I’ve heard that, often times, people assume that winter isn’t a “good time” to sell sunwear. I can only assume that these people have never experienced what winter is like, as I find myself using sunwear more and more in the winter months than I do in summer. While summer is, of course, the ‘traditional’ sunwear season, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only place that you’re going to find it. There’s plenty of places where it makes a whole lot of sense in the colder months, and your job is to offer the products that make sense for your customers. As far as I’m concerned, everyone should have a pair of polarized lenses. And no, photochromic lenses don’t count for this.
Protect Your Drive
Winter months are also when the sun decides to sit lower in the horizon and say a nice ‘hello’ to your eyeballs. If you happen to have a commute at the right time of the morning or evening, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The sun sits just at the right angle so it’s in your window, sliding in behind your eyewear and making it almost impossible to see. Unless you happen to have a pair of wrap sunwear, of course.
Sure, you could try and wrangle the visor of your car to try and get it in that exact right position so that the sun isn’t searing your retinas, and that might work. Until the road curves, or you make a turn. Then you have to fix it again. And again. Polarized sunwear is especially good in the car, as photochromic lenses don’t really work so much, thanks to the windshields blocking the UV they need to activate. We all know that already, of course (so I’m not a whistleblower), but your patients may not be aware of it, so it’s good to keep them informed.
In those places where you get snow, whether it’s the Northeast, Middle America, or even Russia, snow makes seeing really difficult. The glare coming from the sun is nothing when compared to the light bouncing off of a smooth coat of freshly-fallen snow. This is especially noticeable when you combine this with driving, as stated above. When the sun is so low in the sky, and ALSO bouncing off of snow, driving can be very difficult. Having to squint when you’re going 60 miles per hour isn’t exactly safe, but plenty of people do it.
It’s also a scientific fact that on those crisp winter days after a snowfall, the sun tends to be at its strongest at the exact moment you decide it’s time to go shovel. For those of you that have experienced this phenomenon, you know what I’m talking about. This also applies to other outdoor winter activities, like sledding, snowboarding, and skiing.
New Sales Approach ( NSA )
A popular option to help with moving sunwear in the winter months is the “buy one get one half off” sales. The idea here is to help you move inventory from your board to get the sunwear out of the way, to make room for the next year’s styles. Always a good plan, which can help not only to move the sunwear, but the regular frames as well. Another option is to “buy polarized, get the clear pair free”. The idea being to couple the two together and make it easier for the patients to be able to justify buying two pairs. The other thing to keep in mind here is that just because you might see your patient in winter, it doesn’t mean that they will come back in the summer to buy sunglasses.
Since they may only come in every year or two, you want to take the opportunity to make the sales now. It might be the dead of winter, but if you find out that they love to go fishing in late spring, you need to make your move while they are there. “Oh, you enjoy fishing? Well these are great for when you go, and we even have a sale going on RIGHT NOW! How great is that?” It’s not like eyewear is going to go bad in a few months.
Connecting the Dots
Since you, obviously, want your patients to buy more, this is how you can get them to do that. By relating some of these real-world problems they’ve almost undoubtedly experienced, you can get that buy-in that you need in order for them to want to make the purchase. You need to elicit the “Oh yeah, that does make sense!” response. Usually that requires you to need to point out things they currently just accept, and make it obvious that you’re able to fix this problem. That’s why having the above examples of very specific situations can help quite a bit. One of the continual battles that you fight with selling eyewear is that people always think you’re trying to sell them something that they don’t need. Being able to draw on specific problems that they’re likely to have is a great way to get over that hurdle.
Once they understand that the sunwear actually can help them, that’s when you can start talking about some options to allow them to personalize these a little more, such as mirror coatings. This is especially popular for those that do winter sports, and being able to have a number of colors to choose from makes it an even more attractive proposition, as you’ve given them a reason to buy more than one pair of sunwear. The more they can personalize something, the better. The whole sales process means you have to find out what they want without seeming too pushy or scaring them off, and giving them choice while addressing the problems they have is the best way to get a customer involved.
One last thing, to those of you that might happen to be in places that don’t have to deal with snow, or the other problems I listed here – why would you bother reading this? Shouldn’t you be out enjoying your perpetually-nice weather? It’s not like you’re stuck inside an embassy somewhere.
– E. Snowedin