Optical Retail Success 128
Tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your optical retail business/career.
The ones who make it onto our radar, the ones who made an impact, have chosen to live a life of standing out, not fitting in.
The Price of Glasses Is Too Damn High!
I’ll save you the time of reading through the false comparisons and bad assumptions of the LA Times piece with the following summary:
Compare the cost of a mass-produced knock-off frames with stock lenses and no human interaction to the cost of a custom-fit handmade frames with digitally surfaced freeform lenses and AR coatings, mention Luxottica and Essilor, then come to the only possible logical conclusion:
[the eyewear] industry has been getting away with fleecing people for decades.
And the more than 1,000% markup for most vision products proves that.
So, why do I mention the article at all?
First of all, the great optical conspiracy is clearly a popular topic among journalists and their readers. So, it’s important to understand and empathize with what we are up against. And while I would concede there is a great optical conspiracy, it has nothing to do with price fixing or even Essilux, rather the whole concept of “prescription” eyewear. Because, if eye health is truly our concern, why don’t we require a “prescription” for plano sunglasses and why does a “prescription” not require a medical exam? But, I digress.
Secondly, if you look, there’s an important truth to be found about why this type of conspiratorial, “consumer advocate”-type piece seems to resonate—besides the fact that people like to believe they are victims of one thing or another.
Let’s take a look at the following two lines of the article:
It’s a dynamic that routinely plays itself out elsewhere in the healthcare field
...the “healthcare” component of vision correction...should be affordable to all. However, as with prescription drugs, government officials are content to pretend that “the market” will protect patients.
There is it. Healthcare is viewed as an entitlement—one that’s corrupted by big pharma and big insurance at that. So, contrary to prevailing optician wisdom, more public-facing “medical professionalism” and more emphasis on medical devices does not appear to be the best solution in trying to convince people they’re getting a fair shake when it comes to buying eyewear.
Think about this. When what the last time you read an article comparing $6 Faded Glory sneakers with $1100 Louis Vuitton’s so the author could make the claim that the shoe industry has been fleecing people for decades? The disparity there isn’t because people don’t view eyewear as a necessary medical devices. It’s because they do.
Whether people have money or not, they aren’t too keen on spending more than necessary on entitlements, but damn if they don’t feel good walking around, posing for IG in their LV’s.
The bottom line is this: you have figure out how to be different and how to shape culture. Being “more medical” isn’t going to earn opticians any more respect or allow you to charge more for eyewear. Delivering more, on the other hand, will. Provide your customers with enough value—in unique product curation, service, customer experience, and cultural cache—that no one would ever think to ask, why do your glasses cost so damn much?
Most people will never be successful. Often, it’s not because they aren’t trying. It’s simply that they’re playing by other people’s rules; they’re chasing other people’s definition of success.
If you're seeking to live a remarkable life and to make a difference in the lives of others, you eventually have to stop looking for approval from others, learn to question and see things from your unique perspective, stop worrying about making mistakes, and do what is truthfully best for you and your tribe.
If you make the rules, you get to establish the conditions for success.
Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.
—George Bernard Shaw
The Greeting Is The Hardest Part
For most people the hardest part of selling actually approaching and greeting the customer. Here are three excellent tips from WhizBang Retail Training to help you get the relationship started on the right foot.
- Get In the Right Mindset.
It’s important to remember that every customer who walks in the door is a fellow human being. Not a “sale” or a “credit card,” but a real person, who has needs, fears, wants, hang-ups and anxieties, expertise and talents… real stuff! Good stuff and bad stuff.
There’s a story behind every customer, and there’s a reason they are walking in the door. Your job is to discover that reason and understand their story.
2. Notice the Color of Their Eyes [and hair].
As you approach each customer, smile and establish eye contact. Try to notice the color of their eyes. When you get in the habit of looking at the color of their eyes, that habit ensures that you're actually having direct eye contact, which starts to establish trust.
For opticians, this clearly has the added benefit of starting to visually assess your customer to help them pick a suitable frame.
3. Don’t Judge—big one here.
Be careful not to judge the potential quality of a customer by the way they look. It's a very natural human response to make assumptions and stereotype people, but judgment has no place [in optical]. Somebody may look like they're poor as a field mouse, but actually, have a pocket full of money to spend.
Young or old, thin or plump, well dressed or dowdy, your job is not to judge that person in your store. Your job is to establish a personal relationship with them!
OpticianWorks Video Of The Week - Sphere, Astigmatism & Axis
Back to the basics with a quick overview of the terms sphere, astigmatism, and axis; and what they mean relative to the eye and the lens specification.
Through the OpticianWorks free video lessons, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.
You can help keep it going in two ways:
Become a paid-member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).
Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent uncut work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Retail Success.
Here’s to your success in this year and beyond.
Thanks for reading and sharing!