Liz Shepherd is a frame rep for STEPPER EYEWEAR. Read on to discover what a day is like as a rep, and whether this is a career that would suit you.
My typical day as a BDM for STEPPER EYEWEAR?
No day is ever the same as a rep. My area covers the whole of the Midlands and I am never in the same place two days running. One day I could be at an appointment selecting frames and another conducting a training session. As my title is business development manager (BDM) my role also involves having discussions on stock turn, improving profitability, merchandising and proposing business ideas.
What do you start with every day?
Coffee!! That is my weakness. I love to get up early and have the day ahead of me. Even if I am not at an appointment that day and working from home it is still an early start. If I am attending a meeting, I will leave the house allowing plenty of time, just in case I get stuck in traffic. I hate being late, so allowing extra time is always good practice. I make sure I have all relevant kit with me, my laptop, frame cases and a flask for the car. Then I am ready to tackle the motorways of the Midlands.
What do you love about your job?
For me it is a combination. Having previously worked as a receptionist at an opticians I feel very much at home in a practice. I have been with STEPPER EYEWEAR for 13 years, so I have built and maintained some amazing working relationships. There is a lot of trust that has naturally developed between myself and my customers. I love the process of selling and get great satisfaction from professional achievements. As I am very sociable, I thrive on the human contact, be that during an appointment or meeting people at conferences and exhibitions. Working for a highly respected company that has just celebrated its 50th Anniversary brings me a lot of joy.
What are the challenges?
You must be very self-motivated. If I do not do it, nobody else will. Being organised is also a big advantage: this I have had to learn! Sometimes people do not “get” STEPPER EYEWEAR, so being persuasive and taking advantage of every opportunity can sometimes be daunting. Nobody likes to be told no! Different times of the year can also be very challenging: the run up to Christmas, holiday time or getting closer to big exhibitions can sometimes hold clients back from ordering. Being comfortable with your own company helps a lot as stopping away at hotels by yourself can sometimes be lonely.
What do you do to wrap up the day and prepare for the next one?
Fortunately for me there is never a lot of paperwork to do, we have dedicated electronic systems that correlate all my reports. I order frames online whilst I am at the practice, email a copy to them and follow up with any other tasks I may have. I have an ongoing list of accounts I need to contact to arrange appointments and tend to do these before driving home. When I get home, I will always look at my diary for the next day to tell me where my appointments are. I make a mental note of where to park, how to get there and how long my journey will take me.
If you’d like to find out more about being an optical rep, check out the career profile here.