Always Be Nice – Opportunity Could Be Knocking


Every once in a while, something happens that presents the perfect topic for a blog. It happened this week.

From time to time, I am approached by an eyecare practice to do a little headhunting for them. I recently had a mid-sized, multi-doctor practice ask me to make a connection for them with an optician at a nearby competitor. They had heard good things about her, and wanted an opportunity to speak with her about any interest she might have in coming to work for them. The locations were so close that they felt uncomfortable approaching her directly in any way. Note, this is a modern, tech-driven, busy practice in a densely populated urban area.

I thought it sounded like a fun project, and gladly agreed to make the connection for them. I do pretty good phone – I am always open, friendly and respectful. As a writer doing research for articles, I have been dealing with optical companies and optical shops for almost twenty years now. You do not get twenty years of useful results if you cannot communicate.

I called “Kate” on Thursday morning, and we spoke briefly. I explained who I was, providing my full name, asked her to look at my website, OpticianWorks, and told her that she may recognize my name since I write for Vision Care Product News, Eye Care Professional magazine, have appeared in Review of Optometry, and contribute to Vision West’s OptiCenter. I told her that someone had given me her name and I just had a few questions for her about a project that I was working on. I also assured her that I was not trying to sell her anything. That would have been quite clear if she had taken the time to look me up on Google. I’m a very easy guy to find.

Rather than being flattered, or even curious, she was defensive, just shy of rude, and seemed annoyed about the prospect of speaking with me. In her defense (or to her detriment), she really had no idea why I was calling her. She only knew that I was calling her. Hence, I had to have had a reason to do that, right?

We set a time for a call at 5:00 on Friday when “The doctor would be leaving early.” I asked her if she would prefer talking to me another time, outside work hours, and she said, “No.”

I called her promptly at 5:00, and asked if this was a good time. She said, “No,” that she was with a client. Would I just call her back later? I asked if I could leave my number for her, and if she would please call me there when she was ready. She said, “OK,” but could she ask me who had given me her name? I said, “I am sorry, but no, that is the one thing I cannot do at this moment.” She said, rather sharply, I thought, “Well, someone gave you my name. Why can’t I know who it is?” I replied, “Please call me back.”

Never heard from her.

I mentor kids at a local elementary school. The email exchanges from the school all come through with the signature, “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” I always try to keep that in mind when I get email, calls or visits from sales people, customers, or patients. As I’ve said myself on many occasions, I’m not a real warm-and-fuzzy kind of guy. However, I am always nice to anyone who calls me or emails, and I will always return a call or email, no matter what. Call it karma, call it manners, call it old-fashioned; call it whatever you like.

If you hear a knock on the door, answer it – it could just be opportunity knocking!

In this case, I ended up reporting back to the practice that had been interested in hiring her that “Kate would not be my first choice for a new employee.” At the very least, I hope any employee in my company would be polite. More, I would hope that person would have enough genuine human curiosity to explore potential possibilities.

Submitted by Guest Blogger John Seegers MEd. is the owner of, a website dedicated to optical dispensing. Questions, comments, ideas, suggestions you can contact him at

Claire Goldsmith MidPage


  1. Yes. Some people generally miss hearing “news” that could be a potential positive change.

    I cannot begin to tell you how many offices I have cold called; have no idea yet about the business potential from my company and will flatly say, “Doctor is happy with his companies”.

    And I think to myself, but “what if” my company made an impact for his business success? How does one not want to at least hear the information and then make an assessment?

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