THE FINE ART OF SELLING MEN’S EYEWEAR

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Men who enjoy an outdoor and/or active lifestyle will benefit from more than one pair of sunglasses (Wilex X Style No. P-17 shown here).
Listen carefully to the brands your male patients are asking for and observe what brands sell well in your dispensary and in your area (Joseph Abboud Style No. JA4033 from Altair shown here).
ACTING OUT Play a game with your staff during your next office meeting. See how many adjectives they can come up with to describe men’s eyewear-handsome, strong, intelligent, and youthful are just a few possibilities. Give them a “pretend patient” and his lifestyle and then challenge your staff to pull eight different frames that may fit that lifestyle and discuss what eyeglasses they may recommend. Role-playing can help your staff become more comfortable with their presentation techniques.
Discuss frame materials and the benefits they offer as shown in the lightweight aluminum temples on Morel’s ÖGA Talval.
Men appreciate raised patterns in the temples, as on McGee’s Orvis Clark Fork, which add depth and interest to the frame.

Follow these tips on how to train your staff to get your male patients engaged in their eyewear purchase.

Typically men and women have different shopping styles. Women are likely to look for an experience that allows them to have an emotional connection to their purchase-how does it make me look and how does it make me feel? Men are typically more focused on getting what they need and getting out of the store, preferably as quickly as possible. Women usually prefer more details and description while men tend to be given the nuts and bolts of a transaction.

Knowing there are differences between how women and men shop will help you develop sales techniques that are more appropriate and effective for each group. Here are some of the points and techniques that will assist your staff to effectively sell to men.

SELL COLOR
Men have traditionally worn frames in conservative colors but are now embracing bolder hues in their clothing which is spilling over into eyewear. The winter 2014 runways gave us a sneak peek that color would be very present in men’s clothing and spring 2014 runways clearly showed this trend continuing with neons and colorful patterns. For more about color in men’s eyewear, see “Subtley Makes Its Mark in Men’s Frames.”

Suggest that your staff include one frame with a touch of color into the mix they show each male patient. Have them explain that several of these colors will blend nicely with their dark business suits and would look very professional, but give them a little pop of color and some individuality on their face. Ensure that your staff also understands the fundamentals of suggesting eyewear based on face shape and complexion and why a particular color is suited for them.

SELL DESIGN ELEMENTS
While women may love obvious embellishments, men appreciate some of the finer details in frame design. For example, some temples have textured patterns in monochromatic color schemes while others are raised to add dimension. Acetate frames can also come in double- or triple-laminated colors, thus adding more depth and interest to the frame.

To properly educate patients on these design elements, train your staff on the features and benefits of each product you sell. Provide them with a script that helps them learn these as well as suggested phrases to use which explain the components of the product. This is a very effective way to make your male buyers informed consumers, and informed consumers buy what they understand.

SELL BRANDS
Quite often men will have a strong reaction to name brands. Once they have a good experience with a brand, they are likely to become very loyal and look to purchase that brand multiple times. Listen carefully to the brands your male patients are asking for and observe what brands sell well in your dispensary and in your area. Make sure to highlight these brands and showcase them in your displays.

SELL TECHNOLOGY
Most men want to hear the technical merits of the purchases they consider. This means that your staff needs to discuss frame materials and the benefits they offer. If they can draw comparisons to materials patients already use and appreciate, it’ll make understanding the merits of the material they’re explaining so much easier. For example, a male patient might be familiar with the benefits of titanium in his sporting equipment and he knows that it makes their golf clubs light, flexible, and durable. He’ll easily make the connection with titanium frame material because of this.

Men will also be interested in seeing how the technical merits of a frame may perform and nothing does this better than a demo. In addition to your staff explaining what a memory metal can do, if they twist the frame in front of the patient, he will understand how it will perform in real-life situations.

SELL FUNCTION
As a group, men are generally concerned about the function of the products they buy. This means that they have expectations about how a product will work for them. Training your staff to discover what men expect from their eyeglasses and how they desire the eyewear to perform will satisfy their needs and potentially help increase your dispensary’s bottom line as well. When your staff uncovers a patient’s lifestyle and the activities he participates in, they can make better recommendations for frames, lens styles, and lens options that improve the patient’s quality of vision for a wide variety of activities.

Men are typically more open to the idea of purchasing multiple pairs for specific purposes, particularly if they will improve their performance or ability to perform. It’s a good idea to find out how much time they spend on a computer or other digital devices and ask if they are experiencing any symptoms associated dry eyes, eye fatigue, etc. You can use your standard questionnaire for this purpose but the verbal questions you use to follow up on the survey’s questions should be honed towards the interests men have. Be sure all your staff members are well versed on how to use your office’s questionnaire and how to follow up on each question.

SELL SUNWEAR
An often overlooked area for multiple sales with men is sunwear. Men who enjoy an outdoor and/or active lifestyle will benefit from more than one pair of sunglasses. They may be avid runners and need a lightweight frame with photochromic lenses that adapt to changing light conditions. While they’ll enjoy these for running, they probably would not want to wear that same pair of sunglasses when they take their motorcycle out for a drive up the canyon. They would be better served to wear a rugged frame that has a wrap design and perhaps even a foam cushion that seals around the eyes preventing dust and debris from getting in their eye or a high volume of wind from drying their eyes and disturbing their vision.

Your staff can also explore the wide variety of lens colors available and match the patient’s activities with lens colors that will enhance his enjoyment and experience. The key to second pair sales is to ask the right questions during the interview and have the product knowledge that enables you to make the right recommendations.

Men and women are different on many levels and how they shop for eyewear is no different. Working with your staff to develop appropriate presentation techniques can help you better discover the needs and expectations of your male patients and then make appropriate recommendations in products that will help them feel and see their best.

Joy L. Gibb is a licensed optician for Daynes Eye and Lasik in Bountiful, UT.

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