How to Get More Facetime with Dentists

Previous in this series: How to Break Into Medical Device Sales

Dentists are tough prospects — they just don’t have the time to meet with sales reps between appointments. Your dentist has a tooth extraction, crown insertion, and cleaning to get done before lunch. He’s booked solid.

But if you’re not meeting with dentists, then you’re not selling.

As a dental rep, you need to be creative to get in front of your prospects. Each stage of the sales cycle is unique when it comes to dental sales. You have to initiate contact, qualify the lead, and present your offer all on a dentist’s schedule.

Get Your Foot in the Dentist’s Door

So, how do you meet with a busy person? You can schedule an appointment with her, or catch her during her down time. The same strategies apply to meeting with dentists, but what’s the best move?

Calling ahead can guarantee you get facetime with the dentist, but it’s also risky. Will someone answer the call? Will they hang up? Will your message ever reach your prospect?

And consider this: it’s easier to reject someone over the phone than in person.

Dentists might appreciate a conscientious call, but your manager won’t like how few meetings you’ve scheduled this way. To meet with more dentists, show up at their practices in person. You’re more likely to talk to your prospect if you’re already sitting in her waiting room.

You should drop by the practice during off-peak times. Luckily, like sports and weather, dentistry is seasonal. Or at least the industry has seasonality. Your dentist will be flooded with pediatric check-ups during back to school season. Winter is also busy because people want to use their expiring dental insurance in December. Or, they might want to test out their new insurance plans in January.  

Fall, spring, early summer, and early winter are less busy. The best days of the week to drop in are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Less appointments are scheduled for the middle of the day than in the morning.

So, you’re more likely to get facetime with a dentist at 1PM on a Friday in April than 9AM on Monday in August. Visit your prospect when her patients don’t.

Get a Dentist’s Appointment

Face the Gatekeeper

The first person you meet at the dentist’s office is either the receptionist or office manager. This person is your gatekeeper. He is crucial to the success of your sales cycle.

Your first impression on the gatekeeper will impact your chances of meeting the decision maker. Be professional, respectful, and kind. Sell yourself, not your product.

The receptionist is not interested in the technical capabilities of your dental implant. He cares if you’re an easy person to work with. After all, he will be seeing a lot of you as your sales cycle progresses. You can prove that you’re an easy-going person by getting to know the gatekeeper and even bringing the staff treats.

On the other hand, the office manager might be interested in your product’s specs. If it’s designed to optimize the business side of the practice, he can let you know if it’s a good fit. He may just end up being your champion for a business-oriented product like SaaS.

Face the Dentist

When you first meet the dentist, your main goal is to schedule a follow-up meeting. Dental sales deals are never closed after a single meeting. In fact, your first meeting with your prospect will probably be short. The dentist is busy and she isn’t sure if you’re worth her time.

A good way to hook the dentist is to create a brief, personalized, educational video for her to watch. You’ll make the most of your time by showing her that you’re genuinely interested in her practice. Email her the video after the meeting to keep your company fresh in her mind.

You should schedule a lunch-and-learn as your follow-up meeting. If you provide lunch, your prospect will have open ears. The relaxed environment of a lunch-and-learn is a great place to pitch your product and connect with your prospect on a personal level.

Sell the value of your product (and yourself) to the dentist.

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Turn the Dentist into a Customer

Now that you’ve met with your prospect a few times, it’s time to convert her into a valued customer. But how do you transform a dentist into a devotee? Align your product with what she values: patients, time, and profit.

All practices want to bring in more patients. How can your product help the dentist achieve this goal? Position your product as a simple solution for her continued efforts to attract more patients.

Then, after you sell the dentist on your product’s value, show off its technical capabilities. It’s always a good idea to let the dentist sample your product in a treatment case. Once your device is in her hands, she decides if she likes it or not.

But, you can sway her opinion if you sit in on the case. If you offer your expertise in the treatment room, you’ll prove that you’re also a valuable asset. Your role in the treatment room is strictly consultative, so you should make the most of it.

Use the Best Sales Tool for Meeting Dentists

Picking the least busy day at any given practice is easier said than done. Every practice runs on its own schedule. Some dentists are closed on Mondays while others work special hours on Thursdays. It’s also difficult to keep up with multiple sales cycles at once. How many times have you followed up with this client? Have you had a lunch and learn with that dentist yet?

When every deal hinges on details like these, you can’t rely on your memory alone. So, it’s a good idea to take advantage of sales technology. If you can automate a segment of your sales process, you can focus more on your clients.  

 Badger Maps is a mobile app that can tell you when to visit dentists and how often. 

The “Places” feature is a lead generation tool that collects every practices’ address, contact information, and hours. “Places” will help you find new dentists to sell to, and tell you exactly when they’re open. 

The “Visualize” feature will help you make your customer data more meaningful. If you filter by “Days Since Last Check-in,” you’ll be able to see which accounts need more attention. After all, success in dental sales is founded on strong relationships between reps and doctors.  

Next in this series: How to Advance Your Medical Device Sales Career

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