What to Ask a Potential Optometric Buying Group

Fact finding questions for prospective optometric buying groupsAre you thinking about joining an optometric buying group or purchasing alliance? Why? Before you can select an appropriate optical alliance you first need to identify what you’d like to get out of the relationship. Example goals and priorities include:
  • Driving traffic to your clinic
  • Expanding operations to multiple locations
  • Forming new industry relationships
 
While you probably already know about the many different kinds of benefits that such a group can offer its members, researching potential buying groups is an important next step in the process. As you explore different partners and compare service offerings, it’s vital that you ask the right questions so that you can gather intelligent responses and feel confident when the time comes to select a partner. 
 
Here’s our checklist of questions to kick-start your optical buying group conversations and dig a little deeper before agreeing to become a member. 

Basic Optical Network Membership Questions

  • How many active members do you currently have?
  • What monthly or annual costs do you charge members? How can you help me justify these dues?
  • Do I have to sign a contract to become a member of your optical network? What is the length of the contract?
  • Do you offer different tiers or types of service level agreements?
  • What are your regular methods of communication with buying group members?
  • What are the distinguishing features of your optical network? Why do OD’s choose you over competitors?
  • Can you put me in touch with any existing members?
  • Can you outline any specific services that your optical network does not offer?

Optical Products & Supply Savings Questions

  • What categories of optical products and services do you offer your members?
  • Can you quantify potential savings for an optical clinic that typically spends $X on frames? On contact lenses? On equipment? On office supplies? 
  • Do you have any minimum purchase requirements?

Optometric Buying Group Vendor Questions

  • Can you share a list of your current vendors, suppliers and/or industry partners?
  • Can I continue to work directly with some of my vendor reps once I join the optical buying group?
  • Do you have any exclusive optical vendor partnerships?

Optical Practice Management Service Questions

  • What practice management services are included as part of your base membership? 
  • What ala carte optical network services and opportunities do you offer to members? Can you share costs for these services?
  • What networking opportunities do you coordinate for your alliance group members? 
  • What online tools, content or portals are available for members?

Buying Group Members Education & Training Questions 

  • What professional development services do you offer to members?
  • Do you offer discounts on continuing education courses for me? What about my staff?

Optical Practice Growth & Development Questions

  • What services and support do you offer that will help me build my business?
  • Can you share any case studies about how you’ve helped businesses similar to mine grow?
  • How can you help me measure the growth of my optical practice over time?