Remember: Selling is a process in which the Eyecare Professional helps a patient to acquire all the goods and/or services that would assist that patient to fulfill any and all visual needs in exchange for compensation.
Before we can sell, we have to set the stage.
A salesman has been traveling in a part of his territory that he’s not too familiar with. At the end of the day he is in a desperate search to find a hotel room for the night. He drives and drives and finally spots a hotel off the highway. He zooms into the parking lot, jumps out of his car and goes into the hotel.
“Good evening sir, may I help you?” the clerk asks.
“Yes, I need a room this evening,” the salesman says.
“Certainly sir, do you have a reservation?”
“Um, no, I don’t.”
“I’m very sorry sir, we don’t have any more rooms.”
The salesman, feeling dejected and utterly defeated, leaves.
Five minutes later, the salesman walks back into the lobby and asks the clerk,“Just out of curiosity, if the President of the United States comes in here tonight, would you have a room for him?”
The clerk smiles, “Well, of course sir. After all, he is the President!”
“That’s great! But I just got off the phone with the White House. The President ain’t coming. I’ll take his room!”
The point of the story: Why treat one person, no matter their status, better than another in your office? Aren’t all your patients important to you?
If I told your receptionist the next time the phone rings it’s the President calling, do you think he or she will answer the phone the same way they did on the previous phone call? And what if the President walked into your office? Would he be greeted the same way as the previous patient? I think most of us would gear up a professional, warm and caring greeting for someone of that importance.
Now the likelihood of the President calling you or coming into your office is very slim, but you never know. For example, a doctor in Los Altos, Calif., did get an unexpected call one day. It seems the Dalai Lama broke his glasses while touring the U.S. on a speaking engagement. What if the next call came from a Hollywood celebrity, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the local hero who saved a little girl from a burning building? Or what if it was just “Joe Blow”?
It should not be that hard to answer the phone or greet patients with sincerity, respect and genuine enthusiasm no matter who is on the other end.
If you are an optometrist, people address you as “Doctor.” Why shouldn’t you and your staff address all of your patients with the same respect? “Mr.,” “Mrs.” and “Ms.” Should be the rule when addressing your patients.
We all want the same thing in our every day lives. Especially, if we are consumers spending hard-earned money. We want respect.
An optician once asked me, “So, you even want me to address a 13 year-old boy as Mister?”
If you address young people as ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.’ and do it sincerely, you will gain their respect. And if you gain the kid’s respect, my guess is their parent—you know, the person who is going to write you a check or give you a credit card—is going to be very grateful.
What’s the benefit to calling your patients by their first names without their permission? Did you just say, “It makes them feel more comfortable”? Does it really or does it make you feel more comfortable?
This is a very small but powerful step that will make a world of difference on both sides.
We are pleased to offer this glimpse into the innovative eyewear sales philosophy of Robert Bell. Bell, a 25-year industry veteran, is president and head coach of EyeCoach, a company dedicated to creating lasting change, rather than a motivational “quick fix,” which will help to dramatically increase multiple pair sales for eyecare professionals. You can contact him at
firstname.lastname@example.org or to find out more about EyeCoach, go to