The worst thing a dental salesperson can do at a trade show is be sexist.
I have heard rumors about it. It is almost urban legend. I finally saw it happen at the recent Chicago Midwinter Meeting. I couldn’t believe it. It was like spotting a Yeti. Or encountering an alien life-form.
I was walking the show floor with a dentist friend of mine who happens to be female. We stopped at the booth of a large dental supply manufacturer because she had a question about a product. A thirty-something man in a pair of Dockers® and an embroidered dress shirt came ambling up to us. He initiated with pleasantries and then it happened. He asked my friend, So, what dentist do you work for? My heart stopped for a moment; I was shocked, but also incredibly intrigued. In 2010, did this man actually assume my friend was NOT a dentist?
My dentist friend decided to toy with this dental sales rep: “I work for a dentist who is really cool, really smart, really progressive, and she gets really offended when someone assumes that because she is a woman”
It was like time stood still. I swear, I could almost hear a pin drop in the McCormick Place exhibit hall.
One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, BOING! The sales rep realized what he did. He immediately apologized, and I felt that it was sincere. My savvy friend accepted graciously and we proceeded to leave the booth and head out to grab a bite to eat. As we exited into the cold Chicago air, my friend turned to me and said, “You know, Michael, there are tons of impression materials on the market. I wish manufacturers knew that we judged their product on more than set-time and color schemes.”
Point taken. Dentists come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexes. Never assume anything in dental!