The American Optician

Summer 2017

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1 8 HOW TO BUILD GOOD VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS Once you become an optical dispensary manager or owner, you'll notice people are always demanding your time. Depending on how you delegate responsibilities, on any given day you will see customers, make eyeglasses, place orders, see sales reps, field phone calls and maybe even leave yourself time for lunch. Each of these is important, but one of the more important duties involves your vendors. Developing the right relationships with them is crucial. They can make your job easy or very difficult. How you develop those relationships will determine the amount of support you'll get from them. Here are some ways you can develop good vendor relationships. Help move more product by following these tips! APPOINTMENTS Almost daily, you will face an onslaught of representatives wanting to sell you the best product in the industry. Do you invite them in or do you require an appointment? In my office, I've recently adopted a policy that requires them to see me at least three times before I introduce their product in my store. If I see something interesting, I'll set up an appointment with them when they come back through town. The second visit is to see the product line and determine if the mix is right for my office. If I am interested, I set up for their next time through when I will place an order. This helps me see if the rep is faithful enough to take care of me on a regular basis or someone I will never see again who sticks me with product I cannot move. On average, three times through my store means they have been with the company for six months and have learned what sells and what doesn't. Cold calling for a rep is tough, and dragging them out when you have no intention of buying is not fair. Some companies do not send face-to-face reps. Instead, they use inside sales reps. This is a little less personal but can still be effective. Those who call you regularly may be willing to send product to try before you buy. This gives you the

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