by Louis Malcmacher, DDS, FAGD
Your customer dentists have many educational opportunities available today, more than ever before. These continuing-education courses consist of a variety of methods - lectures, DVDs, computer animations, and hands-on participation workshops. There is always a debate in dentistry as to which educational approach is the best way to teach dentists how to properly use your products. There is no question that all of these venues have value. Most people would agree that hands-on participation workshops for general dentists are certainly one of the best methods available. The reason for this is because dentists are very hands-on people. They like fidgeting with the latest technologies, composite resins, bonding agents, and veneers. Participation workshops are generally more engaging to the audience, so the learning experience is more profound because the attendee is participating and learning at the same time. I have helped develop a number of hands-on workshops for different dental companies over the past few years, and they have generally met with tremendous success.
I have also found that this exact same technique of participation workshops has worked very well in training sales and marketing teams of dental companies. I have presented at national sales team meetings and have worked with a number of dental companies over the past years, doing hands-on workshops with sales and marketing people so that they better understand the materials they are trying to sell. One of the more popular parts of my presentation to sales teams has been role-playing a sales visit to the dental office. I play the dentist, and I believe I do a very good job of that because I am a living, breathing, practicing dentist. I like to put some of the sales team members through various scenarios that can happen in a dental office at any given time. It’s important for the sales team to know how to handle situations that arise in a dental office, what the dentist’s and team members’ interests are, what the distractions are at any given time, and who the important players are in the office. Most importantly, the presentation is hands-on, so the group is never bored. The teams learn some valuable lessons from each other as to how to approach different types of dentists.
There is no question that many mundane things must be covered at regional and national sales meetings - fiscal responsibility, budgeting, advertising, marketing, direction of the company, etc. But there is no reason that your sales and marketing team shouldn’t be having a great time at the meeting as well as experiencing a bond with each other so that your team can grow together. After being told time and again that my hands-on, interactive, role-playing workshop for sales and marketing teams has been the highlight of national and regional sales meetings, I know that this method not only works for dentists, but it can also work for your next big national sales meeting.
Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an internationally known lecturer, consultant, and author known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher has served as a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry and is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the American Dental Association. He works closely with dental manufacturers as a clinical researcher in developing new products and techniques, and has had extensive experience training sales teams. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy doing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice management. His group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988.