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A Monthly Briefing for Optical Lab Owners and Managers

- August 2015 -

Dollars & Sense

Make What You Say Pay

Lab Notes

New Products


Dollars & Sense

Are You Part of the Herd?

Michael Karlsrud

Recently, I was honored to speak at the California Optical Association Meeting where I spoke on the topic of “Transforming Sacred Cows into Purple Cows.”

The background for the presentation is based on the premise that an industry which is filled with a surplus of products and services that are all nearly the same, creates a perception that we are all the same; like a herd of cows grazing in a pasture.  Nothing about them is “re-mark-able.”   It can be argued perhaps we are in that same situation.  Is your laboratory and what it offers re-mark-able- that is, worthy of a remark?

However, what if you were driving down the road looking out at pasture after pasture of grazing cattle and you spotted a “purple” cow?  Would it catch your eye?  Would you tell anyone about it?  Would it be “re-mark-able?”  It’s still a cow.  It’s still in its pasture like all the other cows, but this one is different.  It stands out in a herd of “sameness” and people take note of its difference.

Creating a “purple cow” has little to do with price quality or service.  For the most part, people are satisfied with what they have and they are inundated with information all day.  Tiny improvements are not worth their time.

Ironically, it has nothing to do with being better than your competition.  Purple cows are no better than brown or black and white cows, they are just different and worthy of mention.  So how do you begin to stand out from the herd?

First, go for the edges.  Find a sliver of your customer base that has a unique need and be the best possible supplier/vendor for that need.  Be so good at it that others begin to make remarks about it.  It doesn’t have to be something momentous.  Next, look at other industries and copy ideas, processes and off-the-solutions that intuitively you know will work in our industry.  Again, it doesn’t have to be an earth shattering idea!  A good test is if you ever hear the words “we have never done that before,” then you know you’re on the right track!

The most dangerous path today is the safe one.  Go be different.  You never know, you just might stand out from the herd!

Good Selling.

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




Make What You Say, Pay!

Unraveling at the Close

Anne Miller

This week I watched an otherwise good client  (Doug) self-destruct because of the way he handled the conclusion of his presentation. I hope you don't do this.

At the end of his presentation, Doug said,

• “In summary, you are looking to do X.”   (Nice, crisp, high-level reprise of listener’s situation)

• “With ABC, you get…., …., and…, which will help you realize your objective. (Clear, targeted high-level repeat of message and its value. So far, so good)

• “So, uh, that’s, uh, it.  Um, what, uh, do you, um, think?”  (Aaagh!  Disaster!)

If you were Doug’s listener, this sudden shift from the confidence, certainty, and authority behind the previous statements to the uncomfortable, seemingly apologetic tone of the suggested next step would leave you wondering if what you had just heard was really all that good.

3 Steps to a Strong Finish

To avoid undermining your presentation with a weak next step...

1. Think it through before you present.  Make the next step specific: as to who does what and when.

2. Make the next step an easy "yes" for the listener at that stage of the sales/discussion cycle. A request for a second meeting after proposing a million dollar project is more likely to get a “yes” than a request for a signature on the spot.

3. Stay upbeat. Mumbling and non-words are definite agreement killers.  Practice, if necessary before the meeting

One Last Note

President Obama will be defending his Iran nuclear deal before Congress shortly.  We don’t know his exact content of his "presentation" yet, but you can bet he will not end his argument with, “So, um that’s it. Um, I would, uh, like your, um, support.”

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




Lab Notes

Register for the Optical Lab Division Meeting at Vision Expo West


The Optical Lab Division meeting is the complete lab event. Each component, from education to exclusive receptions and events, was designed to help lab professionals grow and succeed. Combined with the continuing education and expansive exhibits at International Vision Expo West, the Optical Lab Division meeting provides the perfect setting for optical labs to hear about hot topics, network with other labs and test drive equipment before implementing new ideas and technologies into their business.

This year’s event kicks off with the 16th Annual Optical Lab Division Hall of Fame Banquet on Wednesday, September 16th from 6:30 to 9:30. Lab education begins on Thursday, September 17th from 8:30 to 1:30, covering the following topics:

  • 3-D Printing – The Future of Optics
  • Digital Quality Control
  • Legal and Technical Updates
  • Sacred Cows or Purple Cows
  • Optical Lab Division Tool Kit

Click Here to register.

16th Annual Optical Lab Division Hall of Banquet


Optical Lab Division Hall of Fame Banquet honoring and recognizing the contributions of those who participated in the establishment of the wholesale optical industry in its founding years. The banquet will be held on Wednesday, September 16, 6:30 p.m. at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. All members of the optical lab community are invited to attend this event. Reservations are required. *Hall of Fame tickets are free for members of The Vision Council but reservations are still required.

This year’s honorees include:

2015 Optical Lab Division Director’s Choice Award Recipient, Thomas F. Puckett, founder, managing director and CEO, HPC Puckett & Company

2015 Optical Lab Division Hall of Fame Honorees

  • Jim Grootegoed, Professional Editor, Optical Lab Products
  • Jim Ryan, Lens Technology, Inc. (retired)
  • Gunter Schneider, Schneider Gmbh & Co.KG
  • Rick Tinson, Hoya Vision Care, North America
  • Darryl Meister (posthumously)

Optical Lab Pioneer, James Dougher, Passes Away


Optical laboratory pioneer James P. Dougher passed away on July 12, 2015, following a brief illness. Dougher, who lived in Valley City, Ohio, was 81 years-old.

A graduate of Culver Military School and Kent State University, Dougher was a U.S. Army veteran. He was a co-owner of Rooney Optical a wholesale lab that operated branches in Cleveland, Ohio and Latrobe, Penn. While at Rooney, Dougher grew the business by investing advanced technology such as high quality anti-reflective and mirror coatings. In addition, he helped solidify the distribution of products such as Varilux lenses and RGP contact lenses. Dougher was inducted into the Optical Laboratories Association Hall of Fame in 2007.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Eleanor; children Barney, Nancy Hoffman, Michael, Jim, Molly Kilbane, Mathew, Jenny Malloy, Lea George, and Adam; 29 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and a brother, Gerald.

HOYA’s Intercompany Manufacturing Center


Last fall HOYA began construction on the Dallas Intercompany Manufacturing Center (IMC). This multi-million dollar project was a massive undertaking that required countless hours of hard work and dedication. The IMC went operational earlier this spring, and is off to a great start. As the IMC continues to ramp up our entire lab network will experience increased capacity, faster delivery times, and an elevated level of product quality. All of this will result in a better overall experience for our customers and ultimately, their patients. The IMC is already producing thousands of orders per day and continues to grow.




New Products

Vision Ease Expands Line of Photochromics

Vision Ease expands its line of photochromic lenses with LifeRx FSV Vivid AR. The polycarbonate lenses are coated with Vision Ease’s proprietary Vivid AR, for unparalleled clarity and cleanability. LifeRx lenses are recognized for their lightweight comfort and superior photochromic performance. LifeRx FSV AR lenses offer these qualities with the additional benefit of diminishing glare and reflections thanks to Vivid AR. The super-hydrophobic coating reduces distortion by allowing liquid to run off without streaking, and is highly scratch-resistant, anti-static and oleophobic to repel the daily grime that dirties lenses. For more information visit their Website at

PSI Redesigns Website and Adds E-Commerce

Practical Systems, Inc, PSI, launched a redesigned website with an e-commerce shopping cart at According to Patrick Hernandez, PSI President, the new Website does not replace the direct, responsive customer service that PSI is known for but provides another access point to their products, as well as a place for retailers and labs to learn more about PSI’s Practical Systems for surfacing and finishing.  For more information visit their Website at

Coburn Launches New Website

Coburn Technologies has launched a new and improved Website to provide visitors with a more custom and interactive experience for viewing Coburn Technologies’ optical equipment, product videos, and the latest news. One new feature is the ability to chat with a Coburn Technologies representative. Customer Service staff will be available Monday thru Friday, 8am to 6pm Eastern Standard Time. For more information visit their Website at





Become Your Lab’s Own Einstein

Judith Lee

“When the solution is simple, God is answering.” Albert Einstein

Your customers say that helping them sell more sun lenses is not rocket science, but here’s a chance to become the Einstein of your optical lab: Give a second-pair discount.

“I've worked with a lot of different labs, and the thing that was the most helpful in selling sun wear was the second-pair discount,” said Dave Roff, ABOM, optician at Halpern Eyecare, Wilmington, DE.

“I find that giving the patient a discount on the complete second pair works great,” agreed Sherry Estelle, optician at Partners in Vision, Bala Cynwyd, PA.

She noted that a free upgrade to a polarized lens “is always a winner,” and Roff agreed with that. “The best help was from one lab, which always gave me a 50 percent discount on a second pair of polarized lenses, regardless of which was the less-expensive of the two pairs,” Roff said.

The time to launch your second-pair discount also is obvious – when the weather gets nice.

“I have sold more second pairs this month than I ever have before,” noted Estelle (speaking to Lab Talk in mid-May). “Once the weather starts to get nicer it's the best time of year for sun wear sales. People are excited to be outdoors again so the second pair becomes an easy sale.”

To find out what ECPs want from optical labs to help them sell more sun lenses, read the  entire article at — the newly redesigned LabTalk Web site.


Christie Walker, Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor

Christie is the Editor of LabTalk and a contributor to Vision Monday. She covers wholesale laboratories, lab systems, other ECP news and features/coverage. Contact Christie at [email protected].

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