Rachel’s round up: Why are Sales reps de-valuing our role?
We all know how cold calling dental reps can a bit of a pain!
I have been trying to get a representative from a particular company into our practice for nearly a year after our previous and extremely good rep was relocated. At the dentistry show in February I actually introduced myself to the team of sales reps and explained that I wanted them to come into our practice (at a mutually convenient time). My details were passed to the young man who has been assigned to our area and it was about 2 months later that he made contact (via email), it was then a further 2 months before he replied to the email I had sent in reply.
My request was simple
” we recommend your products, we stock them, we want you to come and update us regularly and leave us those precious samples”
One morning out of the blue after no contact,he turned up at the practice armed with his iPad and samples. Slightly inconvenient as we weren’t expecting him and in order for him to leave samples, he required a meeting with each clinician to watch his little presentation and sign for the samples. I don’t understand this from reps – why do they turn up when a clinical session is underway and expect dentists and hygienists to drop everything and squeeze them in amongst their busy list of patients? They all say “I only need 60seconds of their time” and we all know it takes longer.
Now as an active oral health educator I always make time for the reps as my dentists and hygienists do look to me for product recommendation and demonstration. Other reps are very mindful of this, so you can imagine my outrage when this particular rep informed me that his company do not recognise the role of an oral health educator as being relevant to their cause, it’s only the opinions of “clinicians” I.e dentists and hygienists that count to ” head office”.
Why are you de-valuing the role of an oral health educator? I asked him, “it’s not me it’s my new manager” was his reply.
I suggested he should feedback to these managers that “the clinicians who’s opinions you hold so dear, refer to OHEs for product recommendation and when the new NHS contracts finally come to fruition, there are going to be even more OHEs out there with busy patient lists all wanting to be guided towards the most suitable products.”
Clutching his iPad, desperately hoping the answer would appear on it, he attempted to talk his way out of it claiming we are a one-off practice and the management wouldn’t change their views.
I really hope this is not the case! We are in an age where education and prevention is at it most important. Recent figures published show that over 25,000 children alone are admitted to hospital each year due to tooth decay. The more active oral health educators there are, can surely have an impact on reducing this figure.
If you don’t have an oral health education programme or service in your practice why not?? It’s not only a major asset to your patients but to your business. It’s another service that stands you out from your competitors.
Oral health educators are in-fact invaluable and eventually these short-sighted dental reps will have to acknowledge that also.
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