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Murphy’s Law: Three Ways to Convert Prospects into Dollars
Keep these simple rules in mind for success
By Mark T. Murphy, DDS, FAGD
Although dozens of successful strategies help with the conversion of prospects into customers, this article will highlight three that have been particularly effective for me. As a former consultant for dental laboratories and sometimes employee with sales and operations responsibilities, I have seen almost everything—what works and what doesn’t. Remember that success takes patience and does not happen overnight.
1. Stay in Their Face
Keep regular and steady contact with your prospects. When I first started working with MicroDental and its network of laboratories, the company had an extensive sales and marketing component, CE events, and printed materials created by their marketing communications team. But the company had no regular contact point with prospects. So the company started a newsletter that was sent by email and postal mail. Every month, the newsletter presented short-and-sweet, easy-to-read tips and constructs that helped our prospective clients grow. The newsletter issues contained no sales messages and no ads telling readers about specials or a new material; it was just solid, unbiased content they could use. This created presence with prospects. Eventually, if their current laboratory missed the mark on a case, they turned to MicroDental because it was top of mind.
2. Solve a Problem They Have
Attending lectures with prospects, CE you provide, booth talks, and lunch conversations are excellent ways to work with your prospects and clients. But not all points of contact should be about clinical dentistry or laboratory products. Instead, consider their perspectives. What problem do they face that you could help solve? Surveys of dentists repeatedly reveal the following concerns: hiring and staff retention, handling dental insurance, and urging patients to accept proposed treatment. Be a resource who helps them solve their everyday problems. More than 75% of the content in the MicroDental newsletters is about personal and professional growth and is not clinical. That strengthens the relationship so that when prospects feel the need to change laboratories or become open to your calls, they may choose you as a trusted source.
3. Ask for Their Business
At some point in this developing relationship, you have to close the deal. Some relationships seem to be headed there anyhow. Some relationships are comfortable enough that you could ask. There are always a few prospects that just take information and guidance from you but never buy. Just remember that sales is always a numbers game. By staying in contact and solving their problems, you improve the prospect development. But no plan is perfect. When the time feels right, just ask.
Try all sorts of tactics, but remember to stay connected with prospects (and clients) regularly. All of us want to do business with people who help us solve our problems. Dentists do not care as much about you and your laboratory as they do about themselves. Focus on what helps them. Don’t forget to ask. Great setups go wanting because the owner or manager never closed the deal. The worst thing that can happen is someone can say no. You will recover and move on.
Mark T. Murphy, DDS, FAGD, is the Principal of FunktionalTracker.com and Lead Faculty for Clinical Education at MicroDental Laboratories.