We all know that GOOD healthcare is expensive.
There’s plenty of eye care places to get in-and-out in 10 minutes with 2 pairs of glasses and a free eye exam for less than $70. However, we vow to provide the best routine and medical eye care in private practice. Lately, I’ve noticed more and more patients asking for financing options during this weird COVID-19 era. My usual patients who are big spenders are now being a little more conservative with their funds, and I don’t blame them.
About 3 months ago, I signed up with Sunbit to offer straightforward payment plans to patients. I know, nothing new, right? But Sunbit is very different. They accept approximately 90% of patients and even those with low FICO scores. Many of us offer other financing options, and it’s been a lifeline for many patients for many years. However, it’s always good to have alternatives.
I recently started taking a different approach when offering payment plans.
I realized they are not just for the working poor or financially savvy patients. Everybody enjoys paying things off over time. Whether it’s a new patio furniture set or eyeglasses, it feels good to split a $900 bill for 2 pairs of progressives lens complete pairs of glasses in 3 equal pays of $300 over 90 days.
As an optician, sales have always come naturally to me. Maybe it’s my dashing good looks (LOL), or just I’m great at offering frame and lens recommendations that patients really appreciate. I’m pretty blunt with patients when something looks good or bad! Maybe they like that about me.
I digress. Let’s get into the meat of the financing conversation.
I started mandating my opticians and techs always offer payment plans for contact lenses and eyeglasses. No matter what price a product or service is, always provide it. Being proactive and offering a payment plan, whether 3, 6-months, or 12-months, can make or break a sale. Patients hate when you tell them the price of a year’s supply of contacts is $800 for the best daily, and they get that look of frustration. Nobody wants to switch to a less comfortable lens because they can’t afford the best. Dry, scratchy eyes are not worth saving a few dollars over.
You have to calm the patient’s fears in your office by acknowledging you are looking after their financial well-being.
Patients know when they come to your office, they will walk out paying something…even with their vision insurance and plans. It gives patients anxiety knowing they need to come to their local optometrist or optician to see well but will walk out paying anywhere from $300 to $1500 for services.
Before every sales presentation, I like to tell my patients, “Before I tell you the price, just know we offer easy payment plans. You can choose from 90, 6 months, or 12 month periods. Get what you want now and pay off over time.” I know, it sounds really like a used-car salesperson, but it’s really effective in getting patients to make a decision now rather than go home and deliberate about a purchase they know they need to make. You might think your affluent patients will be humiliated by you mentioning the payment plans, but they will just shrug it off if it’s not appropriate for them.
Let’s talk about how exactly Sunit financing programs work.
First off, let’s go through the main benefits:
- About 30 seconds to apply for a payment plan
- 90% of patients approved
- 90 days 0% interest is the most popular
- Soft credit pull that does not affect credit score
- Not a credit card
- Small down payment
- Everything done a tablet, no paper involved!
- The whole transaction is 100% transparent and easy for patients to understand
Step 1: Scan a state-issued identification card
It’s always been too time-consuming offering patients other financing programs. Even if it takes only 5 minutes to complete, it seems an eternity and too confusing for your patient. Sunbit is unique because it takes about 30 seconds and simply starts with scanning a state-issued ID. It pulls a patient’s name and address from the card, so there is less manual typing.
Step 2: Enter purchase amount and review the consents
Sunbit’s maximum purchase financing amount is $2000. This is plenty of money for most eyecare purchases, whether it is a dry eye treatment, rigid gas permeable contact lenses, or 3 pairs of glasses. You, as the merchant, simply type in the purchase mount and have the patient review the consents on the tablet.
Step 3: Review payment terms
All qualified patients are eligible for 90 days 0% interest payments. Additionally, they can receive 6-month or 12-month terms to pay their bill. These more extended periods have interest attached to them and are based on their credit score. Even with interest, though, the amounts are pretty affordable for most patients.
What’s excellent about Sunbit is they make all pricing super transparent. All fees are clearly printed on the tablet, so the patient knows precisely their charges. There are no surprises with Sunbit.
Step 4: Scan debit card to take down payment
The last step with Sunbit is to scan your patient’s debit card. Sunbit requires patients to make a small downpayment of their purchase, which is auto-calculated when you apply. When you scan the debit card, it reads the numbers, so data entry is easy. The down payment will be charged to the debit card right away. Next, all monthly payments will be taken from that debit card over the payment term. The patient will never be late since the payments are on autopay.
My favorite Sunbit feature! Staff performance metrics.
Real results from a large eyewear store
You know the old saying, “you can’t improve what you can’t measure.” This applies really well to optometry staff. Sunbit has a dashboard for offices that allows you to know which staff members are actually offering Sunbit as an option for payment. It records the exact dollar amount each staff member has financed for patients through Sunbit.
This dashboard will allow you to reward staff members who are offering it and having meaningful meetings with staff members who are being shy about offering it. It’s a numbers game. The more you present Sunbit as a payment option, the more success you will have with it.
We want the eye doctor to feel like a safe place, especially financially.
The more proactive you are about offering flexible payment terms, the more comfortable your patients will feel at your practice or optical. Eyecare is really a fashion-forward healthcare area. It’s essential patients get what they want now and feel comfortable in their own skin. If you are struggling to make ends meet for patients or just want to boost your sales in office, give Sunbit a try.