Optical Retail Success 94
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.
You’ve heard it before, at least some version of it. You may have even heard it from a well-respected optician. In fact, if you’re an optician, you’re likely to believe it to be true.
The problem with opticians [or more precisely optician pay and optician respect] is that ODs and chains and big box stores all want us to be salespeople. If they treated us like the professionals [we believe ourselves to be], we would be much happier, get more respect, and they would pay us more.
What if I were to tell you, this is the exact opposite of the truth? In fact, it’s wrong on many levels.
Sure, it’s a good story we tell ourselves, mainly because it absolves us of responsibility. Our problems are the fault of greedy ODs or greedy big business and have nothing to do with our own actions.
It turns out there are two kinds employees, just as there are two kinds of business people.
There are takers. Takers are selfish. They don’t really care about the customer, they are more concerned with what is in it for them. “I just want to get paid!” or in the case of the employee, “I just want to get by until the weekend AND get paid.”
And there are givers. Givers are focused on producing and delivering value to others. They’re always asking “How can I give more? How can I be more valuable?”
The best skill you can have as a business person, as an optician, as an employee, is being a giver.
Okay, but what does this have to do with being a salesperson?
Think of it this way… the more valuable your job, product or service is to other people, the more money people are willing to pay for it. There’s a reason why ODs want opticians to be salespeople. Independent ODs are in business. To stay in business, businesses have to make money. Salespeople deliver value and make money. But of course, it goes deeper than that, particularly in the current landscape where we compete against the iPad and the couch.
If, as an optician, you can provide significantly more value than just filling an Rx, there’s a pretty good chance you can get paid more than an average optician. It has nothing to do with certifications or degrees. The better you become, the more value you deliver, the more demand there will be for what you can do. Instead of having to demand respect or push each sale with manipulative sales techniques, people want what you have to offer.
Be so good they can’t ignore you.
But, “...they want us to be salespeople.”
Sales is a dirty word in many people’s vocabulary—not just opticians—I get it. If you look at the characters we associate with sales, it's not an unreasonable conclusion.
Think about sales in the way that Seth Godin talks about the difference between marketing and manipulation. Ask yourself, “would my customer, knowing what I know, make this decision?” If you can answer “yes”, then trying to convince the other person to take that action, is not underhanded, manipulative, or dirty. In fact, if you believe the person will be better off and happier having made that decision, it is an act of generosity. It is a noble pursuit. Conversely, letting a person walk away with less than what you believe is best for them (of course, ultimately, only they can decide), is an act of apathy or even selfishness, if you believe it to be “beneath you.”
If you believe your product or service can fulfil a true need, it’s your moral obligation to sell it.
Being a professional, earning more money, and getting more respect requires more than filling an Rx well, especially when we can get it done online. It requires delivering value to your customers and to your employer. Sales, ethical sales, is just one way to do that. The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a RockStar Optician talks about many more ways you can deliver value.
But, whether in business or in your career, if you can figure out how to be generous and deliver more than those around you, you are on the path to more money and more respect. Blaming others—even if they are to blame—gets you nowhere.
Finally, while we like to measure success in terms of money, here’s a little secret: by and large, the givers—those that give out of generosity and love of what they do, not those that do so expecting something in return—are happier than the takers.
We don’t try to focus as much on the outcomes as we do on being all that you can be.
How Good Do You Want to Be?
Each one of us, whether we’re an athlete or an athletic director or an investor or a stay at home parent, would be better to step back from the binary world of winning and losing and focus instead on how good we are capable of being. We’d be better to measure ourselves not against the scorecard or the scoreboard but our own sense of what we know is our best. We begin that process by asking ourselves how good we want to be — at our jobs, as people, in any pursuit.
The Goldblum Egg
When you look at approximately 8,000 photos of Jeff Goldblum, you notice one thing more than anything else. You notice that Jeff Goldblum has been on a career-long eyewear journey, jumping from one style to another almost as often as he put out movies. He might have a thing or two to teach us about the kind of culture we should be trying to build.
The “Mobile” Channel
Does the trend in mobile “pop up” retail represent a golden opportunity for enterprising mobile opticians?
Tom Dwyer, CEO of Taylrd, a men’s fashion company talks about going mobile. Obvious destinations included places like highly-saturated shopping centers and hotels. His company even planned to show up at workplaces so men wouldn’t have to make a dedicated trip to get their new attire.
But there are so many more opportunities than that, said Dwyer. He envisions collaborations with venues and musical acts, with potential for appearances at festivals like South by Southwest. He said that would change the brand from a clothing company to a lifestyle brand and would create spaces where customers could hang out around or inside the Airstream.
Shopping doesn’t have to be the only focus of an experience like that, Dwyer added. It becomes much more relaxed and comfortable.
Video of The Week: The Importance and Use of Stock Lenses
This week we look at the proper use of single vision, finished, uncut lenses. These lenses are available in an impressive range of powers, materials, coatings and styles. The use of stock, uncut, lenses is an important part of operating a successful optical.
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:
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!