Article

CLINICAL: Optical

‘Hang Out’ With Frame Reps

Allow your optical staff time to learn stories for frame lines

We’re all storytellers and story listeners. Whether we are purchasing products or experiences, knowing the story behind what we buy adds value to it and has a profound influence on deciding whether to buy it: The promise of the performance of the German sports car, with its heritage and design, draws us in to the brand. The description of the river cruise through legendary European cities primes our expectations of what it has in store for us.

EMOTIONAL VS. RATIONAL BRAIN

Some products we buy automatically and, thus, require little consideration, for instance, the weekly grocery shopping list. But others, especially big-ticket items or fashion-related products, involve the emotional part of our brains. While our prefrontal cortex is good at handling rational decisions, we often rely on our emotional brain to make difficult decisions.

When patients buy their eye wear, they are not using their rational brains to weigh the costs against the benefits. Instead, they are using their emotional brains to decide what they want. Knowing the story behind the brand impacts the emotional part of the buying brain and helps the consumer decide whether he wants to spend money on those frames.

Schedule time, via a video messaging platform, for the rep to speak with optical staff.
Image courtesy of Photographee.eu/stock.adobe.com

STORIES FROM THE SOURCE

Frame reps know the frame stories of the brands they sell, but very few of the optical staff ever get a chance to talk with them. The frame buyer meets with the frame rep several times a year to make frame selections and, thus, gets to know the selling points of the frames very well. But the optical staff, who work on the sales floor and would benefit the most from conveying that brand story to the patient, don’t get this face time. For this reason, we created a frame notebook for each brand that tells the story of that brand. (More on how to do that here: http://bit.ly/2Bb1nWK .) Also, we created small laminated flashcards for each brand that have three main selling points of that frame company. (More on these brand plaques: http://bit.ly/2FMmRs2 .) Additionally, we encourage all optical staff to hang out with the frame reps, if possible, when they visit, so they can hear the brand story firsthand.

It’s not always practical to have the entire optical staff involved when the frame rep visits, so we started doing monthly Google Hangouts with our reps. Specifically, we set up a 15-minute video call in our conference room over a lunch hour. That way, the entire optical staff can ask their questions about the brand and learn selling techniques directly from the frame rep. The result is that our staff becomes better at telling the story of the brand that is so important in the purchase process. In turn, the frame rep doesn’t have to get to the office to provide this education.

CONSIDER A HANG OUT

Consider having your staff “hang out” with your frame reps when they visit your office and virtually with Google Hangouts when your entire optical staff can be present. Doing so can help increase sales of premium products, while raising the quality of the presentation by your staff. OM

MORE FROM OM

CHECK OUT THESE OTHER STORIES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF STORYTELLING IN EYE CARE:

→ “Storytelling’s Power of Persuasion” http://bit.ly/2IvcdMA

→ “Engage Your Consumers” http://bit.ly/2y4Vzx4