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Style to Sell: 3 Tips to Scale Your Optical Sales

Eyewear style expert Wendy Buchanan shares her insights in a new monthly column. This month: Selling 14 pairs at once!

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Style to Sell: 3 Tips to Scale Your Optical Sales

Wendy Buchanan is the owner of Perceptions Eyewear Inc. and the creator of the Be Spectacular Eyewear Styling System. She recently sold these 14 frames to a couple with whom she’d fostered a trusting relationship. The purchase represented an expenditure of more than $13,000. (Courtesy | Wendy Buchanan)

When you incorporate a systematic and consistent styling experience in your practice, you can differentiate from your competitors, increase your bottom-line profit, and scale your business.

I was 10 years into my optical career, selling the same frames to everyone and I was completely bored. I knew I could not do this every day for the next 20 years.

As a Licensed Optician trying to leave the optical industry (do we ever leave?), I decided I needed a new career and trained as an Image Consultant.

Never fully exiting optical, I combined my two areas of expertise and launched my mobile eyewear boutique in 1997. I set out to create a niche eyewear styling service. I had no formal training in how to sell. When I started, I felt successful selling one pair at a time. I did not know how to start to talk about a second pair option. And the concept of more than two was not even on my radar!

“If I was offering high touch personalized service and only selling one pair at a time, I was going to go out of business.”

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I did, however, have enough business acumen to realize that if I was offering high touch personalized service and only selling one pair at a time, I was going to go out of business. I needed to be more productive.

So I got to work. I studied the hundreds of clients I’d already fit with new eyewear. I segmented them into categories based on their professions, style of clothing, facial features, and personality traits. Combining my image theory training with my hands-on experience, I was able to create what I call the 5 Spec Style personalities.

Once I was satisfied with the categories, I developed a sales process tailored to individual clients. Guess what? My multi-pair sales grew from zero to 78%! Most clients purchased at least two pairs, many bought four, and recently one couple bought 14 pairs in one appointment. When I started to talk more about fashion and image, my sales increased.

Eyecare professionals focus on eye health, prescription specifics, and lens technology when providing vision care. However, these elements of function alone often aren’t enough to compel clients to invest in their eyewear. That’s when you need to pivot the conversation. Ask a few leading questions about their fashion preferences. Shift the focus from function to fashion and you’ll have their attention.

3 Tips to Style & Scale Your Optical Gallery

1. Focus on Self Image

Fashion is part of our self-identity. And fashion eyewear is an outlet to express that identity. Clients will gravitate toward what they desire more than what they need. So find out what they want and desire. Here are some examples of good questions to ask:

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  • How would they like to be perceived?
  • Are you open to a change from your current style?
  • How do you want to feel when you wear your glasses?

Once you have the answers, present your client with multiple options in eyewear styles that speak to their desires. Make the offer for a few pairs. Then stay quiet and listen.

2. Clear is Kind

Be confident and credible making your offer. Then articulate why each frame is complimentary. Be specific about their unique facial features. Talk about how the material and shape of each frame reflects the image they want to project.

A few clients will listen to detailed information about the material and technology, but most want to know how the eyewear will help them be WHO they want to BE.

Demonstrate the value of investing in each pair. Offer examples of when they will wear each style. If possible, reference specific outfits or colors in their wardrobe.

RELATED: Function Alone May Not Be Compelling Enough

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3. Build Trust

People buy things they like. But sometimes people don’t even realize they like something until it is presented to them.

As a Style Expert, you can create the best experience for every patient by offering credible advice, providing a selection of perfect frames, and then letting the patient make their decision. They may not buy right on the spot. They may purchase one pair. Or they may want to invest in a few.

Just be sure to provide the same exceptional customer service for everyone.

The couple that purchased 14 pairs started off as a one-pair sale. She loved the experience so much and received so many compliments on that initial pair of glasses, she booked a second appointment six months later. At that appointment, she purchased three more glasses. She also introduced me to her husband, son, and daughter-in-law. I built trust and a relationship over the years, and she became a self-proclaimed “Eyewear Addict.” She and her husband invested more than $13,000 in their eyewear wardrobe during our last meeting.

Build your reputation one pair at a time, consciously focusing on making credible offers, and close multi-pair sales.

RELATED: Get More Advice From our Columnists

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