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Dollars & Sense

Sales & Marketing Working Together

Sales and marketing are often used in the same sentence, and very casually.  In reality, many businesses only invest in one and often wonder where is the return on my investment?


You may have jumped to the conclusion that I was referring to marketing.  I’m not.  Think of a rope; on one end is the sales function and on the other is the marketing function.  They’re on the same rope and if the rope is going to be functional, both ends need to be used.  Doing marketing without a sales function following up on leads, is just as insane as sending out a sales team without any marketing support.  Each function is important on its own, but they become functional if they work together.


I am often asked how much should I spend on marketing?  A simple rule of thumb is 1-3 percent of top line revenue per month.  If revenues are $50,000 per month, invest a minimum of $500 a month in marketing.  $500 may not sound like much, but with a yearlong plan—and a goal—you will have invested $6000 in growing your business and supporting your sales efforts.  There may be some months you will want to raise that to 3 percent, perhaps during sun season, back-to-school, or end-of-year programs.


Marketing your business is an investment, not an expense.  Arming your sales team with strong marketing makes great sense, and the dollars will follow.


Michael Karlsrud is the owner and CEO of 6 Calls, a tele-services company that serves the optical industry with its two divisions; Telecare and Business-to-Business. or


Lab Notes

COLA Joins the Vision Council

The California Optical Laboratories Association (COLA) signed a comprehensive Joint Operating Agreement with the Vision Council becoming The California Lab Committee under the Optical Lab Division umbrella, one of six operating divisions within The Vision Council. Under the terms of the agreement, the current COLA leadership will remain in place for the next several months to ensure a seamless transition.

The Vision Council has committed to support the continuation of the association's programs, including their annual meeting in the spring. In addition, COLA members will be immediately eligible to receive all benefits and services offered by The Vision Council.

Transitions Top Finalists for the 2012 Lab of the Year

The three finalists for the 22nd annual U.S. Lab of the Year award are Diversified Ophthalmics, Expert Optics and Walman Optical. All of the Transitions Awards program finalists and winners will be recognized during a special awards ceremony, held on Jan. 29 during the 17th annual Transitions Academy at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla. Check the March issue of LabTalk for a special article and photos of the winning lab and the Transitions Academy.

Luzerne, Milroy and Vision Craft Selected 2012 VisionWeb Lab of the Year Honorees

VisionWeb has selected the following labs as their 2012 VisionWeb Lab of the Year Honorees: Luzerne Optical, Wilkes Barre, PA;  Milroy Optical, Tampa, FL; and Vision Craft, Walled Lake, MI. The VisionWeb Lab of the Year program was created seven years ago as a way to reward spectacle lens laboratories that have shown exemplary results growing and maintaining customer loyalty using VisionWeb. The Lab of the Year Honorees are featured in a special section on the VisionWeb site, are announced to VisionWeb members via e-newsletter, and also receive an award commemorating their recognition.

Veteran Sales Rep Don Campbell Passes Away

Don Campbell, a well-known and popular optical sales representative who worked extensively through the Southeast, passed away on November 23, 2012. Campbell, who was 69 years old, had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease for the last eight years,
In the early 1980s, Campbell worked for many wholesale optical labs, including Garmon Optical in Atlanta, Georgia, Campbell Optical in Florida, Lens Tec in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, I Care Industries/London Labs in Orlando, Florida and Cobb Optical in Miami, Florida. He then shifted to selling optical equipment such as the AIT and Briot brands. In 1991, Campbell moved to Texas to work with Briot. He later went to work for Santinelli International and then ODI/Topcon.
Campbell is survived by Ruth Sikora, his significant other for the past 30 years, and his son, Mark Campbell.

Zeiss and Vision-Ease Entered into a Royalty-Bearing License Agreement

“We’re pleased to license our patented technology to Vision- Ease via this agreement,” said Joe Donahoe, Carl Zeiss Vision’s president, North America. The patents cover certain types of back-surface free-form progressive lenses and processes by which they are made. These include types of progressive lenses whose front surfaces are rotationally symmetric with the back-surface progressive design determined by the individual prescriptions alone or in combination with other customization options.


Focus On...

Focus On...21st Century Optics

It’s been two generations in the making, so it’s no surprise that Ralph Woythaler’s job has entailed a whole lot of everything.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur since 1967, so there’s really nothing I haven’t done within this company. I’ve handled finance, marketing, operations. Then my job became building teams to work with me in all these functions,” noted Woythaler, now chairman of 21st Century Optics, with two locations in Long Island, City, NY and Warren, NJ. Through the years, Woythaler has overseen seven moves for the optical lab, all the while nurturing a family business that includes brothers Barney and Michael, and son Robert.

Since 2004, when Essilor purchased 80 percent of the business, the Woythalers have learned the corporate side of optical.
“Essilor provides functions that independents always struggle with: Human Resources and Research & Development. It’s been a positive change that made us stronger,” Woythaler said.

The company just moved its New Jersey facility to accommodate a $1.5 million expansion that includes two lines of digital equipment, an upgraded conventional lens line, a third AR machine that enables increased Crizal coatings, and an industrial edger.

As 21st Century has introduced new technology, its workforce of 105 has been retrained and redeployed. For Woythaler, the connection with those workers is his proudest accomplishment.

“I think of the hundreds of people who were employed here over the decades. We’ve been responsible for a lot of people, enabling them to care for their families, and that is the thing I am most proud of,” Woythaler said. Looking ahead, 21st Century is taking some steps to strengthen its customers’ businesses by converting regular progressive sales to digital at no extra cost, and offering incentives for the dispenser to add AR for better vision. “We’re about 60 days into it, and it’s working. The patients are happier with their lenses,” Woythaler said. These days, Woythaler spends one week a month at the lab, and also consults with Essilor. He noted that his brothers also are gradually backing away: “It’s time to move aside and let the young blood take over.”

LabTalk Spotlight

Optical Industry Trends Affecting Labs

While reviewing the overall forecast for 2013 for the national economy is important, there are key changes in the optical industry that are predictors of what is to come. The Vision Council conducted several surveys and after careful analysis of the results, came to these conclusions. Check out these 7 trends to see how they will impact your future and the future of your lab.

The Changing Face of our Customer Base
Raising the level of involvement by the owners in their dispensary remains a battle. More than half of their practice’s income is derived from their dispensary and yet in most cases this is the one aspect of their business to which they are the least connected. Many million-dollar-plus practices are being run by individuals with no formal training and no vested interest in the success and health of the business beyond their paycheck. The Ohio State college of Optometry now estimates that 73 percent of all revenue generated, in the average ECP's office, comes from the dispensary. The optical laboratories success is becoming linked, more and more, to "opticians" many of whom have no formal training. Do you have a plan in place to train your customers?

Find out six more trends by reading the entire article at — the newly redesigned LabTalk Web site.


Make What You Say, Pay!

Nailing Down Business

When trying to nail down business, there is nothing more frustrating than clients delaying their decisions, to which I say, choose your words carefully and, as one of my clients calls it, “Be bold!” Here are five ways to do this:

REMIND clients of the benefits and value they said they wanted and liked in your product or service. Remind them of what they are losing by delaying.

If they are giving answers like, “We’re not quite there yet” or “We’re working on it,” POLITELY DIG to find out what that means. You might be able to surface an unmet concern or help them work out the obstacle to moving forward.

If dealing with a middleman, ask if he personally is in favor of taking action now. If he replies in the affirmative, ASK ABOUT THE DECISION MAKER and what she is like. Depending on her working style, she may need more information, more reassurance, more creative ideas, or more attention from your senior management than your middleman has been giving her. Then, craft a strategy to get agreement from her.

CONSIDER SENDING metaphorical props or an apt quote or cartoon a day to illustrate the benefit of committing sooner rather than later. (One of my favorites is the cartoon of the secretary handing a note to her boss as he returns to lunch with the caption, “While you were out, the paradigm shifted.” Your note would be words to the effect that business is moving quickly and (because of all the reasons you would have discussed with them earlier) it is in their interest to commit now, rather than later. Do they agree?)

Whatever you do, WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE. It is so easy to burst out with “What do I have to do to get you to agree?” That reflects how you feel, but it turns off buyers, since they don’t really care about you or being pushed into a contract. Far more effective would be to say, “What do you need to know or see to help you decide to move forward now?”

With the election finished, both candidates emphasized that the direction now is forward. Do the same. Tactfully but assertively help your prospects move forward with you in business.

Words Matter: Make What You Say Pay! ©2012 Anne Miller, author, “metaphorically Selling”

New Products

Two New Finishing Products from Santinelli

Santinelli International introduces two new consumable products with Value-Edge blocking pads and Grip-Tight intermediate film. These two budget-friendly finishing solutions are designed to improve finishing quality. The Value-Edge blocking pad is made with specially formulated foam and adhesive that resists rotational forces and prevents the pad from “wrinkling.” The Grip-Tight intermediate film provides asset security against slippage, giving the lens clamp a more secure grip. The intermediate film comes in both a standard and high curve version. For more information contact Santinelli International at 800-644-3343 or visit their Web site at

Distruptive Technology from Quantum

The Fusion-M In-Line Coating System is the newest innovation from Quantum. Referred to as a "disruptive technology" the Fusion-M provides the ultimate flexibility of applying a process on one lens at a time. For example, you can put AR on the front of the lens, and then put a mirror coating on the front and an AR on the back of the next lens in line.  This allows a lab to process any coating request without the need to wait until enough orders have accumulated to fill a large batch. Another unique feature of the Fusion-M is its quick startup and shutdown time. Production can begin less than seven minutes after powering the machine on. In addition to faster start times, this also allows the Fusion-M to be more efficient and requires far less energy consumption, which may provide additional cost savings. For more information contact Quantum Innovations at 888-268-3414 or visit their Web site at

Two New Products from PSI

Practical Systems, Inc., (PSI) has been busy lately coming out with two new products for optical labs. First is their new Sure-Lock Hydrophobic Gripping Discs.  Sure-Lock discs are made of a unique material that aids in edging lenses, including lenses with super-hydrophobic coatings. Sure-Lock is a clear ­oval disc that is placed directly on the lens. The blocking pad is placed on top of the disc. Sure-Lock’s adhesive provides a strong bond with the lens and a stable base for the blocking pad to adhere to without torquing. They are easily removed with the ­finger-lift tab provided.

For those who are still processing glass, PSI’s new Glass Master Polishing Pad produces a brilliant shine and luster on all types of glass lenses, with shorter cycle times. Its unique material is com­patible with both diamond fining and emery fining processes. Glass Master adheres properly to bare tools or gripper pads. The new, strong and du­rable bonded material maintains its integrity with virtually no shedding or erosion during the processing cycle. Available in a roll of 250.

For more information on all of these PSI products, please contact PSI at 800-237-8154 or visit their Web site at

New Free-Form Seiko Supernal

Seiko launched Seiko Supernal, the first free-form lenses designed using an advanced 3D Virtual Reality System for improved lens design capabilities. The Supernal offers seven automatic semi-variable insets based on the prescription range from 1.75mm to 3.25mm, in 0.25mm increments. The Supernal also utilizes patented “Internal progressive and Internal Aspheric design” to reduce blurriness and distortions. The width of clear vision around the fitting point has been increased by approximately 50 percent, while also maintaining a broad near field of vision. The Supernal is available in a wide variety of materials and coating options including polarized, 1.74 and Transitions. For more information contact Seiko at 800-235-5367 or visit their Web site at


Send us news about your lab's new products, services, special events, tech advances or personnel changes.

Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor
[email protected]

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