Sales. Never have I encountered a word more disliked. Walk into a dental office and tell them you are there to sell something and everyone scatters like you have the plague, leaving that one poor soul who couldn’t avoid eye contact fast enough, to fend off the sales rep. with traditional gatekeeper techniques. It always brings a smile to my face when I am greeted with open arms as Dr. Baker, only to be rebuffed seconds later when I state I am the owner of DPG. Assuming sales reps. have the best interest of practices at heart, we then must consider why sales is such an ugly word? Perhaps it is the time a sales call takes away from the day. Perhaps it is a bad past experience. Perhaps it is lack of name recognition. Perhaps it is a fear of exploring change. By far and away, the number one reason I have heard over the last 14 years is, “I don’t sell anything…I am a doctor!”
These eight words seem so passive yet describe a scenario that is all too common in dentistry. This mentality at best slows personal growth and at worst does not provide patients with the best available treatment modalities. Consider how fast dentistry changes. Todays techniques are rapidly evolving. Competitive pressures between companies create innovation. Innovation equals improved patient care and outcomes. Let’s explore this concept through an ongoing evolution in orthodontia. Traditional braces that often take several years to achieve full correction have evolved into short term ortho solutions, which in many cases now take six months to achieve results. Companies like Six Month Smiles® have even figured out how to provide rotational torque, allowing treatment of cases previously left to traditional methods and at 1/3rd the cost of traditional ortho. These type of advances improve patient compliance as well as the patient’s experience, thereby facilitating increased referrals every time a patient is given a compliment.
Do patients deserve to know the most recent advances in dentistry, when making decisions regarding their individual treatment plans? Do we owe it to them to provide options regardless of personal preferences? When does offering only one recommended product or service become tendentious? When did providing choices to our patients alter our effectiveness as doctors?
Consider my personal story. In 2011, my dentist of 10 years engaged me at 39 years old regarding my smile. I can still hear him ask, “Are you happy with the way your smile looks? What would you improve?”…I had always considered braces and wanted to ask every time I went to the dentist. My fear of a painful and costly experience prohibited me from doing so for 10 years. On this day, my dentist discussed a product with me called Invisalign. He showed me before and after cases and in the end I left as an Invisalign user. Today, when my dentist asks, “Do you like the way you smile looks?”…I can smile and answer with confidence, “yes”. I receive compliments on a weekly basis. In fact, I found the woman of my dreams through eHarmony. When asked, “what was it about me that you liked?”…..she stated, “I fell in love with your smile!”….Imagine if my dentist never took the time to meet with that rep. and learn a new technique? Imagine if he never took the time to educate me on a new product? I for one am grateful he did!
To learn more about Six Month Smiles® please click here to attend a free one hour webinar on Tuesday, August 19th from 7-8 PM EST, which includes 1 CE credit:
Dr. Daniel C. Baker is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Dental Purchasing Group, LLC and can be reached via: DCB@DentalPurchasingGroup.com