Do your sales efforts overlook the obvious?

         If you own or have responsibility for the profitability of an optical business, you should probably take a minute and listen to what I'm about to share with you.

         I'm about to tell you a true story. It's a simple story but one that is absolutely amazing and hard to believe. In fact, if it had not happened to me personally, I would never have believed it.

         Like most of us, who work in the optical industry, I not only supply products but I use them as well. So when it came time for me to go for my regular eye exam and get new glasses, I had a real eye-opening experience (pardon the pun).

         I had chosen to go to one of the new retail eyewear outlets near our office. The store was beautiful. Immediately upon entering you could see that a great amount of time, planning, and money had gone into setting up the store. To one side and toward the back was where the Optometrist was set up, complete with a comfortable waiting area. In the center was a sales island from which the fitting for frames was done. Neatly arranged and well-designed racks holding hundreds of pairs of frames in every style imaginable surrounded this area.

         I was impressed!

         My first stop, of course, was at the Optometrist. The examination confirmed what I had been thinking, I needed new glasses.

         Up to this point everything had gone quite normally, but I was not prepared for what happened next. Having considerable experience in sales, I am naturally aware of selling opportunities, taking mental notes of how people handle selling situations when I'm the buyer. Sometimes I am a "hard sell" and sometimes I'm an easy one. Today I felt generous. I knew what I wanted and was going to give them an easy sale.

         So once my examination was completed, I said to the Optometrist, "Since I need new glasses, I understand that there are several lens treatments or coatings, which I could have added do you make them available?" The Optometrist replied, "I think so." That was it. Well, I tried again. "I always wanted a pair of good quality prescription Polarized sunglasses. Do you have them available?" Answer: "Look, if you want to know about those things, you need to talk to the sales people. I just examine eyes!"

         As I got up to go, all I could think of was how I handed out a golden sales opportunity just to see it thrown out the window. Oh well, maybe in this store the Optometrist isn't supposed to sell. I'll go to the sales island. That's where my kind of people will be, salesmen.

         I wanted to buy, and I wanted to be sold!

         I didn't want a repeat of my first experience, so I chose my next contact very carefully. My search was aided by the fact that all personnel had name tags with their position engraved upon them. I finally found the one I was looking for, the Sales Manager. Now at last I could be sold.

         The Sales Manager was very helpful in assisting me in selecting my frames. I found a pair, which I liked; and we were now back sitting at the island, and the Sales Manager was about to write the order. At this point the Sales Manager had only sold one pair of plain glasses. This is the salesman's golden opportunity. Surely I now would be asked about any additional items that I may wish to buy, having the benefits of each one explained to me so that I could take my pick. But, much to my surprise, the Sales Manager just kept on writing. Remember that I felt generous that day, so I said, "Wait, I may wish to buy more."

         Response: "Oh? Like what?"

         "Well," I said, "How about UV coating for my lenses?"

         Response: "O.K." She them continued writing.


         "Now what?" said the Sales Manager.

         "Well, I've always wanted a pair of good quality Polarized sunglasses. Could I buy some from you?"

         Answer: "Well, I guess you could, but it would take longer since you'd have to go back and pick out another pair of frames, and I'd have to fill out another order form."

         "Never mind." I said. At this point I couldn't get out of the store fast enough.

         As I walked from the store, I couldn't help but think about how everyone in the store seemed oblivious to the fact that I had presented an opportunity to double their sales. They could have sold me 100 percent more just by suggesting that I would benefit by having a pair of prescription Polarized sunglasses to go along with the regular pair of glasses I was buying.

         I then wondered how many people came to that store each day and were never asked about sunglasses. What did that represent in lost sales each day, each week, each year? The next thought overloaded my mental calculator. How many optical stores are there in the U.S., that are not asking their customers about sunglasses, and what does that represent in total lost sales?

         Now, I'm not talking about some cheap pair of sunglasses of questionable optical quality purchased at the Five and Dime. I'm talking about high quality Polarized sunglasses, which offer real benefits to those who wear them. Sunglasses made from quality lenses put in frames personally selected by customers and fitted by eyewear professionals.

         So do you want to increase your sales and profits? Every pair of sunglasses you sell can add $200, $300, $400 or more to your sales. Wouldn't you like to sell two pairs of glasses instead of one? Then tell your customers of the benefits of owning a pair of quality Polarized sunglasses.

         And don't forget your patients who have had Lasik surgery or wear contact lenses. The Lasik surgery as well as contacts makes the eyes more light sensitive. Polarized planos make excellent sunglasses for these patients. Contact lens wearers represent a tremendous market for optical-quality plano sunglasses. A survey of dispensers revealed that 75 percent of those buying contacts also buy a pair of plano sunglasses. Are they buying them from you?

         Well, there you have it, a simple technique with the potential to double your sales.