A day in the life… of an eyewear frames sales representative

Liz Shepherd is a business development manager for STEPPER EYEWEAR. Read on to discover what a day at work is like and find out whether this is a career that would suit you. 

My typical day ?

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. Monday I could be at an appointment selecting frames and Tuesday 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 don’t have any appointments and I’m 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. 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.

What do you love about your job?

For me it is a combination. I previously worked as a receptionist at an opticians so I feel very much at home in a practice. I have been with STEPPER EYEWEAR for 16 years, so I have built and maintained some amazing working relationships. There is a lot of trust that has naturally developed between me 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, during appointments or meeting people at conferences and exhibitions. Working for a highly respected company that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020 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 don’t get STEPPER when they are first made aware of the range. Having an in-depth understanding of your product and manufacturing procedures will set you aside from other reps. All our business development managers have a strong working knowledge of the materials used and how our frames are produced. This means we are able and confident in addressing any objections that may face us during the negotiation stage. 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 staying 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. 

  • Find out more about being an optical rep – see the career profile here.