Exhibiting at dental meetings are a BIG investment with a lot at stake. While I am sure you’ll agree they are not the buying frenzy they used to be, trade shows are still an excellent way to generate sales, win new customers and practice selling skills.
Each week, we get on a treadmill grinding it out Monday through Friday and rarely step back to reflect, “What got done?” or consider “Will what got done get me where I want to go?” Now is a great time to take stock, evaluate what’s working, what’s not and adopt a few new edits to our routine that will lead us closer to results that matter.
In this episode of The Dental Industry Insider Podcast, I’ll introduce you to a simple process that will make the most of your time and talent to boost your personal productivity.
You’ll gain greater clarity on results received, lessons learned and ensure nothing falls through the cracks on follow up. This simple ritual could quite literally 10x your results every single week!
Grab a copy of the FREE Results Review Recap to lead you closer to reaching your goals and the rewards they deliver.
Winning and keeping the attention of dentists to consider a new product is tougher and more expensive than it’s ever been. Marketers and sales professionals have had to get very creative to get their foot in the door and most efforts crash and burn.
We’ve made it our business for the past 25 years to get inside of the mind of the dentist. Our intent was to understand their needs, wants and expectations for products they buy, what they continue to use and the people and companies they choose to do business with. The data allows us to bring fresh timely insights and customer intelligence to our clients—dental manufacturers and distributors who want to do better, serve better and forge stronger relationships with the practitioners they serve.
Until recently, our research results about dentists have been reserved for our private clients. Now, we are going public with the good stuff—and you have as much to gain as our clients who have created impressive results using it. Apparently, it really is true—when you know better—you do better. It is my privilege to share this information with you this platform, The Dental Industry Insider.
Dentists, like other consumers, use very specific criteria for making buying decisions. By aligning your marketing and sales efforts with why consumers buy, you automatically elevate your impact, influence and results. We know why dentists buy. And, in this episode, Understanding the Buyer Desire of a Dentist we share the exact factors they consider importance when buying anything.
The information inside this program will pay on going returns over and over to boost your effectiveness marketing to the Dental community. We’ve included practical action steps both marketing and sales teams can take to ensure your entire sales process is covered on both ends.
One last thing, I ran a little experiment to check out how a few promotional pieces compared to the important motivators we’ve uncovered and the results, to be honest, kind of blew me away! I didn’t expect to find what I found. [I think it will raise your eyebrows, as well!]. Check out the results for FREE by downloading The Dental Advertisement Analysis, it features 21 recent ads in two popular dental journals.
Given the dynamic changes occurring in the dental industry and business today, managers face the complex challenge to adapt and succeed in an ever-evolving workplace.
Businesses of all sizes are facing a leadership gap. Baby Boomers are off to retirement and Millennials already fill more than 34 percent of the workforce. This dramatic shift in experience brings an important change in culture and employee expectations.
Organizations are struggling to develop their leaders at a fast-enough pace. According to The American Society of Training and Development, businesses spend more than $170 billion dollars on leadership training to build a strong front line for today and stabilize themselves for the tomorrow.
Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want to Miss:
- What are the differences between a leader and a manager?
- Critical competencies that exemplify a leader
- How to really know if you have what it takes
FREE Leadership Assessment Offer:
Click on the image below to continue to the Podcast
For the past two decades in my work as a sales coach, I have witnessed hundreds of product presentations and attempts to influence dental consumers. Each year, we gather feedback from clinical professionals about their buying habits and the qualities they look for in the people and companies they buy from. The results indicate, there are several common ways representatives unknowingly hurt themselves when selling to dentists.
Dental professionals make buying decisions differently than typical consumers or fellow healthcare providers. And, when reps understand how their customer want to buy, their influence and value improves and sales increase. For your benefit, I have summarized three of the most common mistakes made selling to dentists and their staff.
PRESCRIPTION BEFORE DIAGNOSIS IS MALPRACTICE
Dental offices are busy with limited time for unexpected interruptions and unplanned meetings from salespeople. Reps know they need to get to the point and purpose of their call quickly. For most reps, that translates to jumping into a memorized product presentation of features and benefits. Salespeople rationalize this ‘short cut’ approach by getting to the ‘meat’ of their message thinking it demonstrates respect for the clinician’s time. Unfortunately, most dentists see it as an informative distraction. In medical terms, most reps offer a prescription before a relevant diagnosis is ever made.
Salespeople would be much more effective in their results if they first asked a few ‘diagnostic’ or qualifying questions. Effective diagnostic questions strategically uncover key pain points by exposing limitations in the product being used now. They also reveal valuable insights about a prospect’s critical needs, wants and expectations for buying. More importantly, well crafted questions will lead prospects to consider their reasons why they might switch to a new product. This simple approach seems ridiculously obvious why and how it positively improves sales, yet, so few representatives do it. We have coached hundreds of salespeople to adopt this technique (using our proprietary I.D.E.A. ApproachTM sales model) and their results improved significantly.
OVERLY FOCUSED ON PRICE & PROFIT
Most reps learn early on, “selling is a numbers game”. And, it makes sense when salespeople are hyper focused on numbers because their compensation and career depend on it. Another common mistake reps make, is to assume dentists share the same money motivation (price and profit) for buying. As a result, finance focused sales presentations are missing what matters most to clinical providers, lowering the likeliness of earning an order.
Healthcare consumers are interested at getting good value for their purchases but do not buy based primarily on money matters. The majority of dentists practicing today make buying decisions based on how it will advance their ability to improve patient outcomes. This includes a better cosmetic result, stronger restoration, provide safer treatment delivered faster with more comfort. This means, to attract interest and increase influence and ultimately win approval for an order, healthcare sales professionals must prioritize patient care over price or profit in their presentations.
To do this, seek to understand where the clinical challenges are in using their current product. Ask questions to uncover specific limitations in how a product is used, delivered, performs, lasts or impacts safety. Then use strong product knowledge to describe your product’s exact clinical advantages over what they are using now. Concisely describe how patient care is more comfortable, safer, faster, stronger or cosmetically better than any product they’ve seen.
As a dental hygienist, the best sales secret I can offer is that most healthcare professionals buy for the same reason they entered the industry and that is to help people. Salespeople who focus on and work to improve the quality of patient care their customers provide will be richly rewarded with higher credibility, faster trust and better sales.
POSITION PRODUCT AS A SOLUTION
When discussing their product or service, salespeople typically describe the same set of product features and benefits. As if, the prospect is expected to hear something to grab their interest and then buy. Unfortunately, this approach ends up sounding like a canned sales spiel. And, requires the prospect, not familiar with your product advantages, must figure out how their procedures, processes and patients will benefit. This is not exactly the customer focused service any buyer desires or deserves.
Every customer believes they and their situation is unique. Generically reciting features and benefits as a sales presentation undermines the very results reps are attempting to achieve. So, positioning your product or service to prescriptively address buyer needs, wants or desires will always be more effective than a generic sales spiel.
Offering a solid product recommendation that improves or resolves client challenges is the very essence of consultative selling. And, according to hundreds of healthcare buyers, an approach they are craving to receive. Most dental reps would become much more consultative if more focused on positioning their offer to improve a buyer’s current situation. Even if the doctor doesn’t yet know it can be improved. That’s where effective qualifying questions, good product knowledge and a powerful sales process make a big impact.
We have developed a template of ‘Diagnostic Questions’ for uncovering how any product or service can be beau-tifully positioned as a solution. This sales tool has been field tested and fine-tuned to work well with dental and healthcare consumers. You can have it for FREE by downloading it here. [Diagnostic Questions Template]
As August begins, we’ve officially entered into the second half of this year. And, it will seem like the blink of an eye before we are exchanging holiday gifts, eating too much and making New Year resolutions. The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. With a little prioritizing and planning, there is still time to meet or beat your annual goals.
Mid-year is an excellent annual milestone to check in. This is done best when we take a pause to look…really look at where we are directing our time and talents and the results we are creating. A good process for self-reflection includes four steps. They are: Reflect, Re-evaluate, Recalibrate, Recommit. Use it to elevate your perspective and verify you are on track, moving forward and progressing toward the results that are most important to you.
As we begin to feel the sand slip through our hands and see life picking up speed, it is tempting to get busy being busy. But first, take some time to ensure you are headed in the right direction. Don’t mistake movement for achievement.
To ensure you are progressing in ways that matter most to you, consider each life dimension including Health, Intellectual, Financial, Career, Spiritual, Family and Social. Even if you have not focused or planned a goal for each area, you will gain valuable clarity by reflecting on these questions:
- What is working for me, right now?
- What accomplishments am I most proud of?
- What is my status in each area of life?(Health, Intellectual, Financial, Career, Spiritual, Family and Social)
Your priorities aren’t what you say they are; they are expressed by how you live. It is far to easy to fall into the trap of habit without examining the resulting risks or rewards. Challenge status quo—it may be uncomfortable but necessary to tap into your potential. Consider where you desire or require change or improvement by asking:
- What is demanding more time and attention than is truly important to me?
- What area(s) needs greater energy or attention?
- What do I really want to accomplish by the end of this year?
Give yourself permission to edit and shift your priorities. Since it is probably not realistic to work on every life dimension simultaneously, focus in areas of greatest importance then stay hyper focused there.
What gets measured gets done. Goals and renewed commitment are important but until you identify exactly what success looks like, you may miss it when it arrives. A lot of people and professionals miss defining metrics that matter. They reason, “I’ll know it when I see it!” which is really just a poor excuse for not setting clear ways to measure progress. Keep it simple by asking yourself:
- How will I measure or recognize success?
- What methods will I use?
“Motivation Gets You Going…and Habits Get You There”
—— Zig Zigler
Now is the time to double down on doing. Identify new or recommit to the steps and rituals that will lead you to the results you desire. If this feels overwhelming or nebulous, try this exercise. Take out a blank sheet of paper and do a thought download to list all of the incremental steps or actions needed to achieve your goal.
Don’t let your brain tell you that you don’t know how or that you need more information. Exercise your innate creativity to find options. Make reaching your goals a must. You are your only limit. It is a good idea to complete this exercise in two sessions on separate days. Your brain will work on options even though you may not be consciously thinking about it. The second pass at ideas is usually easier and yields the best results.
Commitment is sticking to what you said you’d do long after early excitement has left you. Add lift and sticking power to progress toward your goals by keeping your WHY top of mind. Recommit to your results by focusing on your reasons behind your goals for sustained enthusiasm and focus.
Time may continue to fly by, but ultimately you control the shadow your impact creates. A mid-year check in and checkup, provides a new view of the daily efforts and results they shape. This shift in perspective along with a willingness to trade routine and habit for what works better is how success is won.
The idea Try It Before You Buy It has grown to become a common customer expectation. Most consumers expect to sample a product prior to purchasing to take the risk out of buying. Yet, sampling as a sales strategy in healthcare has all but vanished.Gone are the days where clinical providers strain to carry sacks full of trial products from trade shows or shuffle the samples that once stuffed their shelves. Where have all the freebies gone?
Considering fewer than half of all samples distributed are ever tried, they are an easy target to eliminate in an effort to reduce costs. But this approach may be costing you and your firm millions in potential sales. Sampling still remains the single best way to create brand experience and tee up sales like nothing else!
It’s about time healthcare reconsider their sampling policies and tap into what other industries already know.The advantages and benefits of letting prospects try before they buy considerably outweighs the effort and expense required. With a few changes in strategy and tactic, your sampling response rates will improve considerably while you advance your sales and marketing goals by following these ideas:
There is no brand more closely associated with sampling success than COSTCO. “When we compare it to other mediums … in-store product demonstration has the highest [sales] lift,” says Giovanni DeMeo of demo company Interactions, which handles Costco’s sampling program. “Giving out free samples has boosted sales in some cases by 2,000 percent.” To illustrate how sampling influences customer-purchasing behavior,Datalogix research revealed, sampled households were 4x more likely to purchase than the control group. That is,four times as many people purchased than those who did not receive a sample. Unit sales within the sample group also showed a 700% increase in purchases.Sampling programs work exceptionally well for healthcare if executed using the right approach.
Set Your Sample Strategy
Clarify Your Goals
The purpose of sampling is to create a positive brand experience resulting in a sale. Too often samples are distributed as part of a half-baked plan. Sales and customer service people are given a cursory supply of grip stock in hopes they will convert into sales.A trial offer can serve as both an effective marketing tactic and powerful sales tool. Consider a few ways sampling will advance your promotional objectives:
- Reaches a new target segment
- Expands lateral product use
- Builds value and maintains price integrity
- Demonstrates superior brand performance
- Interrupts competitive brand loyalty
- Exposescustomer insights
- Drives traffic to new market platforms or promotional programs
- Overcomes low consumer confidence or unfavorable brand image
A productive sampling strategy requires clarity on expected outcomes, focus on a target audience and a straight forward execution plan. Our firm created sampling protocols for several dental companies aimed at selling to dentists and hygienists using this approach.Their results were impressive, considerably exceeding industry averages.
Monitor Metrics & Methods
A definitive sampling strategy can yield triple digit product trial rates increasing sales considerably. To realize the full potential of sampling, both sales and marketing objectives must be clearly defined. This includes Identifying specific metrics to track progress and verify if goals were met. Some ways to measure results include:
- total sample requests
- coupon redemption rate
- surveys completed
- clicks to view offer
- user feedback received
- sales conversion rate
- total new customers acquired
- total sales generated
Narrow Your Niche
Use your sampling strategy goals todefine yourtarget audience. If your goal is to expand customer reach, it isbetter to focus on specific market segmentsor demographics where your product has sold successfully. If you wish to appeal to new users, those who have never purchased your product before, identify subcategories by specialty, location or age. It is tempting to want to ‘expand your net’ but, sampling success is achieved by narrowing your scope.
Conditions that Qualify
There are specific conditions proven to set sampling up for greater success. For example, food samples have greater conversion rates around hungry prospects than those who are not. Consider when your target audience may be more receptive and more likely to buy.Then position your offer to capitalize on these opportunities.
Trial conversions are highest when sampled products are used immediately upon receipt. This is why educational events with hands on instruction are excellent sampling environments to promote sales.And, trade shows typically deliver lower conversion rates because of the long lapse between receipt and their use.
Sales reps will enjoy higher sales conversions by assisting buyers to identify a case where the sample can be used. This technique establishes a higher sense of urgency for use and allows sooner experience product advantages. Even more valuable, representatives now have an invaluable follow up opportunity to solicit user feedback and ask for an order.
Sampling is always the next best alternative to selling.Yet, medical and dental consumers are more receptive to trying new products at the following times:
- When an order is placed, offer a complementary sample
- When a prospect expresses or implies a performance need, want or expectation
- When product praise or success story is shared
- During an educational session
- After an attempt at closing has been rejected
Timing is Everything
How effectively samples are positioned in selling scenarios significantly impacts how well they generate sales. One of the biggest mistakes representatives make is offering samples as an afterthought or ‘throw in’ after presenting another product. As if the sample will sell itself! Products or services sold or sampled in any sales scenario should always serve as a prescribed remedy to a buyers stated or implied need.Reps must be trained to position products as solutions in their sales process. This is done by skillful blending qualifying questions with solid product knowledge.
Words that Work
Representatives who ask for orders prior to offering samples make more sales. Therefore, the closing sequence used has a big impact on sales outcome. Ideally, a sample would only be offered after asking prospects to buy. Most companies have generous return policies providing the same no risk protection as sampling—but better. Asking for an order before sampling is a better option because buyers will gain experience using the product and enjoy its benefits sooner. And, customer’s who buy before they try gain greater product appreciation and enjoy its value sooner.
Fruitful Follow Up
- 44% of salespeople give up after one follow up
- 80% of sales require five follow ups…or more
These sobering stats expose huge sales opportunity for any rep on the planet.Big money is being left on the table every day. To help, we’ve created a sampling follow up protocol shown to boost sales to triple digits.Here’s how it works:
When a prospect agrees to try a sample, representatives would follow up to obtain an order at a later time. The problem is, most prospects are not typically available after the sample is tried. This causes sales from sampling to plummet. It is important to keep in mind, most clinical providers are accustomed to giving feedback in exchange for services received or access to product demos. Therefore, representatives who schedule follow up feedback meetings at the time a sample is provided enjoy an impressive 78% increase in sales made from samples. This compares to the current industry standard of only 4%. We’ve included some word tracks in a FREE Sampling for Higher Sales Cheat Sheet HERE.
Customers buy long before they pay.Sampling as a much bigger impact than simply selling a product. They provide a chance for buyers to experience your brand of service, tech support, product knowledge and customer care. So, don’t be so short-sighted and stingy when it comes to letting customers try before they buy.When positioned appropriately,sampling will boost sales to expand new users and deliver long-term loyal customers. To achieve true sales potential, sometimes a brand needs to lead by a sample. If your company’s sampling results could use a boost, call us, we can help. 800-471-2619
 SOURCE: The Marketing Donut
Perhaps, you too have assumed sales training was little more than a black hole that consumes a lot of budget and delivers very little in return. Realizing a better return on your training investment is indeed possible. The following ideas and insights will offer new ways to get sales training to boost both performance and profits!
Behavior is influenced by the skills that support it along with the results expected. Training outcome is a direct function of a quality intake. That is, the better your skills and performance expectations are understood, the more training can be directed to improve those areas. The more accurately your needs are assessed, the better your training efforts address those needs, the greater the return on your training investment.
Grey Goals Beget Grey Results
Start first by clarifying your reasons for conducting training. This may sound obvious, but too often development initiatives are launched without identifying how performance is expected to change and how results will be specifically measured. Quality planning can make a considerable difference on the return training actually delivers.
Consider these common objectives as you clarify your sales training goals:
- Increase Product Knowledge
- Strengthen Company Knowledge
- Clarify Performance Expectations
- Improve Sales Skills
- Develop Teamwork and Morale
In training, and in medicine, the prescription is only as good as the diagnosis. To maximize your investment, avoid generic programs and opt for those that build on the unique strengths and skills of your team. Generic programs offer generic short term results. Training tailored to meet your specific sales objectives by leveraging the unique strengths of your sales team provide the best sustained improvements for long-term productivity and ROI.
What Gets Measured Gets Managed
With today’s modern technology, sales knowledge and selling skills can be calibrated and assessed with a high degree of accuracy. After almost three decades of measuring sales talent for dental companies, we continue to observe a close correlation between the sales acumen of representatives and their overall performance. Assessment data provides valuable direction for designing and developing an effective sales training program that drive predictable outcomes.
Ask the following clarifying questions as part of your training planning efforts:
- What are our strongest skills and where are we underdeveloped?
- Is our sales performance consistent with our skills assessment?
- What skill improvement strategy will meet or exceed our sales objectives?
- What do we expect the short and long term returns on this effort?
- What investments are we willing to make to achieve these objectives?
Getting Training to Stick
People forget about 75% of what they hear in approximately 24 hours. That’s the bad news. The good news is that learning and retention can be dramatically improved if training is positioned to serve the individual needs and interests of its recipients. Changes in performance are the result of greater clarity on results expected, stronger skills and consistent reinforcement of applied learning methods.
There are several important considerations to increase retention:
Relevance: Does training content and techniques apply your customers, and your product in your selling situations? Training customization has a direct impact on how often reinforcement tools and concepts are used and applied by reps. To ensure your team will welcome the tools and techniques you offer—make sure they are not only real-world and have been proven successful in their world.
Frequency: How often concepts and ideas are reinforced has a direct impact on their tendency to become habits. The old cliché is true, ‘what gets reinforced—gets repeated’. Providing frequent opportunities to remember and apply key ideas from any training program is the best way to improve retention.
The frequency and relevancy of training methods will determine how well reps use and apply new concepts and skills. Reinforced skills and techniques will lead to lasting habits and ultimately improved performance over time.
Convenience: Using learning reinforcement tools and techniques is like a gym—it must be convenient to be used. For example, audio programs make good use of ‘windshield time’ for field sales reps, while mini learning modules are perfect for busy telesales and customer service representatives.Convenient follow up methods reinforce learning and positively impact improvements in behavior and productivity.
Apply these proven principles with your sales team or find a training partner experienced to help you implement them. Bigger and better performance is possible with a strong strategy and a tailored approach proven to work.
Take the first step in realizing your true sales potential with a complimentary Training Planning & Comparison Profile click HERE or call ANSIR International at 800-471-2619.
The key to building a high performance organization is to recognize, recruit and retain the elite few who will make the greatest contribution to desired results. Most people are at their best during the hiring process. A comic once said, “The closest some people come to perfection is on a resume!” And, unfortunately, it’s true—some even stretch the truth to score a job. Fifty-six percent of more than 2,000 hiring managers say they’ve caught a lie on a resume, according to a 2015 Career Builder survey. This makes it difficult to recognize superstars from the mediocre performers.
When a leading sports coach was asked how he consistently assembled winning teams he said, “It’s easy! I can smell a champion a mile away!” Fortunately, advancements in technology and human sciences have made your job, as a hiring manager, a lot easier to sniff out champions. Today, with computer-aided tools, it is possible to compare the skills of employees or job candidates against critical job requirements with a high degree of accuracy. When talents match up, success comes easier and employees are more productive and happier at work. This means, increased retention of superstars who require considerably less direction and supervision.
A large number of organizations employ rudimentary and haphazard approaches to selecting their workforce. This represents a serious disconnect for companies that claim their talent management system offers a competitive advantage. Many firms fail to use scientifically proven assessments to make selection decisions; even though such assessments have been shown to significantly increase productivity, reduce costs and attrition and offer other critical organizational outcomes that translate into literally millions of dollars. There are many financial advantages associated with using assessment tools to guide selection and employee development decisions.
The obvious question: which assessments are best and how can their results benefit you? There are hundreds of assessment tools on the market today. Yet, not all are appropriate for spotting the best talent. Sample the power of our assessments and learn what motivates people at work by clicking here.
There are legal, cultural and financial considerations hiring managers must be aware of when utilizing assessments in the workplace.
United States law holds that employment practices (E.g. use of pre-employment aptitude tests) may be considered discriminatory and illegal if they have a disproportionate “adverse impact” on members of a minority group. Not all assessment instruments on the market meet the EEOC and OFCCP standards; therefore it is wise to verify those selected do not adversely impact any protected groups.
There should be good evidence that assessments are both accurate and valid. Accuracy or reliability means the results are reliably repeatable or consistent. Validity, on the other hand, is the proof that the tool actually measures what it says it does. Example, if an assessment claims to assess selling skills, their needs to be strong evidence to prove or back up that claim.
Your company culture is your brand. Think about how your current organization differs from competitors or other firms you have been with in the past. It is important, therefore, that company, cultural and job attributes are considered in the assessment process. These requirements serve as desired benchmark talents to compare people for selection, training and promotion.
Differences in cost of assessments, ranging from free to over $1,500 per person, vary greatly as does the value they provide. As a general rule, these tools are like most purchases; you get what you pay for. It is only when the benefits received outweigh the cost incurred that any expense becomes an investment. To squeeze the biggest return from assessments, clarify the results you expect (i.e. reduce turnover, spot leaders, save time hiring) along with how you intend to use the information gained.
Quality assessments administered by qualified experts offer considerable advantages in recognizing, recruiting, and retaining top performers. They do this by providing accurate insights to reveal job fit, cultural compatibility and predict performance. As a result, employee turnover is reduced, job satisfaction increases and overall productivity is improved. The bottom line: companies using assessments employ more people doing more work they are good at and enjoy.
ANSIR International invites managers of dental companies to sample a FREE talent assessment measuring workplace motivators. Get access to complete your FREE custom Driving Forces Motivators just Click Here by August 31, 2016. (Your results will be automatically sent to you upon completion of the assessment.)