Earlier this year, I wrote a post about the growing concerns I hear from reps about how much the dental industry is changing.
Corporate dentistry is playing a bigger role in the market and many of those organizations ‘buy’ very differently. Not only is it more difficult to identify and connect with decision makers in these organizations, what they value is often different compared to the private practices most are used to calling on.
Internet and discount dealers are multiplying faster than fruit flies. The competition is coming from every angle, and oftentimes using low price as the entry point, making it difficult for full service distributors to maintain healthy margins.
And don’t forget how much the buying process has changed. Your clients have access to more information that even you do at times, and they’re making decisions without ever consulting you.
Interesting times indeed!
Factors like this can certainly make you wonder, “What’s going to happen to my role? Will there still be a place and a need for a rep who does what I do?”
As is often the case, the answer is, it depends.
Decades ago being a cobbler was a career option. Most would say that’s not the case anymore. Sure you could work in a shoe factory, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m referring to is the fact that you don’t see many people opening a corner store to make or repair shoes these days. And most consumers aren’t looking for a cobbler when they need a pair of shoes. They’re looking for the nearest Nordstrom.
Same with scissors. They’ve become a commodity. You buy them at Staples or an arts and crafts store. You certainly don’t look for a putter (that’s not a typo, a putter is the name for a craftsman who builds scissors).
But today, people still make a living as both cobblers and putters. Is it fewer people than decades ago? Yes. But here’s the thing. Someday, maybe not even a day very far into the future, there may not be a need for as many salespeople to serve the dental industry.
But the very best salespeople, the true craftsman, will not only have a job, they’ll be sought out. They won’t sell on price, they’ll charge a premium. They’ll be sought out and talked about because of their knowledge, their skill, their insight, and the value they can create.
“Will there be a role for me?” is the wrong question.
Instead you should be asking, “Do I have what it takes to be one of the very best – one of the ones people seek out? What would that look like?”
Take a minute to watch these two videos for a little glimpse into what a craftsman is.