Skill in Life: Get Any Account You Want


I was born and raised in San Francisco in the Sunset District. My dad and I often took our dog, Mickey, for walks, and up by the reservoir we had a good view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. I remember this walk on one day in particular. The fog had just begun to lift, and my dad started rattling off details about the bridge. My dad was incredibly smart and shared that the chief engineer was Joseph Strauss, and he planned 27,572 wires in each cable. The crown of the road would rise from 246° at each tower to 266° above water in the center of the span, with a width of 90 feet. Then, hundreds of people helped him get it built.

Impressed, I responded, “Wow. I could never build anything like that.” My dad simply and quietly assured me, “Yes, you could. All you need to do is get help: the right help and enough help and all the help you need. Then you could build anything.” Good advice.

Selling is like building a bridge between you and the dentist. Perhaps you harbor the thought that you are not good enough to sell to the more successful dentists in your territory. If you truly believe that, then you are correct — you’re not good enough to land them as customers.

But if you share the attitude of Strauss and my dad, you can build an effective link — relationship — with any dentist you want.

Selling is like building a bridge between you and the dentist.

First, as did Strauss, you must develop a plan. Start with a specific objective and timeline. For example, “By this time next year, with me as her primary sales rep, all four of her offices, all her associates, will be using the full suite of Patterson’s Eaglesoft products.” Good objective. Then ask yourself, can I achieve this alone? The bigger the account, the harder it is to get. So at least admit that this goal of yours, this objective, no matter how worthy and admirable, will take considerable work to achieve. You’ll need to write a detailed plan, touching on every step of the selling process. It will take a logical progression of steps — truly knowing her business; understanding her business mission and objectives; knowing her needs and her wants; knowing all her suppliers and all her business loyalties; knowing her patients’ profiles and their typical needs. You need to present yourself as a true assistant— a knowledgeable person who understands her business, knows the benefits of various dental products, and recognizes what products will best aid her in accomplishing her goals. Finally, you need to act as a safe and sound bridge between her and the products the industry has to offer.

You will figure out much of this on your own, through your own intelligence and homework.

But some of this information is better known or discovered through others — for example, your sales manager. Follow the example of Strauss. As brilliant as he was, he asked for and received help from others. His noble objective — to build the Golden Gate Bridge — was a sizable and important task. He knew he could not do it alone. You too can ask for help.

So, I encourage you: go for that big account. In the words of my dad, “All you need to do is get help: the right help and enough help and all the help you need.”

From MENTOR. February 2018;9(2):8.

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