Smooth Seller: Daniel Brunson

Daniel Brunson of Hicks Brunson Eyewear

Daniel Brunson

Hicks Brunson Eyewear, Tulsa, OK

Have you ever met someone, gotten to know a little bit about them and thought, “Wow, why am I not doing more with my life?” Well, get prepared. Meet American Board of Opticinary-certified Daniel Brunson, the store manager of Hicks Brunson Eyewear, and the fourth generation to lead the team at this 64-year-old Tulsa, OK, optical shop. He’s a man who makes getting up at 5 a.m. seem oddly appealing.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 edition of INVISION.

I am an early riser and very into rituals. I wake at 5 a.m. to get my coffee and day planner. Then I write down my goals for the day. After that I work out, eat breakfast and spend some time with my family before heading to work. On my drive. I’ll listen to podcasts or audio books. I love listening to interviews of highly successful people because they are inspiring and highly motivating.

I believe in lifelong learning. I regularly read books on selling. Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy have written some great ones. I love to read blogs and industry magazines.

The single biggest thing I study is my product. The business of selling lenses from single vision to PALs with all the digital options and add-ons can be very complicated if you’re not careful. Knowing how to simplify the features so you can explain the benefits is a must.

My secret weapon for selling is enthusiasm. My enthusiasm for my product. Plain and simple. There are plenty of supporting elements like product knowledge and the ability to simplify the buying process, but all of those flow from having enthusiasm. Many people don’t look forward to buying new frames because they find it to be difficult. I have learned over the years to be their guide and make it simple and fun.

To be a great optical salesperson you need to first and foremost be good with people. Then enthusiasm for eyewear and being hungry to learn. I would hire someone with no optical experience who has those traits in a heartbeat over someone with optical experience who lacks them.

Running an optical store or any business successfully requires setting sales goals. You must be able to measure your progress. I set goals for myself, for the store as a whole, and for the three other certified opticians on my team. The most important benchmark is the value of the sales. If that number is not growing, barring any external economic factors like recessions, then something needs to change.

Other metrics I look at are number of frames sold, number of PALs and single-vision lenses sold, treatments and Transitions. The POF (Patient’s Own Frame) percentage is another important metric I track; how many POF sales, aka lens-only sales, happen as opposed to selling a new frame. My understanding is that the industry average is 30 percent. My goal is to be better than that.

Optical sales is a noble profession if you approach it the right way. You are helping people see and enhance their self-confidence. Sales is about solving problems. Our job is not to sell every client the most expensive frame in the shop. It is to sell them the best frame for them based on their needs. Selling the most expensive product available only produces short-term gains without any long-term growth. Selling based on our clients’ needs allows us to position ourselves as an expert, and our clients return to us over and over again.