Robert Bell: The Science of Selling

advice from optical sales consultant Robert Bell

How this question launched a new selling system for ECPs

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of INVISION.

ED: This month, in the first of a seven-part series, Robert Bell redefines the idea of selling and introduces you to the scientific law that all selling is based upon.

Thank goodness for science! Thank goodness that most people reading this — eye doctors and opticians — have strong scientific aptitudes. And finally, thank goodness that selling is truly based on a scientific principle.

Yet, for the most part, the majority of eyecare professionals just suck at selling. C’mon, we can admit it. Hey, you don’t have to say it out loud but you can nod, smile to yourself and think, “Well, he does have a point.” But am I already contradicting myself? If selling is scientifically based and the majority of you have strong scientific aptitudes, why wouldn’t all of you be selling phenoms? For two reasons: 1. You’ve accepted the absolutely wrong definition of what selling is (don’t be upset, most people have) and 2. Because of that and until now, you thought selling had absolutely nothing to do with science. So, here’s your new definition of selling: to help your patients acquire what they need! That’s all it really is. I promise you. Look at this new definition. Isn’t it a natural extension of who you’re supposed to be as a healthcare provider, anyway? Doesn’t that make you happy?

Yes, you can breathe easier because selling has nothing to do with persuading or convincing someone of something. This traditional definition has been the key source of your professional frustration because no one (including you) likes to be persuaded of anything. Yet, your selling techniques are based on this illogical definition. Is it time to stop the madness?

Let’s look at this — scientifically.

Consider the three types of laws. The first type are the laws of your recognized higher power, or moral laws. The second type are the laws of man. Now, can either of these two types of laws be easily broken?

Unfortunately, yes.

Someone can walk into your office, take a frame off the frame board, put it in their pocket and walk out without paying. In one fairly easy step, the first two kinds of laws have been broken. It’s important to note that, even though there may be consequences, those consequences are not always immediate when someone acts immorally or illegally.

There’s a third type of law based in physical science. These laws cannot easily be broken and if these scientific laws aren’t recognized or respected, the consequences are invariable and immediate! These are the laws of nature.

If you let this magazine slip from your hands, it will fall to the ground. Not every once in a while but every ... single ... time! Gravity. If you happen to be standing on a tall building and don’t respect this scientific force, the consequences will not only be immediate but also pretty dire.

Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered gravity, also discovered the laws of motion. This is important to know because selling is based on the scientific, physical principles in these laws.

If this isn’t recognized and respected ... well, it hasn’t been, has it? And because it hasn’t, you and your patients are suffering the immediate consequences. The single biggest consequence is that the majority of your patients leave your office with just one pair of eyewear when you know their actual needs require more.

To understand the true nature of selling, we have to understand the rules of the law of motion. Here’s one, in very simple terms:

An object in motion tends to stay in motion in the same direction and with the same velocity unless met with an unbalanced force. An object at rest tends to stay at rest unless met with an unbalanced force.

What you’re currently unaware of is that you’re the unbalanced force getting in the way of the natural motion of the selling cycle with your patients. Not to worry: We’re going to change that and have the force be with you — instead of against you. Stay tuned ...

ROBERT BELL believes in “uncommon sense,” inside-out thinking and challenging the status quo of traditional selling methods. He is the founder of EyeCoach and created The EyeCoach Selling System specifically for ECPs. In addition, he is co-director for Project Homeless Connect-Vision Volunteers in San Francisco. For more information, email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .