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Connecting with your customers

March 1, 2010
I had the privilege of training two great sales teams this year. One of the main themes that I teach in sales training is how to understand the dental customer as a dentist and a person.

By Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD

I had the privilege of training two great sales teams this year. One of the main themes that I teach in sales training is how to understand the dental customer as a dentist and a person. To do that, you need to learn how to connect with dental professionals quickly and easily. Here are a few ideas regarding 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.

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 how others perceive you. Without a positive attitude, your demeanor becomes borderline or unacceptable. Positive attitude needs to be there all the time, in the background, as fuel to run your engine of life, without toxic emissions. Do you expect to have a positive attitude if you do not do something positive in the morning every day?

Project your self-image in a way that breeds confidence in others

Your handshake and dress are important indicators of your self-image. Projected image creates first impressions. And even though first impressions are not always correct, they are the ones that stick with the other person until corrected. What is the image that you have of yourself? What kind of image do you think you project? Is that image acceptable to those with whom you want to connect? Do you have a great smile?

No connection is made without some form of risk

Dare yourself to 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 was over? 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 sign of your own self-respect and trustability.

Make eye contact. It’s not only a display of confidence, but also a display of truth and respect for the other person. Do you find it easy to make eye contact? Do you find it a sign of distrust and disrespect when others do not make eye contact with you?

Don’t talk only dentistry

I walked around the recent Chicago Midwinter Meeting and all the salespeople wanted to do at so many of the booths was “sell me.” One of the best compliments I received at the sales meeting was from a salesperson named Diane at Hu-Friedy. I had just trained that sales force last month, and Diane told me that she was now taking the time to understand her dentists and hygienists first, and that went a long way in building the relationship. We all talk about doing that, but very few dental salespeople really internalize it.

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.

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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,

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