Learn from dentistIt was a night like any other. My fiancé and I arrived home, the dinner preparations began and out popped some corn on the cob. Shortly thereafter, out popped my fiancés front tooth.

Losing a tooth as an adult is really not much fun, mostly because they just don’t grow back at that age. But an interesting thing happened on the way to the dentist. Who would have thought an emergency dentist visit was actually a remodeling industry sales process in disguise?

Here’s what happened:

The Ambush

We arrived at the dentist early the next morning. Immediately, the staff separated my fiancé and I, took her in the back and 30 minutes later she came out, visibly upset. The nurse called me in the back, mentioned something about surgery and ushered me into an office where a $6K quote was presented to me, ready to sign. The doctor wasn’t even there, just a woman behind a computer trying to get my credit card.

It was probably the worst attempt at a rush-close I have ever witnessed. I felt like I was buying a used car from the worst guy on the planet.

I’m a big believer in second opinions (do I sound like a kitchen buyer yet?) especially when surgery is involved. So I asked for some time and told the woman behind the desk that we would be back and we needed a second opinion. Guess what she did?

“Well we only have one slot for surgery which is now- so if you wait it will be next Tuesday before we can fit you in.”

She knew we were headed off to vacation the next morning. She clearly was capitalizing on a stressful incident and had absolutely every desire to do what was best for her company. I mean the dentist was totally willing to move around his schedule to fit her in now, but somehow if we waited a few hours to get comfortable with a big decision, he couldn’t fit us in until 5 days later? I remember thinking “what a dirt bag.”

What went wrong? Why didn’t we buy? Clearly we had a problem- clearly they were in the right place at the right time to solve that problem. They had the sale- and they lost it. Why?

Cabinet Sales As Taught By Your Dentist

We made our way 30 miles south to another dentist. It was a referral from a very trusted friend of ours. Dr. Nash met us both personally and in between his existing appointments of the day he and his staff spent the next two hours educating us on our options.

During the times where Dr. Nash was in with another patient, his team would casually pop in and offer us reading material (where Dr. Nash was featured in magazines and articles), offer us coffee (a cappuccino to be exact) and show us slide presentations of other clients who had broken their teeth in a similar fashion and how Dr. Nash had corrected the problem. We also received a tour of the office, explanations of the latest and greatest equipment Dr. Nash uses (including the video camera he uses to train other dentists), and we met everyone we would be working with. By the time he reappeared we were thoroughly educated on his unbelievable accomplishments, clientele, expertise and overall recognition as a leader in his profession.

I was totally blown away that a dentist (of all people) had actually figured out how to deliver the ultimate experience to a prospect — with a sales process that any cabinet dealer owner would absolutely drool over. I found myself asking him about costs, time frame and options (you know, buying questions). At one point I even asked him, “If this was your daughter, what would you do?”.

I mean I never would ask a salesperson a question like that. Unless I had developed an enormous level of respect and trust.

So guess what we did? We did just what the doctor ordered. It was the best (and most expensive) solution, but it was what was really needed. And because the “project” involved a dentist, oral surgeon, and orthodontics, Dr. Nash even offered to help quarterback everything for us.

The Take Away

I thought this whole episode had many lessons for salespeople in any industry, really. But especially in the cabinet industry where what you are selling is hard to understand, has many different options, and the buyer is usually uneducated about what they are buying. It’s not every day you need major dental surgery- and it’s not every day you want to buy a kitchen.

Below is a quick summary of the key takeaways of Dr. Nash’s superior sales process:

Dr. X Dr. Nash
Played on fears to act now Played on wants and desires to act now
Separated and isolated key decision makers Sought to actively include all decision makers
Picked what he thought the best option was for us Educated on options and helped us convince ourselves on what the best option was
Focused on close close close Focused on building trust
Transaction size proposed: $5,700 Transaction size we picked: $11,000
Tried to encourage us not to seek 2nd opinion Encouraged us to take our time
Spent no time educating us on his qualifications Understood that his qualifications were key to winning the deal
Spent no time on the company’s qualifications Expertly weaved his qualifications into discussions, through the use of case studies, 3rd party reference material and a “showroom” tour concept
We would never recommend Dr. X to any of our friends. In fact, we tell the story about how to steer away from Dr. X. We’ve been telling everyone we know (including you) about Dr. Nash!


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