Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Selling lessons from dispensing Opticians - Reducing 'I' Strain with more U UR and U'll

"U can dispense with selling or can U ?"

The word Dispense has 2 meanings 
1. manage without or get rid of e.g. shall we dispense with formalities ? 
 2.  another word for selling   - To distribute or provide (a service or information) to a number of people hence dispensing chemist (pharmacists), dispensing opticians.

The Selling of Spectacles has a long business pedigree and much to teach us

Historians tell us that the city of Florence  by the middle of the fifteenth century led in terms of innovation, production, selling, and spread of spectacles within and outside Italy. Florence had become the leading manufacturer of readily available and affordable good-quality spectacles. The documentation available tells us that in Florence the name of 52 spectacle makers between 1413 and 1562 and the location of their shops.

The large numbers of spectacles circulating in north west Europe (especially London) from the 14th century were being mass produced in the  low countries.

They were then manufactured in England beginning in the 15th century. Other centres of production like Germany, France, and Netherlands began to appear by the sixteenth century but they never produced anything near the quantity of the Florentine as recorded in documentation until well into the seventeenth century. 

 Leightons Opticians, Downing Street, Farnham
Selling (Dispensing) of specs TODAY

Today's optometrists and ophthalmologists use eye charts, trial frames, retinal photography, colour vision deficiency, duochrome tests to produce the prescription for your eyes, with those mystical abbreviations.
 SPH (long or short sightedness), CYL for astigmatism and dipotres, AXIS (angle (or direction) at which the CYL value should be applied to the base lens specified by the SPH value.

A dispensing optician is trained to dispense and fit spectacles and other optical aids, working from the prescriptions written by optometrists and ophthalmologists. 

Dispensing opticians advise customers on various types of lenses and spectacle frames, including advice on style, weight and colour.

Like many markets, the optical dispensing world is experiencing huge changes in this era of the fourth industrial revolution and the Internet of Things ( IoT).

Some changes they can predict and forecast, others they will nimbly have to react  to. The new age of shorter buying cycles, with uncertain economies and markets are now complex and at times most confusing. 

Yet that is the same for many of us in selling, whatever our market

But whether customers communicate to the supply side through the virtual buy on line or real channels in the high street , their human nature does not change much.

Sporting my new silhouette lenses lenses thanks to
  Leightons Opticians, Farnham
Notice their new customer centred strapline
 '2016 The Year of YOU'
'Looking after No. 1' has always been a key buying motivation. We are at the centre of our own universe. We are  the 'stars' of our own story. We are motivated by our legacy.

Just look at the proliferation of selfies on Facebook as we lay down our personal legacy.


If you are tagged in a group photo on Facebook / LinkedIn  , when you click on the link who do you look for first  in the photo ?

Answer:         Yourself !

That is of course the same for your Clients. They see the world from their point of view - they are stars in their own story  not ours.

It means that we  salespeople need to express our communication from our client's point of view.
This applies even in a distress sell where one might imagine the customer is at the mercy of the seller. Here's a personal example.

Just before Christmas 2015 I broke one leg off my specs. 

As well as needing to get them repaired , I was also due for an eye test. 

I have worn specs since I was six.   Over the years I have had to change my lenses many times. Each time it was a distress sell since I cannot function without specs.

My first specs were those heavy toughened glass as thick as the bottom of milk bottles. Then came an era of more variety of frames. Then lightweight plastic lenses.  Then came in the fashion houses like Gucci, YSL with all their fancy frames etc.

Each time my new glasses were a distress sell. I did not just want them I needed them

None the less I still needed to be sold to because there is always competition of one sort or another. Take a look at the following photos of all the opticians in my local town  of Farnham, Surrey.

Bartlett and Austin Opticians
in West Street, Farnham

C E Hall Opticians
West Street , Farnham

The Optical Studio in Lamb
 and Lion Passage, Farnham

There is considerable competition in optician outlets in Farnham . The big multiples such as Specsavers , Boots and Vision Express as well as local independent dispensing firms and family businesses. 

Vision Express,
Borough, Farnham

Specsavers in
West Street, Farnham
With such a variety on offer I asked locals who were the best opticians. My sight is important to me and the cheapest provider is not my priority. The after-care is important as well.
Boots Opticians, The Borough , Farnham

Others may see my specs as part of my face but that is from their perspective but when I look through the lenses I look from the opposite direction, outwards towards their faces. They do not see the world as I do nor do  I theirs. 

Most folk who wear glasses don't have to until they get a bit older and notice reading and driving are becoming more problematic.

But once you need to wear specs , you will get your  prescription with mystical optical jargon  SPH, Cyl  and Axis ( see above) . You  need a bespoke solution. We can learn about selling a bespoke solution from the dispensing optician.

AS the customer we look at the eye chart and the trial specs are loaded up lenses . Then there comes a point when it is nearly clear. 
Unlike a conventional eye chart
 with an "I strain" chart the higher up the chart
 is better when communicating with a client.

The addition of one more lens whose power is barely recognisable on its own; but when added to trial frame it hits the visual equivalent of the 'sweet spot'. 

The communication from the optometrist relies on our response to reading the letters on the chart and check questions such "Is better with this lens or this lens? "

The salesperson's 'I strain chart' works in the opposite direction to the traditional eye chart. The higher up the chart the better your selling prescription will be for your client.

Firstly, listen to your client. 
When you speak use language from the client's point of view. This is achieved by use words like you, your, you'll.

Remember, to the client their selfies are very interesting. Our selfies are only so so. 

Best words are the You , Your and You'll words . 

It's best to drop the royal WE of corporate speak. It may be OK in a brochure which broadcasting - but selling / dispensing is about focused narrow-casting. 

Just think how quickly we all soon switch off to salespeople spouting:- "we are the leaders i..., we have won these awards....., we are registered with ISO,.........

 Even more dangerous is to swamp clients with 'I'- strain talk " While I'm here,... What I'd like to do, I would like to have a little chat about...

So focus on the client's bull's eye - your bespoke target.

Use 'U' speak a bit more 
e.g    YoU, YoU'll and YoUr

Reduce the We*

Minimise the i

( *If the 'We' means You-and-I together, that is OK; but try and reduce the royal 'We' Queen Victoria "we are not amused")

'U speak'  helps with written and verbal communication e.g. Speech, Email, Twitter,Social media Linked In  /Facebook  Texting .

We celebrated Burns' Night last Monday. So here is a little bit of Burns relevant to all sellers and dispensers

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

The power of using  'U' speak such as "You", "You'll " and "Your" in your communication with clients is such a gift. 

 'U' speak helps professional salespeople to express the world as 'ithers' ( others) see it and personalise their offer to the client.

Good Selling

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