The worst thing a dental salesperson can do at a trade show is be sexist.
I have heard rumors about it. It is almost urban legend. I finally saw it happen at the recent Chicago Midwinter Meeting. I couldn’t believe it. It was like spotting a Yeti. Or encountering an alien life-form.
I was walking the show floor with a dentist friend of mine who happens to be female. We stopped at the booth of a large dental supply manufacturer because she had a question about a product. A thirty-something man in a pair of Dockers® and an embroidered dress shirt came ambling up to us. He initiated with pleasantries and then it happened. He asked my friend, So, what dentist do you work for? My heart stopped for a moment; I was shocked, but also incredibly intrigued. In 2010, did this man actually assume my friend was NOT a dentist?
My dentist friend decided to toy with this dental sales rep: “I work for a dentist who is really cool, really smart, really progressive, and she gets really offended when someone assumes that because she is a woman”
It was like time stood still. I swear, I could almost hear a pin drop in the McCormick Place exhibit hall.
One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, BOING! The sales rep realized what he did. He immediately apologized, and I felt that it was sincere. My savvy friend accepted graciously and we proceeded to leave the booth and head out to grab a bite to eat. As we exited into the cold Chicago air, my friend turned to me and said, “You know, Michael, there are tons of impression materials on the market. I wish manufacturers knew that we judged their product on more than set-time and color schemes.”
Point taken. Dentists come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexes. Never assume anything in dental!
Sexism is everywhere. Men are basically ignorant schmucks who think a woman is incapable of doing everything a man can do. Truth is, they usually do it better the.
Kudo’s to your friend.
True story… a very pretty woman walks into the Home Depot in wintertime and her boyfriend had asked her to pick him up a regular dirt shovel while she was there…. after selecting a dirt shovel from the garden aisle, she was walking towards the register when a well-intentioned sales person said to her that what she was carrying was NOT a snow shovel. Sad thing is is that the sales person was actually being sincere in needlessly pointing that out.
The best anesthesia injection I ever received was from a woman dentist. I think her communication alleviated so much of my angst…the injection was still an annoying injection! Said dentist left clinical practice to start her family and is now teaching student dentists at the University level. Hopefully she will pass along her excellent patient communication skills to the next generation.
I’ve experienced another form of this kind of type-casting on the tradeshow floor, which can really backfire for the manufacturer who’s only out to make a quick sale at the show. It’s not sexism, but it’s similar in that it’s equally ignorant.
My father is a very busy, very successful dentist and he can’t make it to every dental tradeshow, so I’ve gone to many of them in his place as an information gatherer, and I report back to him on new products and innovative equipment recommendations I think would be beneficial for his practice.
So here’s the thing: You don’t know how many times the manufacturer reps at the booths have either stopped giving me a presentation of their products mid-presentation, or have even asked me within the first 5 seconds of me walking up and saying hello, “Are you a dentist?” and when I say “No” they immediately turn around and engage another prospect without even letting me finish telling them that “No, I’m not a dentist but my father is and I’m here so I can go back and tell him what he should buy and should not buy… and since you’ve snubbed me so quickly, you’ve lost the sale, buddy, even if your product is the most awesome on the planet!”
Moral of story: never make assumptions about who someone is or is not on the tradeshow floor. You never know where your next sale may come from!
Ive learn a long time ago to just assume everyone Im talkin to is a dentist until they correct me,even at a show, because sometimes the dds like to travel without the big purple badge that says Dentist on it….I borrowed one of my dentist buddies pass once to get into the ADA show and it was like walking down Broadway in San Franicsco,every barker calling me over to look at his product “Hey,Hey Dr. come here let me show you the best this or that on the market”….
Get over yourself!!