My key to shopping success with my clients is to start by telling them they’re going to be uncomfortable. In fact, I guarantee it. When I say this they giggle nervously. But it’s true. If they’ve seen themselves wearing what they’ve been wearing for years and we’re changing things up because of their style recipe or lifestyle changes, the result is going to be fairly dramatic just because it’s different.
Here’s a case study
I hadn’t worked with this particular client in quite some time. Let’s call her Denise. She’s a busy professional and a very successful, distinguished author. She wanted help with eyewear. What motivated her to call me was that she’d be spending time in New York with her publisher soon. She’d just finished her latest book. For several weeks/months she’d be on a book and speaking tour to promote it. She wanted to present her best image and she knew she had to get new eyewear to do that.
I’d helped her select glasses over a decade ago. Back then we chose a small hexagon metal frame.
Even though she knew me and trusted me, I felt sure this was going to be a challenge for her.
Making promises to my client before we started shopping
I was committed to serving her. I wanted her to get the attention she deserved and be viewed in every public appearance as the smart authority that she is.
Some of your clients may be totally thrilled at the idea of new eyewear but Denise was more introverted, traditional, and prudent.
So before we started, I asked her to sit down for a little chat. I told her what my expectations were. I had two of them.
You’re going to feel uncomfortable. I guarantee it. But I will be listening and watching your body language. I’ll support you and tell you what I think the message is of each frame. Your decision is the final decision.
At the same time as you’re feeling uncomfortable I fully trust that you’ll be able to see a frame on your face and say, “You know what? This makes me uncomfortable but there’s something here I really resonate with.” When that happens your discomfort will turn into excitement. Pay attention to how it feels in your gut as you try frames on.
Our process for eyewear selection
Erin and I proceeded to pull frames and try things on Denise. The very first frame was one we were all crazy about. She was excited. Erin and I were delighted. The optician was swooning. I joked that we were done here, we’d found the frame and we could all go home now.
But we kept going. In thirty minutes or so we came down to about five frames that were contenders. Among the group was one that was metal but in a great blue shade. A couple of them were cat eyes. One had some sparkly parts at the temples. One of them was quite arty and I’d told her, “Just try this on for fun.” When she did, I saw eyes dance as she looked at herself in the mirror. I was witnessing that moment I’d described to her, the one where she was equally uncomfortable but also excited.
Still, I thought that first frame we chose was going to the be one she walked out the door with.
The outdoor test for eyewear selection
We took the frames outside on a tray and I handed Denise a hand mirror. One by one we looked at each of them in the natural light. I had a plan. I arranged them on the tray so the last one she try on would be the first one we loved. I was building up to the big crescendo moment.
But there was no crescendo! That pair we loved so much from the beginning was looking dull outside. We eliminated it to the shock of all of us.
We reviewed the remaining four pairs of frames.
“Well, I’m thinking maybe I’ll get two pair,” she said. “Do you think that would be wise?”
I did. We went over the merits of the four frames one at a time.
What did she choose? The most far out one was her favorite. She got gleeful when she put them on and looked at herself. And the second pair was the cat eye frame that had sparkles at the temples. Those would be her everyday frames.
Exactly what I predicted happened. She experienced discomfort and she experienced excitement and resonance. We both trusted the process and she ended up with the frames that were perfect for her, ones I never could have guessed would her favorites.
Even I can be surprised at the results. But the process works and that’s what counts most.