[Editor's note: This is one of three honorable mention winners in INVISION’s essay contest. Eyecare professionals submitted essays in response to the prompt, “If you could order all eyecare pros to do one specific thing, and they had to listen to you, what would it be? And why would you ask them to do it?”]

I order you to meet your neighbors and become the eyecare professional they will rely on.

I love being an optician. I just love it. I live it. I breathe it. And not just from 9-5. I live and breathe it eight days a week.

I can’t order any of my peers to love their profession as much as I do. I mean, you either love it or you don’t. I can only imagine for those who don’t love what they do, it’s just a job. That’s very sad to me.

But for those of you who do love this as much as I do, I would order you to shout it from the rooftops. Tell everyone in the community what you do and why you do it. Create what I call your Eyedentity!

I’ve been an optician for over 30 years, but a few months back, I started a new job with an established optometric practice. The doctor is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and he has a pretty steady practice. I had asked him if he would mind if I drum up some new patients for him. He said he’d love it as long as he didn’t have to spend a lot of money.

I asked him (OK, I demanded!) that he allow me to redesign his business cards and make some for me and the other optician. He agreed.

Once I got my cards, I was on my way. During my lunch breaks, and sometimes after work, I’ll walk around the business neighborhood and go into the mom-and-pop stores and even the big chain stores (like CVS or Sprouts) and engage in conversation with as many employees as I can.

"I can’t order any of my peers to love their profession as much as I do. I mean, you either love it or you don’t. I can only imagine for those who don’t love what they do, it’s just a job. That’s very sad to me.”

My “script” varies depending on who I meet, but it’s generally saying I got a new job down the street and I just wanted to check out your store. Inevitably, I am asked, “Oh, where do you work?” and I’m off to the races.

“I’m the lead optician at Dr. Alan Clark’s office. Y’know, the eye doctor down the street? You should come in and see us. Seriously, we have some great eyewear and really cool sunglasses. Here (and I give them my business card and write 20 percent off on the back), my name is Lisa. I can give 20 percent off to people who work in the neighborhood. Come in and we’ll take very good care of you. It’ll be so much fun picking out your next pair of glasses. It’ll be just as exciting for me as it will for you.”

Would you like to know if this works? Within three weeks the doctor told me we’ve been having record days by far and consistently. Not bad considering he’s been in practice for 25 years.

Why do I do this? For several reasons.

  1. Because it just makes sense to meet your neighbors. It’s neighborly.
  2. It has an incredible effect on the practice.
  3. I truly believe we have the best doctor and opticians in town. It wouldn’t feel right to me if people went somewhere else for inferior service.
  4. Did I mention that I love this?

Lisa Trippi, ABOC, works for Dr. Alan Clark in Mountain View, CA, and has been a “go to” optician for 30 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has successfully overseen the optical side of optometric practices as an office manager, frame buyer, lead optician and mentor. She values her relationships with patients, co-workers and industry representatives alike. In her free time, she enjoys time with her grandchildren and taking scenic drives.

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