by Louis Malcmacher, DDS, FAGD
I think that those of you who know me would consider me a people person. I really do like people and being around them. What I would consider my personal pastime and hobby, though, is watching people. People-watching is so interesting because it gives me a good sense of what a person is really like.
I’ll tell you exactly what I mean. We are now coming off the big convention season that annually begins with the ADA in October and stretches all the way to the California Dental Association meeting at the end of April. What I love to do most at meetings is educate dentists and give a seminar; second on the list is walking around the dental trade floor and watching the different sales teams at each booth. You can learn a lot about what a company is like by watching its sales team at dental trade meetings.
Did you ever wonder why some booths are absolutely packed to the gills with dentists and their staffs while others can barely seem to entice anyone to stop by? Some of you will intuitively think, “Well, it’s probably the giveaways that attract people to the booth.” That is true - giveaways certainly do attract attention but, as you and I both know, the giveaways at dental conventions are few and far between these days, and usually require waiting in line for a while. Some of you reading this will think, “Well, it must be a new product that the company is introducing.” That certainly helps as well, as do convention specials and other things that can excite your dentist-customer. Some of you are even thinking, “Well, it must be the professional models that are attracting dentists to their booths.” You know, I don’t ever remember a time when we have had so many professional, attractive models walking around the dental trade floor. But I frequently see where even booths with these models sometimes can’t attract a crowd to the table to make an actual sale.
I’ll tell you the secret to success with a sales team at a dental trade show meeting - attitude. Are the members of your sales team people persons? And, even more so, are they dental people persons? Do they know how to talk and relate to dentists and their teams? If they don’t, then you will never have a successful sales team. Dentists are people, but just a little bit different than the average person. I train sales teams all the time on what is the right attitude to be able to relate to dentists and their office staff. It can make your company great or it can break your company.
People skills can be learned and taught to your sales team if they don’t already have these skills. I have worked with many sales teams to make this happen. Your salespeople need to know how to talk to a dentist - and that is different than talking to a hygienist, which is also much different than talking to a dental assistant. I have worked with many companies as to the right way to talk to dentists and their teams through roleplay and other interactive techniques. If your dental sales teams can then acquire dental people skills, your company will be that much closer to success.
Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an internationally known lecturer, consultant, and author known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher has served as a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry and is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the American Dental Association. He works closely with dental manufacturers as a clinical researcher in developing new products and techniques, and has had extensive experience training sales teams. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy doing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice management. His group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988.