Jamie Hansel Optical Rep Talks Frame Pricing

I recently did a post about Frame Pricing, “Eyewear Merchandising Tips From the Field #2 Frame Pricing” and Jamie Hansel wrote quite a lengthy and very interesting comment in response to this blog. It is a whole new post about optical retail strategy so I am publishing it as a stand alone piece. Here it is:

Jamie Hansel

Jamie Hansel

PRICE PRICE PRICE Why does it seem to always be the driving force? It doesn’t. Price is dictated by the image of the Drs’ office or Optical shop & the image of the staff. It is also driven by what collections that you represent/buy for your business. Is your shop old & dirty…….or is hip & fresh & inviting? Is your staff dressed well-or do they look like schlubs? Not everyone can afford better eyewear-it is a percentage game & an image game. The decor of your business can make even the lesser priced frames look better than the same frames in your competitors shop. However-you have to separate yourself from the “pack” by working harder-seeing more frame collections & weeding out the frame companies that are entrenched in LensCrafters, Cohen’s, Sterling. Pearle & other chain stores. If you are buying these same frame collections-you are competing on price. The frames are “shoppable”, all over town. Elevate yourself & your business image & your clientele will respond……as will your staff. How do you answer the question “I have never heard of this frame collection before?” ” This is a collection that we found to be high quality & not in the chain stores…we are very proud to have this collection in our shop”. It is a spin sometimes. But I know that when I bring my collections to a Drs’ office or optical shop & see their excitement of having something “different” than the big box companies….I know as well as the dispensers know they have something that tells a story and represents an image that they already have or want to create. With the big box companies and what I call “Slap a name on a frame”…it almost does not matter which sales rep shows up-because each rep from that company has pretty much the same looking frames with a different name attached….hence “slap a name on a frame”. If YOU are looking to grow your business-YOU have to be representing frame companies that will extend “exclusivity” to you. As an independent rep I have figured out what makes me different than my worthy sales rep competitors. Knowing what you want from the business & having a vision of where you want to be & go is important. It is not always about money-it is the desire & determination that will take you to the net level. It’s about that website that you have not created yet…it’s about blogging on the internet…..it’s about change. It’s about changing your approach….your vocabulary. The word “COATING”…I dropped 7 years ago from my vocabulary—today I use the term “TECHNOLOGY” when explaining A/R. Coating is passe and has no intrinsic value.
Most reps work for one company & take a paycheck & maybe expenses—-they HAVE to sell you more of their products to keep their jobs…..I, on the other hand am trying to help you sell more products thru innovative ideas & a new approach. Your customer/patient…..does not care that you got 180 days billing to pay your frame bill….product is KING and will ALWAYS be KING!!!
As always I look forward to all comments & innovative ideas that others bring to the table to help me be a better rep for my customers.

Jamie Hansel
New York

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  1. Kudos to Jamie Hansel. Certainly his passion comes through and he makes MANY good and valid points. Here’s one: Price is not the driving force as he states. It almost never is unless one has set their business model on offering the lowest price. What is the driving force in a “needs” base industry such as ours? Value! Yes, cliched but true.

    If an eye care professional is solely focused on satisfying the visual needs of their patients/customers and if the patient becomes aware of those needs, then the specific benefit(s) of the product will always supersede the cost. “Wait, you mean there’s a lens out there that will help alleviate all the headaches and neck and back pain I endure when I sit at my computer all day at work? Sign me up!” Is price going to be an issue here?

    As a frame rep, Jamie has shared some ideas about differentiating yourself with frame product from the chain stores. An ECP should take that a step further in regards to lenses as well. Jamie also gave us all some little pearls such as replacing the word “coating” with “technology”. This is just brilliant and would be, in my opinion, highly effective. Thank you for sharing these ideas with all of us, Mr. Hansel.

    Robert Bell