Make It Or Break It In Five Minutes

This has become one of my favorite soapbox topics. As a 42-year optical veteran I have had thousands of five-minute conversations. Thankfully, I learned at a very early age how it can affect not only your day but your career.

I recently stopped in an office to introduce myself and inquire about their process of adding new lines to their optical. If you knew me, I love being in an optical, I am at home, love meeting and sharing the business, it just makes me happy. However, this five-minute interaction brought out the Karen in me. Here is where I can make fun of myself being a Karen. While it is my name, as a person I am as far away from the “let me talk to the manager” Karen, the phenomenon that will not seem to go away.

I pride myself as many reps do about being very cognizant of an office’s time and process, it is respect and courtesy. I was a buyer and administrator for numerous practices for over 25 years. One thing I would say is I always took five minutes to chat if a rep took the time to stop and get out of their car. That takes guts, especially these days. You will not find me dragging in a bag of anything to an office unannounced. I would carry a small case with a small representation of the lines in a shoulder bag which typically afforded me a great conversation.

As I introduced myself while holding my card and the proverbial box of candy the young man interrupted me and said, “We are not buying”. Game on as this girl was on top of her game that day and responded politely “that is great, as I am not selling, I stopped by to inquire about your office process that would allow me to present two frames lines that would make you one of few stockists in your area.” Brain bubble: What process? Blank stare and again but even more rudely he stated, “I said, we are not buying”.

I politely set the card and candy down on the dispensing table as I eye spied some business cards. As I picked one up, I asked, “is this your card”?” I waited until he responded “yes”. My reply was “No problem, after being in the optical industry for a very long time as trusted advisor to many I have gained respect and know many people. I have had thousands of five-minute conversations that have forged long term relationships and even changed my career path”.

I held up his card, turned to leave (no patients around) and said, “this last five minutes could have been different, you just never know where it may take you and who will ask for a reference. I also know and have worked with the great owners of this beautiful practice, have a great afternoon”. As he stood there with a very different blank stare, what popped into my head was Julia Roberts and the famous line.

While we may not be able to choose what comes our way in a day 100%, we have the choice how to respond. The last couple years have changed us, all of us somehow. Some very positive and reflective as well some very unfortunate.

I will leave you with this last thought. We are in this together, we are a team, and we do what we do for our patients and customers. Please “JUST DO IT” with care and compassion. Everyone is a customer!

Article written by: Karen A, Michaelson, ABOC

Find her here: Kare Consulting, LLC, | LinkedIn 

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