By Robert C. Bell

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.

Most of us learned the Golden Rule at a very early age from our parents, teachers, etc.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

I love the sentiment but, alas, it doesn’t work.

The Golden Rule, in one form or another, has been around for 5000 years (Google it), from culture to culture, society to society, religion to religion. Yet, most of us continue to treat others NOT like we would like to be treated but rather we seem to treat them, it seems, in a more reactionary and retaliatory way.

Personally, I think the problem is that, on an intellectual level, we do recognize the unbelievable logic to the Golden Rule but we don’t take it to heart. It just doesn’t get to most of us emotionally. Think about the last time someone may have pushed your buttons, was the Golden Rule anywhere to be found? Was it even close to being in any of your thoughts?

Not long ago, I came across a quote from a man named Og Mandino—a strange name but a remarkable and legendary salesman:

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same.”

When I saw this quote, it turned my world upside down. The power of what he said not only made logical sense to me but also overwhelmed me emotionally.

I immediately incorporated it into my daily life. Then, the first time someone tried to push my buttons an unbelievable confident power came to me. As this person was making an aggressive stand (screaming and yelling), I actually thought to myself that I have two choices here: 1) React the way I (or anyone else) normally would … meaning, retaliate with louder screaming and yelling, or fight fire with fire… or 2) let him finish and then gently find out how I could help him find relief to whatever got him this angry.

I opted for #2. Customer and friend for life, I believe.

By the way, I found fighting fire with fire is a very strange strategy. It doesn’t really do anything but create a larger and more combustible fire. Fires are usually put out by cool, clear water.

So, the next time the phone rings at your office or the next time someone comes through your doors, no matter what their current state of mind is at the time, consider Mandino’s quote. You always have the choice and opportunity to be nice to most everyone, even if they are pushing your buttons you still can choose to be pleasant and understanding.

If you need another reason other than it’s the “nice thing to do,” try it out and tell me about the power and inner strength it gives you. I believe you might enjoy the results.

Robert C. Bell is president (and head coach) of EyeCoach, an organization designed to teach and coach innovative and industry-specific sales techniques to eyecare professionals. You can contact him at