|Many men are more concerned with function and a frame that features a 360° spring hinge like TurboFlex Style No. EC299 from Aspex is sure to impress.|
Follow these tips on how to grow the men’s segment of your frame sales.
Anyone who has been in the optical business for any length of time knows that most sales come from the women’s side of the frame boards. As a group, females are generally considered to be more fashion-conscious than males, which is why most dispensaries have twice as many frames dedicated to them. Even so, men comprise a sizable part of the eyewear market so it’s important to keep that segment of your business robust.
THE MALE PSYCHE
The place to start building a solid men’s eyewear business is by understanding the male psyche. As a whole, men do not want to be bothered with shopping for anything, especially eyeglasses.
I live in a rural market. Many of my patients earn their living in the outdoors or in factories while others spend weeks away from home offshore. This makes growing a men’s business a bit challenging. For example, one patient came in recently and told me that the one thing he dreaded was facing “The Wall.” The very idea that he had to stand in front of a couple of hundred frames and make a selection was overwhelming to him.
This type of patient is the reason I manage my sales floor as I do. When my patients walk in, they are greeted and taken to a dispensing table where their prescription is analyzed. After getting demographic information from them and discussing their work and hobbies, we leave them to relax at the table while we bring them frames based on their Rx, needs, and wants. In other words, we reduce the size of the wall to a dozen or fewer frames. This sales technique appeals to the typical male who doesn’t want to take the time to look through 200 or more frames.
|Active men would appreciate Marchon’s Nike Style No. 4247 made from Flexon material.|
Although that describes the typical male patient, I have found lately that many men have become more discerning in their frame-buying decisions. Although they are not as designer name-conscious as their female counterparts, they still recognize certain names. If this were not true, you wouldn’t find shops with designers names like Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Bahama, and Ermenegildo Zegna lining the streets of New York City or their frames being sold at eyewear retailers across the country. While the older farmer may not know the difference between Ted Baker (by Tura) and a candlestick maker, the more metrosexual man would turn his nose up at a frame that did not carry a designer name.
|TIE IT IN Rather than trying to sell a man a second (or third) pair as just a backup, tag the frames with a name based on their hobbies or activities:
While form may play a sizeable part in frame selection, many men are more concerned with function. For this reason, one of my popular men’s frame lines is TurboFlex from Aspex Eyewear. A demonstration of the collection’s 360˚ spring hinges always leaves a man impressed. For example, selling patient Frank a “Frank-proof” frame will immediately convince he and his wife that this is the frame for him. Couple that with a magnetic polarized clip-on, and Frank is drooling all over his checkbook. Personally, I like to appeal to Frank’s forgetful side and recommend Transitions® lenses as a tool to help train him to leave the clip-on in his truck so that he doesn’t lose it. He removes the clip and leaves it in the case in the truck (out of the sunlight) and uses the Transitions lenses when he is in the direct sunlight.
While most men respond to function, it doesn’t have to be devoid of form (style). Consider offering combinations of form and function such as Nike Flexon mag-clip frames from Marchon Eyewear that carry the designer name, have the magnetic clip-on sunglasses, and feature Flexon bendable metal.
While women tend to be an easier multiple pair sale, men should be shown the advantages as well. Appealing to fashion sense and color does not do it for the guys usually, but looking at a pair he may use for his hobbies and activities will have him reaching for the checkbook again. When I sell multiple pairs to a man, I don’t expect the sales all at one time.
Instead, I plant several seeds, leading him to multiple purchases. I plant the first seed during the first pair sale. I mention several designer names first to have him thinking about the look of his eyewear. I may show the younger, more active male styles from the Nike or adidas Eyewear from Silhouette Optical Ltd. collections. The older, yet more refined, patient may get a few Ted Baker or Scott Harris (by Europa International) models thrown into the mix. The more mature patient is sure to be shown a Marchon Flexon frame or two.
|adidas from Silhouette is a popular brand for sports-oriented men (Style No. 697 from the Compose collection shown here).|
Each frame I hand to a man will be referred to as a casual pair, a dress pair, or a sporty pair, depending on the style. This leads me to talk about the pair he may wear when he goes out to a fine restaurant or when he is in a business meeting. Another pair he tries on may be the style I could see him when hunting or at his child’s baseball game. Still another may be perfect for when he is working in the shop or mowing the lawn.
Upon conclusion of the sale of the initial pair or two, I plant another seed by telling him to let me know when he is ready for a pair to use for whichever activity he did not buy for initially. When he comes back in a few days to pick up his order, I’ll plant another seed with a discussion about what his eyeglasses will do for him. I’ll immediately follow that with what his eyeglasses won’t do for him that a second pair will.
|The older, yet more refined, patient will look to a Ted Baker from Tura thrown into the eyewear mix (Style No. B315 shown here).|
The shoe analogy works well here, as it does with women. Telling the guy that he wouldn’t wear dress shoes to mow the lawn may have him thinking about the second pair. Another approach is to talk about the vehicle he drives. If he has a car, wouldn’t there be times that a truck would be better? After all, bringing home a new washer in the back of a Volvo doesn’t work that well and taking a trip across country with the family in a single cab truck isn’t fun either. Explaining what his eyeglasses will not do is as important as explaining what they will do.
With the right approach, you can easily increase your men’s eyewear business by focusing on the forgotten man…and who doesn’t want increased sales?
Kevin Harrison is president and owner of Heritage Vision Center, an independent optical dispensary in Hattiesburg, MS.
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