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FEW OF US get into the optical industry because we’re passionate about sales. After all, if we wanted to sell stuff, there are more lucrative ways to make it happen. (Yes, we’ve been watching Million Dollar Listing too.) Perhaps you got into the industry because you’re passionate about helping people see better, or you geek out over the technology, or you just sort of landed here but think it’s a pretty great career to have stumbled into. Regardless of how you got here, when people ask you what you do, you never say “I’m a salesperson,” do you?

“And although you’ve come to discover you don’t see yourself as a professional salesperson,” acknowledges Robert Bell of EyeCoach, “selling is an integral part of what you do as an eyecare professional.”

According to Bell, it’s vital you stop thinking of being a salesperson as someone who persuades or convinces someone to buy something. Also, stop thinking that “educating your customer” is a better approach … that’s just another way of trying to persuade them. “Selling has nothing to do with persuasion,” he explains. “It’s simply helping someone acquire what they need.”

The value in discovering our “sales personalities,” he says, lies in assessing our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to how we approach our patients and customers. “We need to be aware of what we do well and what we need to improve upon. Do I talk too much? Am I trying too hard? Am I asking good questions? Am I truly listening?”

So, we’ve pulled together this short, simple quiz, so you can find out your sales personality, and what you might do to make yourself as effective a salesperson as you are an eyecare professional. There are no right or wrong answers, only your answers.

1. Are you a rule follower?

  1. I follow the rules… when they work in my favor.
  2. Of course! (I was a hall monitor.)
  3. Rules are meant to be broken.
  4. Mostly. I don’t want to get called out.

2. Are you a risk-taker?

  1. It depends… I don’t mind a calculated risk.
  2. Lawd no. I don’t even play the stock market.
  3. I am taking this quiz while driving my motorcycle … without a helmet.
  4. YOLO!

3. What is your best trait?

  1. Intelligence
  2. Friendliness
  3. Confidence
  4. Adaptability

4. How well do you deal with conflict?

  1. I handle it well … Well, some people have said I’m too aggressive.
  2. I avoid it at all costs!
  3. I’m normally the one starting it.
  4. I try to avoid it, but can handle it when it comes.

5. Do you enjoy the art of persuading people to do things?

  1. Yes, I love sharing my expertise to persuade them.
  2. Not at all. Makes me feel like a used-car salesman.
  3. Obviously. Overcoming objections is part of the fun.
  4. If I really believe the product suits their needs, I don’t mind.
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6. How do you respond when you hear the word “no”?

  1. If I believe I really do have the right solution for them, I try again.
  2. It’s the worst. I apologize for bothering them and walk away.
  3. Challenge accepted!
  4. *Shrug* I just ask again in a different way.

7. Can you handle rejection?

  1. It depends … maybe if I’m in the right mood and I can figure out a lesson learned.
  2. I’d rather eat cold french fries, then go cry in the shower.
  3. I eat rejection for breakfast.
  4. It doesn’t faze me. Not even a little. It’s totally fine. I’m fine.

8. Would you consider yourself competitive?

  1. My only competition is myself.
  2. I like seeing everyone win. Does that count?
  3. Yes. What do I win?
  4. I guess. I’ve had some rousing games of Monopoly!

9. How do you feel about discussing complex products?

  1. Great! I excel at using big words and complicated phrasing.
  2. I’m more of a “Is there anything else I can help you with?” sort of person.
  3. Aren’t there other people for that?
  4. If I am sure in my knowledge, I’ll give it a go.

10. Do you like being on a team or are you more of a loner?

  1. I don’t really like people.
  2. I enjoy both. Sometimes it’s nice to have a group behind you.
  3. Someone has to take home the trophy!
  4. Rah Rah! There’s no “I” in team!

11. What do you believe is the most important skill for a salesperson to have?

  1. Knowledge
  2. Listening
  3. Persuasiveness
  4. A good attitude

12. How much have you practiced your sales pitch?

  1. Hours and hours of solo practice.
  2. Not at all, I prefer to speak off the cuff.
  3. I try to practice every once in a while when things seem stale.
  4. We practice as a team in staff meetings.

13. How do you determine a customer’s needs?

  1. I have a set list of questions I use in my discovery process.
  2. The doctor or prescription tells me what they need.
  3. Intuition. I can hone in on a pain point early and suggest a solution quickly.
  4. I’m pretty good at sussing out the right questions to ask depending on the individual.

14. ____ is the way you connect with your customer on a personal level.

  1. Education
  2. Empathy
  3. Selling them what they need
  4. Humor

15. A good sales approach focuses first on asking.

  1. How much the customer knows about your products
  2. For their prescription or any doctor recommendations
  3. What they’re looking for today.
  4. Open-ended questions that help you discover their needs and interests.

16. What do you think is the most common reason customers object?

  1. Lack of knowledge
  2. Not clear about their needs
  3. Lack of money
  4. Lack of interest

17. Managing objections takes…

  1. Providing more information.
  2. Time
  3. Skill
  4. Patience

18. If a customer puts an objection in front of you, you…

  1. Educate them.
  2. Redirect the conversation.
  3. Dismiss it.
  4. Thank them for giving you the opportunity to address their concern.

19. What do you think is the most important part of making a sale?

  1. Telling the customer everything they need to know about the product.
  2. Making sure that the customer gets exactly what they need.
  3. Getting them to sign on the dotted line.
  4. Getting to know the customer and building rapport.

20. To keep your customer around for the long haul, they must ____ your products or services.

  1. See improvement to their problem from
  2. Appreciate
  3. Perceive value in
  4. Enjoy working with you and

 

RESULTS

 

Mostly 1s? You’re a Fixer

The Fixer is at their best when solving a customer’s problem and will usually take an educational approach to selling. They’ve read the latest study, checked the specs on the newest equipment, and are probably already wearing that new lens you just heard about. They thrive on the technical.

They are most comfortable when dealing with people seeking technical expertise. Engineers? Bring them on! This allows them to display their superior technical abilities and “fix” the other person’s problem. Unfortunately, their hyper-focus on showing how knowledgeable they are can often be off-putting to those who just want to see well and don’t particularly care how you get them there.

the fixer

Mostly 2s? You’re a Caregiver

Caregivers have a pleasant personality and delight in helping people. They’re not particularly inclined to educate themselves more than necessary or to uncover needs, but if the customer knows what they want, the Caregiver can find it for them.

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These salespeople like to be of service, and helping others is their strong suit. They’re more comfortable fulfilling doctor recommendations and sticking to their tried and true brands and methods. As a result, they may not be as current in their product knowledge, willing to embrace new technology, or as able to troubleshoot difficult prescriptions or adjustments as others, but their customers always seem happy.

caregiver

Mostly 3s? You’re an Assassin

Assassins thrive on overcoming objections and closing new customers. Assassins are likely to be self-assured, aggressive, highly focused, and driven. They’re likely not the most knowledgeable on the team but they’ll never let the customer know that. They’re the stereotypical “heavy-hitters.” Their eyes are always on the horizon looking for the next kill.

As a result, they’ll overlook some smaller ticket buyers hoping to hook bigger fish. They also tend to leave some half-alive opportunities in their wake because their assertive, impersonal sales style can turn off customers. Not to mention, left to their own devices, their post-sale customer communications are minimal, if existent at all.

assassin

Mostly 4s? You’re an Evangelist

evangelistEvangelists are good at technical, brand, relationship, and consultative selling. They’re masters of the smooth, soft sell and are not afraid to ask for a customer’s business outright. They are outgoing salespeople and big dreamers — sales associates with contagious enthusiasm and big personalities.

Evangelists often go out of their way to help customers because they believe in the value of maintaining relationships. They sell intuitively with an emphasis on social interaction and a focus on having a good time. Due to their excitable nature, they may miss some customers’ non-verbal cues or signs of waning interest.

 

WAYS TO UP YOUR SALES GAME

 

If you’re a Fixer…

Fixers thrive when talking to patients with similar technical knowledge, but often run into trouble when interacting with non-technical decision-makers. They tend to get frustrated with prospects who have a more passive understanding of their products. Additionally, Bell points out that “they tend to be very talkative, trying hard to persuade on the technical merits which, in turn, makes them bad listeners. As soon as they hear a problem they have the solution for, their brains go ‘Ta Da!’

Their listening gets turned off and they pounce with their ‘brilliant’ solution.” Do we need to point out that pouncing is never a good thing?

They also tend to be colder and more objective with customers — believing that products should be sold on their merit as opposed to fashion or passion or what vision benefits will or will not cover. They aren’t comfortable selling without a comprehensive knowledge of their offering or supporting technical materials. Fixers want presentations to be perfect — an inclination that can have both positive and negative ramifications since it can reduce the number of customers interested in working with them.

If you are a Fixer, here are some things you can do to adjust your sales style:

  • Be more outgoing and engaging.
  • Display a sincere interest in others.
  • Improve your listening skills by asking a lot more pertinent questions relevant to the specific individual you’re currently dealing with.
  • Share ideas and information with others, don’t lecture.
  • Look for the positive in their ideas.
  • Avoid giving too much detail.

If you’re a Caregiver…

Caregivers are generally warm, friendly, and service-oriented. They are often introverts and can be sensitive — sometimes to a fault. They want to be liked and respected by their customer. More than any of the other sales personalities, says Bell, Caregivers have a better aptitude for listening skills. However, “Like Fixers, Caregivers can be very talkative, as well. Not in regard to optics but in trying very hard to make a personal connection to the customer.” Sometimes, this makes them seem overbearing.

They prefer to respond to others rather than initiate contact because they don’t like to be perceived as pushy or aggressive. They would rather make friends with customers than jeopardize the relationship by being too assertive. As a result, Caregivers don’t make sales — they wait for customers to buy. That reluctance to take the lead means some sales never get started.

If you are a Caregiver, here are some things you can do to adjust your sales style:

  • Always smile but don’t become overly friendly.
  • Talk less … keep the long, personal stories to yourself.
  • Ask probing questions, slowly, uncovering the customer’s needs and wait for the response.
  • Let people see your confidence in what you do.
  • Get involved and take control.
  • Ask for the sale.

eyewear-sales-person

If you’re an Assassin…

Assassins are most effective when given the space to hunt indiscriminately and bring in anything they can find. Unfortunately, that often leads to these salespeople valuing quantity over quality.

Assassins tend to resent bureaucracy and paperwork more than most other salespeople, so many fail to keep detailed records. But in turn, they’re diligent when it comes to staying on top of their opportunities. When it comes to sales techniques, Assassins aren’t particularly creative. They prefer planned, proven, and direct approaches to pursuing opportunities. “Assassins, like Fixers, are looking for that customer need,” adds Bell. “When they hear it, their listening skills go out the window. Unlike the Fixer, however, they don’t see this as a way to solve the problem, they see this as an opportunity to ‘close the sale’ … for themselves.” Assassins are decisive, bold, and blunt in their efforts to close a sale. That said, Assassins can be assertive to the point of aggressiveness and can come across as pushy.

If you are an Assassin, here are some things you can do to adjust your sales style:

  • Show more patience.
  • Slow down with people who speak slowly.
  • Ask more questions that uncover needs and acknowledge those needs back to the customer by summarizing.
  • Make an effort to listen to others’ ideas.
  • Be careful not to dominate. Allow others to have some control.
  • Implement a post-sale follow up protocol to ensure the customer remains happy with their purchase and experience.

If you’re an Evangelist…

Evangelists thrive on nurturing and maintaining relationships. They’re at their best when the sales ground is fertile. But when times are tough, Evangelists tend to stand around, complain, and wish for better circumstances. Unlike the Assassin, Evangelists aren’t motivated by slumps.

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Evangelists often take a very creative approach to their communication in their attempts to persuade the customer to buy — giving dynamic presentations and conducting thoughtful outreach. But that creativity and energy can sometimes come across as excitable, impatient, or superficial. If they want to get the most out of their efforts, Evangelists, like Fixers, points out Bell, need to listen to what their prospects really want before they start selling.

If you are an Evangelist, here are some things you can do to adjust your sales style:

  • Stay focused.
  • Be careful not to talk too much.
  • Improve your listening skills by asking pertinent questions and follow up questions to gain deeper insight.
  • Be sociable to a point, don’t overdo it. This is not a cocktail party.
  • Adjust your pace to the other person’s. In other words, mirror your customer’s tempo.
  • Look before you leap and check the details … twice.

eyewear-sales-person

So, how did you do? Do you know which of these four personalities makes for the best salesperson? Trick question. None of them! The most effective salesperson exhibits a nice smattering of all four. If you’ve discovered that you are more prone to one than the others, take it upon yourself to practice the traits of the other personalities. If you took the test and demonstrated a nice mix of personalities, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for improvement. You’re probably already aware of the areas in which you could be better, or the areas you could help those around you to improve on. Which leads us to …

Wanna have some real fun? Have your whole staff take this quiz. We suspect that in most offices, you’ll find staff with a variety of these personalities. But maybe, in your office, that isn’t the case and you’ll have a clear idea of where you can improve or fill a hole. Once everyone has taken it, reveal the personalities to the group at your next staff meeting. Then, as a group, work on the pros and cons of each of their sales personalities. Pair up different personalities to share best practices. At a minimum, it will make for a fun staff activity and could reveal some surprises. At best, this could be the foundation on which to build a really strong sales team. And this doesn’t have to be just a one-off. You can continue to devote a portion of your future staff meetings to working on improving these skills now that you’ve identified them.

If you take nothing else away from this exercise, take this, Robert Bell’s singular best piece of sales advice, regardless of sales personality: “Listen! For Pete’s (and my own) sake, listen to your customers. Ask questions, listen and acknowledge.

Once you’ve determined their needs with your extraordinary listening skills, share with them the solutions that will make their lives better.”

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