kind of that buddy that is there playing a very important role as far as bringing up that energy at the office. But can also easily step away from a patient really quickly and go write something down for you so you can go and work with that patient that’s a little bit more of a priority because they’re actually waiting to be checked out or something like that. So I would say beforehand, hopefully have a buddy so that we don’t have the post-it note with 8-5-4-2 sitting on it. That will help to alleviate that however I love your point with bringing up right after the trunk show once your trunk show ends plan to have cleanup. Who’s going to be doing cleanup? Who’s going to be doing this who’s going to be doing this because so many times? It’s just like we have to clean up all the food and everything else and then the opticians maybe didn’t get a chance to write down their numbers. And so have an expectation with your team like, okay guys I know we’re ending at 8 p.m., and I know y’all want to get home. But please plan on not leaving till 8:45 because we’re going to do this and have this cleanup all ready to go. And you know, you’re going to have that lingering patient that stays there until you turn off the darn lights. It always happens.

Bethany Fishbein: I just want to try it in one more color.

Kayla Ashlee: Yeah. So, I would say set the expectation with your team on when you’re closing down to be able to be there after when you’re supposedly able to close so that you’re able to kind of wrap those things up. Now the follow-up after the trunk show I think is really really vital to make sure first thing the next morning that all of those orders get entered in. So if it is we’re not going to start patient care until two hours later, then you’re able to have the two hours that your team can basically get all caught up. Because like you said beyond that 24-hour time frame if you’re beyond that you start forgetting things and oh, yeah, I was supposed to make those photochromic, or I was supposed to do those polarized you messed up the order right and it happens. I’ve yet to see a trunk show that we don’t have mess the board but it’s just part of the thing, but that’s okay you can minimize that as much as possible if you give your team time and ability to be able to maybe come in early if you’ve got a very dedicated staff that has no problem coming in, you know an hour or an hour and a half early work without patient care when you’re entering in orders and billing insurances and things like that. You can get three hours’ worth of patient care time work done in an hour because you don’t have the patient interruption. So being able to give your staff that extra time telling them that you can come in in the morning a little early if you want to do that or, starting patient care a little bit later is really really great. The other follow-up thing that I will say with trunk shows is thank your patients. Thank people who are there. We had people who would sign in when they were there and then we had a gal that was a high school student. We loved her. She was great that would just call and just like “Hey, we’re happy that we got to see you last night, thanks for coming in.” things like that or put them in an email send out an email blast If you don’t have the time for that and you like to be more digital, but say thank you to people for coming I think that’s really awesome with creating that community and support within your community. And then if you have any vendors that work with you make sure and thank them as well. Because being able to promote within your community again is very powerful.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, and then post your raffle pick on social media. And even as people are picking up their things that they got at the show. I mean this really gives you something to talk about for two to three months.

Kayla Ashlee: Yes. You have a lot of great ideas.

Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, thank you. There’s so much fun to do. Anything in your mind that you are thinking? Something else you wanted to say? Anything to add before we close?

Kayla Ashlee: I don’t think so. This was very dynamic It was a much more dynamic conversation I thought it would be. That’s good.

Bethany Fishbein: I’m, usually pretty boring, but every once in a while, I can bring it. You bring out the best in me.

Kayla Ashlee: You are not boring.

Bethany Fishbein: Thank you and Kayla, you’ve given so many good ideas and alluded to some of the resources that you have for training and information. Where does somebody get more information from you?

Kayla Ashlee: To learn more about Spexy, you can go to our website at bespexy.com that’s b-e-s-p-e-x-y bespexy.com and that’s where you can see all our memberships and all the courses and things that we train on and tools that we give to make people have a little bit easier time with their trunk shows. So definitely something like that.

Bethany Fishbein: Awesome, and for more information on Power Practice, you can find us online powerpractice.com. Thank you so much for listening.

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