Smooth Sellers: Tamra Asmuth

top sellers optical sales eyecare business

When Tamra Asmuth opened One Hip Chic in 1997, she was ahead of her time in bringing fine eyewear to Rochester, NY. She owns “well over 200 pairs of glasses ... my favorites include a green pair from W-Eye of Italy (pictured here). I love them because they’re made of wood and are comfortable to wear. Oh, but wait! I love my other W-Eye frames that have an overlay of copper, because the patina creates an ever-changing look. I love my eccentric Theo and my hip Andy Wolf frames for the pop of color they each provide.” With this kind of enthusiasm, is it any wonder that Asmuth has one customer who has ordered more than 40 pairs? — JULIE FANSELOW

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

I was going to school for computer programming and applied for a part-time job at an optical chain store. I can’t believe I used to sell glasses for $59 complete. (My current average sale is well over $1,000.)

My secret weapon for selling is pretending that I’m on a shopping trip with a good friend. I give my honest opinion and advice and let the buyer make the decision for themselves.

My favorite type of customer is one who feels happy and excited to be in my shop. One who is willing to define — or redefine — themselves through their eyewear.

The ideal optical salesperson is sincere, knowledgeable, confident (without being overly confident), respectful, and — for One Hip Chic at least — artistic.

I once took a course based on Carl Jung’s work. It taught how people make decisions. It’s helped me to recognize how my own customers make decisions on an individual basis — either by emotion, research, impulse or reflection.

When I play music at work, it’s always Pandora. Sometimes it’s Kool and the Gang, sometimes it’s Bittersweet. Other current favorites are Marvin Gaye, Gotan Project, Madeleine Peyroux, John Coltrane and Lauren Hill ... you see? It just depends on my mood.

If I wasn’t working in the optical business, I’d probably be a children’s book author or a museum curator.

I just love my annual Theo and Anne & Valentin trunk show. My customers love those two collections — and so do I, which means the shows are well attended, lively, successful and fun.

I have a customer who has 37 pairs of glasses in her current prescription (and she just placed an order for another four pairs). I’ve sold spherical readers for nearly $1,000 to several customers.

I know it’s time to take a few days off when my excitement about coming to work is waning. And when I get those days off, my favorite thing to do is get out of town for a change of scenery and inspiration.

Everything I do has meaning behind it. Everything I do is with sincerity. It’s who I am naturally ... as a business woman and an optician.

If I met someone on their very first day in optical sales, I’d tell them anything is possible in this industry. I’m living proof.