Thriving In Adversity: How Sales Training Impacted This Optometrist In 2020
DR. DARLENE ANKER, OD
Thriving In Adversity.
When Dr. Darlene Anker signed up with Silkin Management Group in January 2018, she never dreamed that the training she and her team received would set a foundation for her optometric practice to thrive despite the coronavirus crisis.
“I was just five years into practice, and I was working, working, working…but never seeing enough income. We were just covering the bills and a little extra left over for myself.” – Dr. Darlene
Lack of profits is a common issue for doctor-owned practices. Most practitioners spend years or decades perfecting their medical skills, but a recent survey shows most new graduates have spent less than five hours studying business management.
“By the time COVID hit and we were mandated to close the office, we had already been to the Silkin Basic Management Workshops. I knew what to do, and as a result we had a great year and helped more patients than the year prior – despite the pandemic. Many aspects of what we learned at Silkin contributed to that.”
Despite being closed for two months, Dr. Darlene overcame every obstacle and accomplished her goal of growth for the practice, and is now succeeding in the post-pandemic world of 2021 with a confident & hopeful attitude about the future.
How did she do it?
We interviewed Darlene to find out…
Silkin: Hello! Thank you – Dr. Darlene, for being here with us today. Let’s start from the beginning: how did you get started with Silkin?
Darlene: I was just five years into practice, and I was working, working, working…but never seeing enough income. We were just covering the bills and a little extra left over for myself.
Then one day Monica from Silkin called me! She offered me a free Practice Analysis, and I knew that was something I needed at that moment. I spoke with the Senior Analyst, AJ Jackson – and he helped me realize there were a LOT of things that needed to change in the practice, if I wanted to have a better patient-capture rate and higher profit margin.
Silkin: Wow. That sounds like a real wake-up call for you.
Darlene: It was.
Silkin: Then you attended the Basic Management Workshops…did you do the additional sales training right after that?
Darlene: No, actually I didn’t sign up for the additional sales training until our second year with Silkin.
Silkin: What made you decide to add that additional training?
Darlene: I wanted to get all my staff onboard with the Silkin methods. I hadn’t included them in any of the original workshops – it was just me and my Office Manager. I realized in the second year that things would be easier to implement if everyone was on the same page! My consultant urged us to sign up for a sales training.
Silkin: Did you fly back out to Portland to do it?
Darlene: No, actually it was delivered remotely (over Zoom). We also later went down to Portland for further training in-person.
Silkin: And what did you get from that virtual training?
Darlene: It really comes down to guiding the patient to answer their questions, getting them to open up, and helping them realize that you have something they need!
After the training we had income go up, hired another associate, and I now have time off on Saturdays! I can’t remember the last time I had weekends to myself. My husband likes being able to spend time with me now. And I also finally have time for administrative duties, as well as the ability to see more patients with a second doctor.
Silkin: How did that affect your practice with COVID-19?
Darlene: By the time COVID hit and we were mandated to close the office, we had already been to the Silkin Basic Management Workshops. I knew what to do, and as a result we had a great year and helped more patients than the year prior – despite the pandemic.
Silkin: If you could mentor a new Silkin client, what advice would you give them for getting the most out of their first year of consulting?
Darlene: I’d tell them to take the sales course! But seriously, listen to your consultant. They have some great ideas and will get you back to where you want to be.
We didn’t learn ANY of this in school. I think Silkin should go to all the colleges in America and offer your curriculum as a resource for graduates heading into private practice. We had a great year despite the pandemic – and many aspects of what we learned at Silkin contributed to that.
“After the training we had income go up, hired another associate, and I now have time off on Saturdays! I can’t remember the last time I had weekends to myself.” – Dr. Darlene Anker