Friday, May 16, 2014

Thoughts on Salespeople

Salespeople. I prefer not to deal with them. I realize similar things have been said about dentists, and in a way we kind of are salespeople, as much as most of us hate being labeled with this stereotype. The ones that we all encounter on a regular basis are company reps that show up at the office (often uninvited) to showcase their products and services. On one hand, I understand that they are just doing their jobs, trying to earn a living like you and I. On the flip side, I cannot understand why in this day and age, with the Internet and all, that dental companies do not invest more in upgrading their websites and streamlining the supply order process, eliminating the middleman (or woman) all together.

In most dental offices, the office manager or the assistants take care of the day-to-day supply orders. If there is something new that I would like to try out, I will usually purchase it at a conference or let my assistant know to add it to the next order. It is extremely rare that a sales rep will convince me to try something new that I have not heard about yet from a colleague, used in a CE course or read about online.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is some value is communicating with a knowledgeable salesperson. When I am at a dental meeting, I take time to visit the booths of companies I like and check out any new products they may have recently launched. Most of the time, they are extremely knowledgeable. Presenting me with all the information is helpful when I need to make a decision about purchasing a product. What I find extremely annoying is when these sales reps try to aggressively contact me after I speak to them by calling my office and lying to the receptionist. Take a hint: I was not interested in the first place!

Our dental company supply rep typically comes in once a month to check in and make sure we are all stocked up on gauze and saliva ejectors. She usually has some new products that her company is promoting. Most dentists have little free time to talk to the reps during the workday, so the staff is stuck doing it. But they have important tasks they need to be doing as well, so is this really an efficient use of their time?

Much of my viewpoint on this subject likely has to do with my age. is my best friend; I order just about everything I can on the Internet, from shoes to groceries. In my opinion, it is just a much better use of my time. The technology is there, why not use it? If I need to see something in person, I will drop by the store at my leisure and check it out first. But these days, since many online retailers conveniently offer free shipping and returns, there is rarely a reason to do so. What do the rest of you think? Would you rather give up the salespeople visiting your office all together and just rely on the Internet, or do you look forward to their office visits?

Enjoy the weekend!

Lilya Horowitz, DDS

1 comment:

DianaNguyenDDS said...

Lilya, you made so many great points in this post! I don't know if you've ever experienced this before, but as an associate in the practice I work at now, I've found that a lot of sales reps start off being overly pushy and pretend to want to "help" me by offering me samples of products... but as soon as they find out that I don't own the practice or make major purchasing decisions, they make it clear that they have no interest in building a relationship with me. What kind of shoddy business acumen is that? I recently went to a dental event sponsored by one of the supply companies our office regularly orders from and ran into the sales rep responsible for our region - someone who probably visits our office every few weeks and has seen me over ten times - and not only did she have no idea who I was, but she completely ignored me when I said hello! What if I was on the brink of setting up my own practice and shopping around to find a company to help me start my business? I get that the reps are just focused on the bottom line - making the sale - and they don't want to waste their time on someone who may not be in a position to help them meet their monthly goals, but the whole point of sending a human to the office to pitch a product rather than a paper catalogue in the mail is so the doctors and staff can establish a good rapport with someone whom we believe we can trust to support us and provide us with the products or services we need to achieve financial success. If a sales rep can't figure out how to do this respectfully and gracefully, then I'm with you - I'll make my orders online!


PLEASE NOTE: When commenting on this blog, you are affirming that any and all statements, and parts thereof, that you post on “The Daily Grind” (the blog) are your own.

The statements expressed on this blog to include the bloggers postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nor do they imply endorsement by the AGD.