When I made the decision to jump to this side of the optical business, I wanted to work with a company that aligned with my values and ethics. I want to help others and show businesses how they can grow. I’m passionate about our local community and I’m inspired by how passionate you are about this industry. (If you’re reading this group, you’re my kind of people!)
At my interview with Scott (yep, Scott Harris himself) he asked me if there was anything that might take me away from my job. I answered truthfully, “I’ve made a dedication to volunteer at free vision clinics” and went on to tell him about the group I was working with at that time in Jamaica. He said “hmm” and was clearly thinking this through seriously. I GOT NERVOUS until he asked “how many frames can we donate?”
If you sit in on one of Scott’s speeches, you’ll be dazzled! The people of this company, Scott, Cinzia, Jerry our President, and many many of our reps are so DARN charismatic! AND its sincere.
“He’ll tell you that we support opticians associations across the country because we believe having a dedicated, committed, and educated optician at every point of eyecare is in the best interested of providers, vendors, and most importantly, patients.”
I’m told Scott’s dad, Alan, would talk about how many people the company could employ if Europa continued to grow… ie his ideas of expansion were focused on helping others from the inception of the company.
I’m often asked about the buyer/rep relationship. I’ve been both buyer and rep so now I must confess, I wasn’t always the customer reps love to work with! And that helps me look at life from both sides now. Consider there are about 500 private practices in western Washington alone… each with their own unique fashion sense, buying habits, preferences and personality. It’s been quite the learning curve…
Here’s what I’ve learned on the other side.
Don’t be worried you’ll offend a rep! It should be a mutually beneficial relationship. I am hardwired to want to meet your expectations… why not set expectations from the beginning, and we can grow from there. I do my best to figure out how your office ticks, but I need a little guidance.
Billing: Please always let me know if you are a member of an Alliance or Buying Group. Some offices like promotional or bulk buying. Others set their board spaces and have me replace based on sales. No matter what, I’ll always fill you in on ways to save money. That’s my job and that helps us build a trusting long-term relationship
Scheduling: I’ll do my best to accommodate your schedule… but a little secret you may not know… every office wants Tu-Th at 9am and that only gives me 3 appointment times a week, so your flexibility is very appreciated! I’ll even come crazy early for a few of my accounts who are just too swamped to look up unless I see them before opening. Our opticians are so awesome in Washington state and recognize how far reps travel to see them. Don’t forget I said there were 500 offices to visit quarterly, whether to open a new account or to service an existing account. And only 250ish business days.
500 x 4 / 250 = 8 appointments per day?? Does this seem impossible?
Product: As time goes by, your office and the industry as a whole will experience changes that I might just be able to help you navigate if the channels of communication are open. Maybe your retiree neighborhood gets an influx of families and I might have trendy frames for mom and dad or even cute stuff for kiddos. There’s room for more than just my brands out there.. if I don’t have it, I might know who does! And I’ll mention new lines as they are launched so you’re informed and can plan ahead for the promontory seasons or appointments; I aim for prepared, not pressured!
Inventory control: I’m often mathematical about this; if it’s selling at a good rate, we replace at a matching rate. If frames are selling too fast, do we need to up numbers or change reordering schedule? If it’s not selling, do we need product placement, training, are there enough options to choose from, or is it the wrong fit? I’ll make suggestions, but in the end, I respect your decisions especially when it comes to things like set board spaces!
Again and again I’ll say it, your success is my success. How can I help you?
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