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Thread: One for the reps - "cold calls"

  1. #1
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    One for the reps - "cold calls"

    Since someone brought up reps and sales techniques...

    Do many reps actually get new accounts by just showing up? I know that appointments can be a problem, especially when someone sets up an appointment only to blow off the rep.

    From our viewpoint, cold calls are just as bad, especially when the reps have a hard time taking "no thank you" for an answer. If we say no and we look busy, don't open your cases and start showing us frames. Even if we did want to bring in another line, we aren't going to order on the fly - we'll want to sit down.

    Any thoughts from anyone - and yes, this is me venting.

  2. #2
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    Personally, I don't understand why any decision-maker would see frame buying as unimportant. Your customers think the frame style is very important and so should you. I love talking to reps because they know the industry, and I like to learn what styles are in.

    As for you reps out there, the most common mistake I see is what I would call "Persistent Ignorance." It goes like this...

    A nice, well-meaning rep gets the idea that persistence pays. So he comes back every three months and says, "I was just in the neighborhood and thought I would drop off my card again, just to let you know I still have that line of frames I showed you last time. I'll be back around in three months to see if you want to bring them in."

    This approach will rarely work because it addresses your needs, not the buyers needs. What are the buyers needs? You have to ask. Don't be afraid to ask, ask, ask. Ask and you shall receive. No one ever asks me. Do they ask you?

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    it's a tough job

    Quote Originally Posted by Jo
    Since someone brought up reps and sales techniques...

    Do many reps actually get new accounts by just showing up? I know that appointments can be a problem, especially when someone sets up an appointment only to blow off the rep.

    From our viewpoint, cold calls are just as bad, especially when the reps have a hard time taking "no thank you" for an answer. If we say no and we look busy, don't open your cases and start showing us frames. Even if we did want to bring in another line, we aren't going to order on the fly - we'll want to sit down.

    Any thoughts from anyone - and yes, this is me venting.
    Jo with all due respect, as a former frame rep I can tell you not many reps like doing cold calls but it is a necessary evil. I'm sure all frame reps would love to check their voice mail everyday and have 3 or 4 accounts calling and leaving messages like "Hi this is Suzy from acme optical and we would really love to set up an appointment to put your line in." Unfortunately this is not a reality. One thing I ALWAYS took into account was how busy the practice was at the time of my visit. If they were terribly busy I would just leave my card and some sort of leave behind (catalog, brochure ...) and tell them "you look very busy so if you could pass this on to the person that does your buying I would greatly appreciate it". Does every frame rep handle cold calls that way? NO. One thing I think that most people in optical don't realize is about 80-90% of frame reps are self employed and work on straight commission. This means they pay for their own gas, insurance, taxes, etc.
    The other thing to consider is even though you are pretty much self-employed you still have to answer to a regional manager that expects you to hit your numbers, and if you don't you will no longer have a job. Honestly most reps would rather take a hot dagger in the eye than do a cold call. I know I would. When you have a family to feed and bills to pay it is a necessary evil. Since we are on the subject the thing that used to drive me crazy as a frame rep was how well Doctors and opticians used to treat contact lens reps. Heres a guy that sells a product you make little or no money on but yet the Doctor would do everything but shine his shoes. When a lot of doctors see a frame rep in the office they head in the other direction like the rep has a neon "I have herpes" sign hanging over their head. There are good and bad reps. There are pushy and non pushy reps what you have to do is weed out the bad ones and work with the good ones. Sorry I was so long winded.

  4. #4
    Master OptiBoarder Jedi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveD
    Since we are on the subject the thing that used to drive me crazy as a frame rep was how well Doctors and opticians used to treat contact lens reps. Heres a guy that sells a product you make little or no money on but yet the Doctor would do everything but shine his shoes. When a lot of doctors see a frame rep in the office they head in the other direction like the rep has a neon "I have herpes" sign hanging over their head.
    Great post overall, but this is a fantastic point. Being a CL rep has to be the easiest job in our industry, expense accounts, no hard sells, just talk the talk, and it's just goofy what they get paid, almost as goofy as Pharma reps.
    "It's not impossible. I used to bull's-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home."


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    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Thanks DaveD, that explains a great deal. I guess it isn't so much the cold call but bad timing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedi
    Great post overall, but this is a fantastic point. Being a CL rep has to be the easiest job in our industry, expense accounts, no hard sells, just talk the talk, and it's just goofy what they get paid, almost as goofy as Pharma reps.
    One of the problems could be that frame reps outnumber CL reps probably 20:1

  7. #7
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    Opticians are a funny crowd when it come to the sales rep.

    They wont give him an appointment if he is not from one of the wll adbertised companies even if he might have the latest in fashion and or quality. Therefore he will have to make cold calls and just walk in to a store.

    The he will have to fight very hard to see whoever is the person in charge of purchasing. When he succeeds with that, he will have a hard time to make a first sale.

    Sales reps of companies that have been dealing with the customers have no problem with existing customer, but the tough part is to increase the customer circle.

    Beding sales rep is not an easy buy a tough and very often a discuraging job, and only the real good ones will last for a long time.

  8. #8
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    Reps and Cold Calls

    I have a policy in my shop "We shoot every third salesman, the second one left 10 minutes ago"

    Ed

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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveD
    Honestly most reps would rather take a hot dagger in the eye than do a cold call....
    ...they head in the other direction like the rep has a neon "I have herpes" sign hanging over their head.
    DaveD:
    "Hot dagger in the eye" LOL:p

    BTW, we all knew you had herpes. No sign needed.:bbg:

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed_Optician
    I have a policy in my shop "We shoot every third salesman, the second one left 10 minutes ago"

    Ed
    Quick tell me where you work so I can keep driving. I cover Carlsbad and am not ready to die.

  11. #11
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    That was a pretty accurate account of cold calling from Dave D and he's right, nobody likes to cold call. I am fortunate that I have been in the business for so long that I don't have time to do much cold calling. But I sure did my share in the early days.

    I think it boils down to common sense. If you walk into an office that is swarming with patients or customers then its probably not a good idea to start whipping out frame trays. Personally I love it when I see that because I know my reputation is going up and his is going down. I will just leave a card and say I see you're busy and I will try to stop back at a more convenient time. Sometimes they will make an appt. to have me come back at a specific time but mostly they are appreciative that I was aware enough to read the situation and know that now is not a good time.

    Quite frankly if you're a young rep and you are not cold calling, your business is going nowhere.

  12. #12
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    Cold Calls

    I once worked for an optician who always gave an order to reps that came in on cold calls...."GET OUT"

    Ed

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    Master OptiBoarder karen's Avatar
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    Here's my 2 cents- I sold frames for a year before going over to working for a lab and it is a thankless job, especially if you are not working for one of the big dogs. I have been working the same territory for 7 years now so luckily I know most everybody and even those that aren't doing business with my lab are mostly friendly. Because I was an optician first, if the office is too busy I get the heck out of there. I hated people who would hang around and watch me bust my tail thinking that eventually I would magically acquire the free time to see them. BUT- if you guys have the time, at least take a moment to say hello. We all have a job to do and sometimes having to deal with one more unfriendly optician or receptionist is enough to make you want to drive your car off a cliff. Some of us are out there trying to help you with your business so take a second to talk to us and see if we are one of those reps that will take good care of you and just maybe you will be glad you took a moment to get to know us better. Also, if you don't want to see me, be honest. I won't waste anymore of your time and go out and find someone else who can benefit from what I have to offer.
    Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others. -H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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  14. #14
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    Reps/Cold calls

    I call a rep if I need something new frame wise. I will often call and ask to see nothing but "Old Lady Plastic Frames" Show me what I ask for not the entire line. If I buy 5 frames from you toiday you will be getting commission on all of the reorders that I will have on those items

    Ed

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