I had the privilege of training five great sales teams this year. One of the main themes that I teach in sales training is understanding the dental customer as a dentist and a person. To do that, you need to be able to learn how to connect with dental professionals quickly and easily. Here are a few ideas as to how to make that important first and long-lasting connection:
Be friendly first, and everything else falls into place. Friendly breeds likability and trust. People do business with people they like and trust. The twin of “friendly” is “smiley.” People who smile are 100 times more attractive than people who don’t. Smiling not only sets the tone for others, it’s the reflection you give them about who you are and how you think. By the way, smiles are our business — if you have a great smile, that will go far with your dental customers. What do your teeth look like? You are in the dental business, so make sure you have a great smile!
Your consistent positive attitude will breed positive responses and positive results. Everyone knows it’s important to have a positive attitude. Very few people understand how important a role it plays in the way you communicate and the way others perceive you. Without a positive attitude, your demeanor becomes borderline or unacceptable. Positive attitude needs to always be there, in the background, as fuel to run your engine of life, without toxic emissions. Do you expect to have a positive attitude if you are not doing something positive in the morning every day?
Project your self-image in a way that breeds confidence from others. Your handshake and dress is an important indicator of your self-image. Projected image creates first impressions. Even though first impressions are not always correct, they are the ones that stick in the mind of other people. What is the image you have of yourself? What kind of image do you think you project? Is that image acceptable to those with whom you seek to connect? Do you have a great smile?
No connection is made without some form of risk. Dare yourself and take the risk to make the connection. You can lower your risk tolerance and risk barrier by being prepared, having self-confidence, and projecting the image to take a short walk out on a thick limb to make the next connection. Have you ever taken a risk and succeeded? Didn’t it seem like less of a risk after the event than before you were willing to take it? Ask yourself why you’re avoiding the risk rather than simply making an excuse about it.
Your ability to look someone in the eye as you speak to him or her is a telltale sign of your own self respect and trustability. Make eye contact. It’s not only a display of confidence; it’s a display of truth and a display of respect for the other person. Do you find it easy to make eye contact? Do you find it as a sign of distrust and disrespect when others do not make eye contact with you?
Don’t only talk dentistry. I walked around at a recent dental meeting and at so many of the booths, all the salespeople wanted to do was “sell me.” One of the best compliments I received at the sales meeting was from Diane, a salesperson at Hu-Friedy. I had just trained that sales force earlier this year and she told me that she was now taking the time to understand her dentists and hygienists first and that it went a long way in building the relationship. We all talk about doing that but very few dental salespeople really internalize it.
What’s the bottom line? Find out what other interests your dentist customers have and talk to them about that. Let them know you see them as real people and not just customers. A little observation on your part goes a long way in connecting quickly and efficiently.
Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a general and cosmetic dentist located in Bay Village, Ohio. He is also an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates as well as a consultant to the dental industry. Dr. Malcmacher speaks to thousands of dental professionals every year, so he has very unique insight into the dental market and how to interact with the dental customer. For the last 25 years, he has intensively trained sales teams and done marketing consulting with dental companies. Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or [email protected]. He offers a free e-mail newsletter for dental company representatives, which you can sign up for at his Web site, www.commonsensedentistry.com.