My first encounter with an order- taker was Jack Damphier of Avante-Garde (now Luxottica) Here I was a struggling sales rep selling Neostyle Eyewear, trying to sell 1 frame and Jack would walk in, and they would say just Send Me 50-100 Pieces. UGH.
At some point in my frame career, I made a determination, that I would have to do something different than any other rep, if I wanted to make a living selling eyewear. I would have to go beyond the ‘order-taking’ and start differentiating myself. So I became a merchandiser, an inventory management specialist, an ABO speaker, started a newsletter and a few other things in order to become the best rep, who offered more than just a bunch of frames.
Please don’t get me wrong about Jack, he did work hard and then ‘Lucked’ into Avante-Garde, who had the Deeda, the Carlos, Stewart.. and the rest as we all know is history.
Not all of us, reps and retailers are so lucky to ‘Luck’ into the right location, with the right product mix, the right customers and the right dispensers. It takes a lot of hard work and going beyond the usual to become the best in your area, so someday you too can become an order-taker.
An order taker is someone who doesn’t work to make the sale. In the case of a rep, they just walk, fill in the blanks, send in your order, talk a bit. In the case of dispensers, an order taker is the one who says: The Frames That Are In Your Plan Are Over There, Take A Look And See What You Like. An order taker is the person that says ‘Your Plan Cover XXX. An order- taker is the dispenser who does not give each and every single option to their patient.
Note that order-takers go beyond the optical industry; Every restaurant including Fast food are all Trained to go beyond being an order taker. Will you have fries with that order? How about a dessert?
The question comes up are you trained to ask: 2nd and 3rd pairs, sunglasses, sports glasses, safety glasses, readers, the Mirror Coatings, Fog-Free coatings, the 3D eyeglasses, Accessories. If you can get a 16 year old to sell fries, shouldn’t you, the professional optical dispenser be trained to ask each person if they want a mirror coating?
A while ago, Michael Bellomo of Opticote said to me, ‘ You don’t have the ability to control who walks in your store, you do have the ability to control what they walk out with.’
When you think about that one sentence, it can effect every thing you do in your office. From the way you merchandise, the way you greet the patient, the way you present your products and services. It is not about Warby Parker, buying online, it’s about controlling and setting up systems, it is about training yourself Not To Be An Order Taker. It is about presenting All Options to each and every patient, including items that you may not be partial to.
My question to you, is are you an order taker?