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Robert Bell: Timing Is Everything




advice from optical sales consultant Robert Bell

Doing more of the opposite will help you close the sale and quell buyer’s remorse

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

You know what I forgot to tell you last month? That when you ask the last of the four questions, “Would you like me to help you with that?” and your patient answers “Yes,” you’re done! Congratulations, the sale is over.

You’ve just taken care of the hardest part of the selling process and the pendulum is swinging, at high velocity, over to the positive side. You will not believe how good this is going to make you feel.

Do you realize what’s happening here? When they say, “Yes,” they have just given you their expressed permission to educate them. You’ve made them self-aware of their pain. Their “pain” bone is connected to their “hearing bone,” and you’ve activated them to listen to you! They are now salivating — well OK, maybe not salivating — to learn all about what you’re going to do for them. Price be damned, insurance be damned. I’m in pain. Stop the hurt! Help me!!! Please?


Now, and only now, is the time to make your presentation. When it comes to making the presentation in the sales process, timing is everything! So, let’s talk about the presentation.


Last issue, Robert Bell gave you four specific questions to help you uncover your patient’s “pain.” This month, he finally “allows” you to make your presentation.

Nah, scratch that. I’ll never teach you how to make a presentation. Why? Because there are people far more qualified to teach you. Who are these people? The vendor representatives with whom you do business. They should be teaching you all about their products simply because they’re the ones with the product expertise. Great resources, your sales reps are. Tap their knowledge!


And though I won’t teach you how to make a presentation, there are two critical things you need to know about making the presentation:
1. When to make it.

Yes, I’m repeating myself, but making the presentation at the right time is critical. So when should you educate your patients? Only after the sale is done! Meaning, only after you get your patient’s permission to do so.

2. Understanding what a presentation actually is.

Can we all agree that a presentation is basically telling the customer all about the features and benefits of a product? I mean, that’s what we’ve always been taught, right?

Yeah, cut that out. Stop doing that.

From now on (and only after you have your patient’s permission), talk about the features of a product but never, ever, ever tell them about the benefits!


No, I’m not crazy and, yes I know, some of you are having a visceral reaction to this. (That’s good! I’m bringing you to the negative side of the pendulum.) Instead of telling them about the benefits, ask them about the benefits!

It might sound like this:

“Ms. Canova, this sunglass lens is polarized. Which means that it will virtually eliminate all that harsh glare you were complaining about when you’re driving your kids to soccer practice in the afternoons.”

(Now, ask.)

“Do you think that might be helpful (or advantageous or beneficial, etc.) to you?”

“Yes, I think it would.”

“Great. How?”

Sit back and let them tell you about the benefits.

You’ve just parted the Red Sea. They’re closing the sale for themselves and this is pretty much going to quash any buyer’s remorse. Ever think that was gonna happen? Feels pretty good over here on the positive side of the pendulum, doesn’t it? Are you loving life yet?
If not, wait until the September issue. In the last part of this series, I’ll share with you one more technique: how to handle any objections that might arise with just five words or less. You’ll then be ready to bring home the bacon (or tofu, for our vegan friends) and make your patients happier with their eyewear experience than ever before.

Robert Bell has trained salespeople throughout North America over 30 years in the optical business and created the EyeCoach Selling System specifically for ECPs. He serves as a special consultant to Project Homeless Connect and oversees their Vision Program. Email him at



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