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13 Ways to Lose Your Buyer

A former optician turned EssilorLuxottica sales rep explains what NOT to do when trying to establish a sales relationship.




13 Ways to Lose Your Buyer

(Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in ROWT Magazine titled: “How to Lose a Buyer in 10 Days.”)

As a former optician of 16 years, I worked with many reps from the other side of the counter before transitioning into the role myself. I am often asked if my previous optical experience affords me an advantage in my current position.

Although opticians do appreciate some general optical knowledge in their reps, I find that what helps me more is knowing what NOT to do.

Once you have established a relationship with a buyer, you’ll know exactly what to expect. But when it comes to making first impressions, or trying to get your foot in the door, here are some simple guidelines on how to lose a buyer before you even have a chance.

1. Walk in like you own the place

Confidence is one thing, but many reps make the mistake of trying too hard to appear sure of themselves. A little humility will go a long way. Be sure to acknowledge the front desk staff and allow them to do their job in directing you where you need to go and with whom you need to meet. Bypassing the staff and making a bee line to the frame boards or opticians will not ingratiate you to anyone.

2. Stop by at your convenience

While cold calls are a necessary evil, customers are not obligated to drop what they are doing. Especially if you don’t have an appointment. Try calling. Try emailing. And if you must drop in, introduce yourself and offer to make an appointment.


3. Show off your assets

In simple terms, if you wouldn’t wear it to meet your significant other’s conservative grandmother, don’t wear it to an office.

4. Never take “no” for answer

Although this may seem like a helpful mantra for a salesperson, customers don’t appreciate pushy reps. Respect their decision. Then reach out again at a later date if they seem open to it.

5. Dive right in and start rearranging the frame boards

While it may seem tempting, and even helpful, to dive into taking inventory and organizing or merchandising the frame boards, resist the urge to do so without permission. Many opticians will find this presumptuous and not appreciate the overstepping of boundaries.

Always remember you’re in their house, and it’s their product.

6. Get through the appointment as quickly and efficiently as possible

Yes, we are all on a tight schedule. Your time might be limited, and you may already be behind schedule for the day. However, nobody wants to feel unimportant. While your potential buyer will most likely appreciate efficiency, they will undoubtedly sense your anxiety and not appreciate you rushing or brushing off their questions.

7. Over explain every feature and design element

Although it may be tempting to display your knowledge of the product and highlight design features, it can come across as condescending. Allow the opticians to do their job. They will ask questions if they want to know more. Try to only point out special features of the product that they can’t pick up on by looking and feeling the product themselves.


8. If you don’t know the answer to a question, fake it

If you are asked a question about the product or your company and you don’t know the answer, resist the urge to guess. If you give incorrect information, an optician may unwittingly relay this false information to their patients or their employer. You risk making them look stupid, and nobody will appreciate that. A simple, “I am not certain, but I will get the answer for you,” will work just fine.

9. Take your time to follow up

If you promise to complete any tasks following the appointment, be sure to keep those promises. Don’t make the optician reach out to you for follow up. Write the tasks down in your calendar or send an email to yourself.

Your customers don’t need another task to add to their list. It’s your job; not theirs.

10. Stand up for yourself

Occasionally, you may be met with resistance or even frustration that has nothing to do with you. Resist the urge to become defensive. Remain calm, and listen to the grievances that are probably justified, though not necessarily your fault. You may say things like, “I am so sorry that happened,” and “I understand that is frustrating” to empathize with the customer. Repeating back what the customer has expressed to you can let them know you are listening, you have heard, and understood them. If you can’t solve their problem immediately, or feel flustered by the situation, ask that they give you a couple of days to review the information and come up with the best solution.

11. Test the boundaries

Trust and integrity are crucial in building long term relationships. Some of the quickest ways to sever the relationship are to add frames to an agreed upon order and to fail to send a promised return authorization. This may seem obvious but be sure to confirm the customer’s expectations to avoid any misunderstandings.

12. Criticize your competitors

It may seem tempting to point out flaws in other companies or sales reps but resist the urge. It will be viewed as pettiness. The customer may wonder what you say about them or their office in your travels.


13. Just say “You’re welcome”

Yes, you may have traveled a long a way. It may have been inconvenient. Maybe you didn’t get the order you thought you would. No matter what happens, never forget to say, “Thank you.” Customers have more choices than ever, and they will appreciate the gratitude.


13 Ways to Lose Your BuyerThis article was written by Britt Scott.

Britt has more than 20 years of experience in the optical industry.

She remains a licensed optician in Tennessee. Currently, she’s enjoying wholesale frame sales with EssilorLuxottica.

You can connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn.



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