I guarantee you will be amazed at how easy it is to turn things around!
Let me start off by saying what I always have said and truly believe...most companies do a good job at training their salespeople in three areas: their company, their products, and their competitors. The PROBLEM is that the missing piece is: truly understanding the mindset of the dentist..why do they buy and what gets their attention?
- You are doing what everyone else does! Ok, I can go on and on about this, but let me start by saying that I have the opportunity to observe dozens of dental manufacturers at their annual sales meetings work their sales teams by having them do "role playing" exercises. (one is the dentist and the other is selling their products to them). While this generally "satisfies" everyone (reps, managers, and company executives), the honest truth is that rarely translates into anything (sales-wise) "out in the field". If I were to "close my eyes" and not "see" which company I am watching, I couldn't tell one company from the next. The role playing all sounds the same, and the people who "play the dentist" don't (and it's not their fault) come close to communicating the way it really is. The main problem is that companies and reps are basing their "pitch" on two things which are somewhat totally "unrelated" to one another: "Dentists are cheap" (and therefore we are going to get them by offering our "special") and "Let me tell you why our product is the best" (better than our competitor). This combination doesn't work for a bunch of reasons. Let's not even get into how every company also tries to "get past the gatekeeper", sell at trade shows, and do lunch and learns the same way. Even how you leave information and follow up is pretty much the same as the same competitors you are trying to distance yourselves from. Hello? This is SIMPLE to change. The cardinal rule of selling to dentists is: Understand how they think and do what the others don't. I can teach you how.
- Your marketing department doesn't understand their audience! Besides the fact (although very important and a topic to cover at a later date) that most mid to large sized dental companies have a serious "disconnect" (meaning they don't communicate) between the sales and marketing deparmtents when they should be in synch with their messages and objectives, here are some numbers to consider. I've done hundreds of surveys and evaluations on marketing campaigns. Let's just take a look at advertising in dental publications. Take Dental Economics. One issue may have dozens of full page ads from various manufacturers, dealers, consultants, etc. My latest survey shows that 73% of dentists READ only 1-3 ads per issue! How about this? I had 500+ dentists "rate" over 200 dental ads giving them a 1-10 ranking (10 meaning it's a great ad, and 1 meaning it's a poor ad). Only 12% of the ads scored a 7 or higher! Finally..this: When asked why they didn't read more ads, the top 3 answers/results were: 55% said nothing stood out about the ad, 24% said "they don't relate to my practice situation" and 11% said "they take up too much of my time". Thetranslation of these 3 top responses are: "there wasn't a message or headline that caught my attention (or they were boring), "it was about them and not about me", and "they are too confusing/busy" respectively. The end result: Tens (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars are being wasted because the marketing department doesn't "get" what turns a dentist on...what's important to them...what gets their attention. Let me ask you this...do you actually have a dental person look at your ads before you release them to the publications to use? If not, you should! How difficult is it to do that, and potentially SAVE tons of money and get double or triple the responses?
- You are hiring the wrong people! I also provide recruiting services and work directly with HR Directors, VP of Sales, and CEO's on a regular basis, and to be brutally honest, I'm amazed at the selections being made out there (and the process behind them). I'm also amazed at how many companies completely "rule out" certain "types" of people based on completely outdated philosophies. This is true when hiring reps all the way up to managerial and top leadership positions. Tons of people just "hop" around and get recycled from company to company because they have "sales experience". First and foremost, do they UNDERSTAND the industry and/or can they learn the industry (not your products)? Pushing aside these standardized personality profiles/tests being used ad nausem, do they have the right "attitude" to succeed? Dentistry is a unique field within health care, and selling/marketing to them is different. I can look at a team of 50 people, and within 10 minutes pick out who has it and who doesn't. I can also look at a bunch of candidates and do the same. You've heard the expression keep doing the same things and you'll get the same results. It's time for dental companies who have progressive and innovative product lines to HIRE along the same thinking that you put into developing new products...think a bit outside the box.