The Missing Link
by Dr. Gino Pagano
Many different pieces must fit together perfectly to complete a jigsaw puzzle. You will find that your new practice will work much the same way, presenting many choices for you to sort through on a daily basis. One piece of the puzzle is the ordering of dental supplies and equipment. This process is noteworthy since the average dentist spends between 5 and 8 percent of his or her gross production on supplies. But what is the best way to order supplies and equipment, how can you trust that you're getting a good deal, and is there a missing link that can make the entire process easier?
When I first bought my practice, it was as though every supply representative within a 50-mile radius smelled fresh blood. They swooped in, overwhelming me with their sales pitches. While I listened to one rep tell me about the latest and greatest composite polishing system over the telephone, another waited in my reception area. Soon, my head was spinning.
Fortunately, the missing link in the ordering process is no longer a mystery to me. A trusted sales representative can make sense of your purchasing puzzle, helping you see the full picture. After my initial unpleasantness with sales representatives, I was lucky to find someone who showed genuine interest in my practice. Furthermore, because of his flexibility and trustworthiness, our rep has become a true part of our team.
If I want to try something new, I call my rep, who gets me a sample. If I don't like something I ordered or if my order is wrong, he takes it back. If I am interested in a new piece of equipment, he arranges a demonstration. I also can depend on him for technical advice because he has 20 years of experience as an expanded duty dental assistant. He is well worth the extra 5 percent I pay on my orders.
Here is my advice to you: find one representative from a large, reputable company and develop a rapport with him or her. The personal relationship you establish will result in large benefits down the road. Because the "Big-Three" companies all offer products very close in price as well as special incentives for ordering exclusively from them, it doesn't matter which company you choose. What matters is the representative you select.
You may save money by ordering your equipment and supplies online or via mail order, but you will never develop that all-important personal relationship with a web address or catalog. You can host bidding wars between local representatives, but is it worth the time and aggravation? Let the missing link - your trustworthy sales rep - help you connect the pieces of your equipment and supplies puzzle, helping to ensure that your practice succeeds.