Optician Success 37


Opticians: The Rodney Dangerfield of Optical?

Eyewear sales make up well over half of all revenue in the eyecare industry. So, why is it then that opticians receive so little in the way of compensation and respect?

Could it be, they’re playing in the wrong sandbox?

Most opticians insist on playing in the medical sandbox. Of course. We’ve been told for years the medical sandbox is where optical belongs; and for opticians, respect and satisfaction are found in being a “medical professional.”

Of course, in the medical sandbox, the rules are made by ODs and OMDs, who happen to be some of the most [formally] educated people on the planet. Opticians might have a two-year degree?  So, who is getting the respect and the salaries? That’s not to say doctors don’t deserve it; of course they do, but opticians are choosing to play in THEIR sandbox.

Some argue formal education requirements for opticians are the answer, but unless we’re talking 8-12 years of higher ed, who are we kidding?

So, let’s look at that first sentence again: “Eyewear sales make up well over half of all revenue in the eyecare industry.”

“...well over half...”

There’s another sandbox—a glorious sandbox! One in which 64% of the population wear eyeglasses. That’s over 200,000,000 people and $20,000,000,000 in the U.S. alone.

Not only is the eyewear sandbox bigger, it doesn’t require 8-12 years of higher ed for entry and opticians already have much of the knowledge needed to play with the big kids. If that weren’t enough, it’s a sandbox where people actually want to go.

The industry would have you believe that eyewear is the medical sandbox. They have done their best to blur the lines over the years. Don’t believe it.

I’ll let you in on a little secret… Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but people hate going to the doctor. The appointments, the stress, the fear, the discomfort, the wait. It’s just no fun. So, why would anyone (who is interested in selling glasses) associate eyewear with medical? It doesn’t make sense, even from an ODs perspective. Yes, the medical stuff is important and necessary, but leave that to the doctors. The eyewear sandbox is where the cool kids are. It’s where people can breath, have fun and express themselves, without dread and fear associated with doctors’ appointments and... medical devices <shudder>. Seriously, folks? Think about it for a minute: what images come to mind when you hear “medical device?” I’ll wait….

Whatever you came up with, I’m sure it’s something you can’t wait to run right out and buy.

Or let’s try this: You’re with your friends on a Saturday afternoon, which do you suggest: “Let’s go shopping for some wicked-cool fashion accessories [that can dramatically change the way we look, feel, and present ourselves to the world].” or “I know, why don’t we all go to the doctor? That’ll be fun!”

Here you go:

Online, big box, the ECP down the street all become irrelevant if you master two things.

  1. Your craft.
  2. Your customers’ experience.

Be the master of your sandbox, not the little kid in someone else's.


Experience Trumps Brand

Jerry recalls the experience of going into luxury consumers’ homes to talk with them about one aspect or another of their lives.  What startles him is that often these people talk about and show him some modest memento that they collected in their travels, as opposed to the expensive Viking stove or Subzero refrigerator in the kitchen.  “Inevitably what these elite homeowners brag about isn’t some expensive thing, but something that reminds them of an experience.  That is what is memorable and important to them.”

And many luxury brands have yet to figure this out.

It turns out science indicates our experiences bring us happiness, not things.

In fact, Groupon has even centered their branding on the idea.


Lead The Way 

Whether you are an office manager, owner, optician, or apprentice, you can be a leader. In fact, it’s Step 14, in the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Rock Star Optician. Here are six tips on leading with kindness that you can apply to dealing with your employees, peers, family, friends, acquaintances, customers—pretty much anyone encounter.



Video Lesson of the Week

Prism Concepts Part Deux. Next week: Down to the nitty gritty with Prentice's Formula.


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