What is an Optical Sales Representative?
An optical sales representative is responsible for promoting the lens, frame or contact lens range of a manufacturer to optical practice owners.
What does an Optical Sales Representative do?
An optical sales rep needs to be outgoing and passionate about optics. You may need to be technically or clinically minded if you are representing a lens or contact lens company. Those representing a frame company will benefit from an eye for style. Overall, you need to sell frames or lenses into a practice that will ‘sell out’ delivering good profit and maximum wearer satisfaction, helping grow the customer’s business.
You will need to have superb communication skills. A frame or lens rep will need to be great with people and enjoy being on the move every day. You will need to have good organisational and administrative skills, ensuring customers are kept up to date with the latest information. You will also need to manage a regular programme of visits to customers, and may need to ensure that the customer is receiving their orders in a timely manner and is happy with the products and services.
Your focus is on customer service as well as commercial aspects. Commercially minded, you will be familiar with key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets. You will take responsibility to drive forward sales whilst maintaining customer satisfaction. You will work closely with some customers to help them maximise sales and develop business. You may manage/coach a team of other reps and train and mentor them.
You will need a driving license, and may need to carry cases of samples with you.
What do you get from this role?
The job can offer a range of different working patterns. It gives you a chance to interact with people and know that you are making a difference to the public by promoting eyewear and ensuring that practice staff are up to date with the latest styles, information and advice.
You can be instrumental in the success of the business you work for through planning and the achievement of KPIs, and can build positive relationships with customers as you help their businesses succeed too.
What do you need to apply?
Whilst there may not be any educational requirements, it is likely that you will have some previous experience in optics or sales. A qualification such as dispensing optician or contact lens optician may be required to represent lens or contact lens businesses.
What skills do you need?
You will be energetic and commercially focused. You will have a passion for eyecare. You will have excellent communication skills. Great customer service will be one of your goals.
You need business skills to determine how your frame or lens portfolio can assist a practice as part of its commercial eye care model. You will be trained to assist in the buying decision process, and your employer will supply you with information to support your work and your clients. Another key skill is understanding stock-turn impact on profitability, how to calculate this and apply this to a practice.
You may need skills in proposal writing, training and giving presentations. To be able to present onsite training to practices in a confident manner is also a requirement.
You need to be able to understand your customer’s objectives
It is essential to have exceptional knowledge of your product including design, materials and the manufacturing processes – many optical reps start by working on practice as an optical assistant or train as a dispensing optician.
Being self-motivated with a positive attitude is also a requirement. You can spend a lot of time on the road so liking your own company is always an advantage!
What does your working day look like?
You will start the day with a list of customers to contact.
You will make phone calls and drive to visit different customers in their practice.
You will need to spend time dealing with customer orders and administration.
You may need to deal with customer service issues.
You will monitor business and individual performance.
Discover a day in the life of frame rep Liz Shepherd here.
How may a training programme work?
There may be many in-house training and development opportunities for you.
In addition, ABDO offers Management & Leadership training courses accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and leading to a recognised qualification.