By Kevin Henry, Editor
Te following is an interview with Tim Sullivan, president of Henry Schein Dental. The interview took place at the recent Greater New York Dental Meeting, and I asked him about a new initiative by Henry Schein that acknowledges the nation’s recent economic struggles.
Sullivan has been president of Henry Schein Dental since 2004, and served as executive vice president of Sullivan-Schein Dental from 1997 to 2004.
Proofs: Your company recently launched a new campaign specifically targeted to help practitioners through the current economic struggles. Tell me a little about it.
Sullivan: Our goal at Henry Schein is to help our customers through this challenging time when many dental practices are struggling. In response, we’ve changed much of the focus at our booth. We introduced our “sharpen your practice” campaign during the ADA session to help dental practices become more profitable and efficient, and we continue to provide our sales force with the best training in the industry to help dentists reach those goals. These two facets — a knowledgeable and committed sales team and the right products and services at this extraordinary time — are how Henry Schein Dental will differentiate ourselves in 2009.
We encourage practitioners to invest in their practices because investing in yourself is the best ROI available. Especially now, marketing a dental practice effectively is essential in reaching your existing patient base and potential new patients. We can help the dental team in this area with such things as booking reappointments and dropping reminders to patients, and this is just one area in which we will focus our efforts.
Proofs: What is the main message you’re trying to tell your customers?
Sullivan: Our primary message to our customers is that it is not business as usual anymore. We are committed to helping our customers through these tough times by becoming relevant as a partner in building their practice, now more than ever before.
Proofs: Tell me about your theme for the year — “We Can Do That.”
Sullivan: We ushered in a new era of career development at our company beginning in 2000. Since that time, our sales team has undergone extensive training, which we continue to implement. Our theme for the year is “We Can Do That.” We are listening to practitioners describe the challenges they face and helping them find solutions to those problems. We can help with everything from building team harmony to improving patient flow. At the ADA session, 140 dentists filled out a “help card” at our booth and we contacted them the following week. When we learn where they are struggling, we can present them with an effective practice treatment plan.
We have a comprehensive offering of products and services, but we don’t want to just “sell stuff.” We want to understand each individual practice’s challenges, and then provide the right products and services that meet that practitioner’s unique needs. Even though the dental market will probably be less affected by the recession than many other sectors, this is still a time when individualized attention and tailored solutions will be essential.
We are doing simple things like showing the dental team how to fix their own maintenance problems. We are introducing new technologies to help practices run more smoothly. We are doing everything possible to partner with our customers now when they need help to improve their practices. By doing these things, we are confident that our customers and our company will navigate these challenging times successfully together and emerge in a strong position when it is over.