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ECPs Share the Hidden Talents That Help Them in Business

You’re a talented bunch! Some of you should go on the road.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: What’s a hidden talent that unexpectedly helps you in your business?
  • I’m the office whistler. I’ve convinced myself I will go on tour one day with a band. Kind of like when a band adds a keyboardist later in their career? Well, I’ll be the whistler. Like Guns N’ Roses patience good. — Renee Berry, Nappanee Family Eyecare, Nappanee, IN
  • Photography. It helps in almost every facet of marketing! And I am a “celebrity dancer” in our local Chamber of Commerce Dancing with the Stars event. Our dance off is September 5! — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • I fix my employees cars sometimes. It saves them some money and time. — Bret Hunter, Sports Optical, Denver, CO
  • Attention to detail and efficiency. — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, Tarrytown and White Plains, NY
  • I have an insanely good memory. I can remember a patients name, their spouse, kids, dogs. Just last week I helped a patient find his plano sun lenses because when I dispensed them to him 2 years ago I remember him saying, “I know just the spot for these, I’ll put them in my office chest.” When I told him to look there and he found them, even I was surprised. — Jessika E. Arena, The Eye Center, Asheville, NC
  • The gift of gab. I have always assumed it was shared by all doctors until recently. I feel very fortunate to be able to talk with pretty much anyone about pretty much anything. It makes the experience extremely personal. — Blake Hutto, OD, Family Vision Care, Alma, GA
  • I sing to my pediatric patients when I am performing retinoscopy. I am not a brilliant singer, but the very small kids love it, and so do the parents. — Angie Patteson, OD, Sunset Eye Care, Johnson City, TN
  • Good memory for details. — Brendon Johnson, OD, Pekin, IL
  • Creativity and honesty. — Candy Crone, Wayne Optical, York, PA
  • Interior design. — Jocelyn Mylott, D’Ambrosio Eyecare,
  • Knack for following my gut. — Nicole Heyduk, Eye Centers of NWO
  • My superpower is dealing with difficult people. I usually can disarm them and get a reasonable resolution to a problem. — Annette Prevaux, The Visionary Inc., Allen Park, MI
  • Creativity. As a new business, we don’t have the funds that other businesses have so we have to be creative with our displays, ways to show our appreciation to patients, and how to run the office on limited funds. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • Being able to smell the BS-ers or incompatible customers the moment they enter the office. If the moment a person walks into our office with a condescending attitude, unrealistic expectations or the following words come out of their mouth: “I just left another optical storming out with outrage” this is a big red flag. There are exceptions where the person was treated badly elsewhere and we become their hero, but 80% of the time, they are toxic and we kindly and respectfully tell them we are NOT what they are looking for, have incongruent expectations and thank them for stopping by. We have the habit of NOT talking bad about other opticals when people complain about them. It helps no one. — Diana Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • Style! It helps with frame selection, office decor, in office music, hiring, window displays, etc.! — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Selective hearing. Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • My Minnesota nice-ness. I am able to tell patient that frame is Not. For. Them. but nicely, where they don’t have hurt feelings and I get to put them in a better-looking frame! — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • Humor!! — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • My ability to smile even when I want to throat punch a patient. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
  • The ability to find common ground with customers, and engage in easy conversation. — David Weber, The Eye Zone, Dallas, TX
  • I have a commercial art degree! Also, I am a nerd. Not sure they are very well hidden talents, though. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • Building relationships. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Iconic Eye Care, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • I’m often told a should be a stand-up comedian by my patients. So, a sense of humor helps more times than I can count. — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • Graphic design/marketing background. Native of the area and length of time with the practice, know and recognize many patients. — Deb Jaeger, Eye Center of the Dakotas, Bismarck, ND
  • I grew up never being taught how to use tools. I’ve been self-taught doing repairs and adjustments with little or no problems and I say Thank You Lord when everything turns out great. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • My sense of humor. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • Art! — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • I enjoy hearing about what people do for a living … and coincidentally, people enjoy talking about themselves; so, it works out well. — Tom Brillante, OD, Decatur Eye Care, Decatur, GA
  • I wouldn’t say it’s a talent but as a man “I listen to my patients.” Maybe that’s more of a superpower. — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • Being a mom gives me LOTS of patience with young kids. — Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX
  • It’s so well-hidden I’m still looking for it. — Andrew Romeril, Torrey Highlands Optometry, San Diego, CA
  • My hidden talent is having stage time as both a musician and a stand-up comedian. Neither of which I am very active in now. That said, I believe selling to be a performance. — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
  • Frame making. — Huge differentiation. Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • Having formerly worked at an Apple Store, people are always eager to share issues they’re having with their electronics. I’m always happy to do a little hard reset or reboot here and there. Definitely makes getting glasses a memorable experience. — Harris Decker, Eye Designs of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY
  • Customer service. — Paul Super, The Eyesite Optometric, Los Angeles, CA
  • Positive outlook. — Bethany Cassar, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
  • It’s not hidden, but humor is huge in my office. If people don’t leave with a smile, we feel like we’ve let them down. When people are laughing/smiling, everything runs smoother. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • Remembering details about patients that I learned during previous visits and being able to resume the conversation. It makes them feel special that I remember things about them or their family. — Pauline Buck, OD, Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists, Miami, FL
  • I guess not so hidden — I have a pretty good sense of humor and often use it to put people at ease. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • Initiative! — Becki Martin, Harrington Vision Center II, Florence, SC
  • Well I think being an optician we find all kinds of ways to actually be magicians with people’s eyewear which is helpful you can amaze people by what you can do by fixing their glasses and helping them out. — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • Being genuine with patients. I think the majority of patients expect us to be a stereotypical doctors visit. I love to not only help the patient but ensure they leave in a better mindset than when they arrived, to feel good about their visit! — Carissa Dunphy, Lake Stevens Vision Clinic, Lake Stevens, WA
  • My strong medical background as a BSN RN PHN has proven to be a great cross over in an effort to provide the best quality of life for our patients. — Leisa Lauer, Dr. H Michael Shack, Newport Beach, FL
  • Listening to the customer. — Chris Cordes, Fischer Laser Eye Center, Marshall, MN
  • I’m an empath and fairly good at mirroring peoples’ behavior and body language. It’s good for sales, but also helpful for developing lasting customer relationships. — Katie Root, Latham Family Vision, Latham, NY
  • Finding the reason why. Be it a patient’s vision issue, frame repair, computer problem. I want to know why it’s happening and how to fix it. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • I used to be a licensed health insurance agent. Understanding the industry from every point of view is helpful in articulating to patients why their vision plan isn’t insurance. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • I was an art major so it really helps with color in frame selection. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • My knowledge of health care policy, Florida rules and regulations. — Robert Easton Jr, Robert M Easton Jr OD FAAO, Oakland Park, FL
  • I love people and their stories. People love to talk about themselves and it helps keep them coming back to know that I’m genuinely interested in them! — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • Storytelling! I was an English major, which doesn’t seem to correlate to optical, UNTIL you realize that every single person that walks in wants to be the main character in a vibrant, exciting story. It informs how I listen to people, how I present glasses options, and how I fit frames. My well-honed literary research skills have also produced some wickedly-good insurance appeals and billing letters. I’ve only lost one first-level insurance appeal in seven years! — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • Fairy Hair by KeKeVanB (originalfairyhair.com). Once a month nearly 40 ladies come in to our boutique. — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
  • Listening to the patient, gathering information about their lifestyle; how they use their eyes every day. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • If a young child is nervous for their exam, I can turn a bathroom towel into a turkey. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • Knowing my inventory so well that I immediately know what frame will be perfect for their needs and style. — Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT
  • I definitely think I am able to put people at ease, so they relax a bit and let themselves have fun in the selection process. — Siobhan Burns, The Eyeglass Lass, New London, CT
  • I can remember anyone’s name — patients can come back a year later and I know who they are and they seem quite impressed! — Stephanie Crowley, Sie Eyecare, Charlotte, NC

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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