It is now the end of Day 2 of the BDTA Dental Showcase 2012 at Docklands ExCel. I am not exhibiting but instead use the three days for meetings with clients; meetings with potential clients and catching up with old friends.

It seems to me that the dental sector (professionals dislike the term ‘industry’!), has been slowly changing over the last few years and many of the companies who exhibit have been slow to notice this change. Up until only a few years ago, companies could pretty much turn up at the NEC or ExCel, say “this is our new wonder product” and then expect to write huge orders. BUT! Dental professionals and the market are changing:

  • All dental professionals now expect a bit more ‘wooing’ than they used to. They are a damn sight more sophisticated than they used to be – they don’t all fawn at the first free toothbrush on show! We all need to make more effort to impress the visitors
  • It isn’t just dentists. Once upon a time, to their shame, the dental trade only wanted to speak to the ‘decision maker’. Well now the decision maker could be one of about 5 or 6 people, depending upon the product/service
  • The recession. I hope that some dentists don’t mind me saying that so many practices were being badly run and perhaps the economic situation has crystallised this fact. BDTA Show attendees now are much more ‘business aware’ than they used to be. (Although perhaps still not enough?). The attendees now expect relevant business advice and how it can make an impact on their practice. They are not just medical professionals but now business owners.
  • Assumption. The dental sector used to assume that the profession would turn up and buy – this can be the case but the profession are just so much more discerning these days.
  • Online/Social Media. This really relates to all the examples that I have just given. The world has changed. We want a bit more nowadays! Social media is all about interactions and conversations. I despair when I see ‘big’ names in the dental world that have ‘Protected User’ status so that their tweets cannot be retweeted on Twitter (for instance!!). They don’t understand the value of social media OR how it works. If you wish to target any dental professional then you need to be happy to enter into a conversation with them. It is not a ‘channel’ for selling at people.

 

Anyway, enough of my (well-founded) gripes. Whether you are dental professional or dental trader, give some consideration to the others’ point of view.