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. Amazon.com 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