You might wonder why joining a network marketing company was such a push out of my comfort zone. I was never any good at marketing. In fact, I have always shied away from it simply because it never interested me. But it’s more than just a lack of interest. It really comes down to the fact that I’ve always worried that if I asked others for business, or favors, or help that I would inconvenience them; and the last thing I ever wanted to be was a nuisance.
Add to that the very common personality trait we dentists have: we hate to sell. We even cringe when we hear that 4-letter word.
It’s a very deeply ingrained part of our culture. For years, in our profession we were prohibited from advertising our dental services, and even now some still look down upon that practice. As dentists, our mentality is that we simply don’t sell, and we hate for anyone to think or imply that we do. Although some patients might find this surprising, as a whole, our approach is to only recommend what is needed. But let’s face it, as much as we don’t want to admit it, selling is exactly what we are doing. We are selling care, a service, a treatment, a result. If we don’t sell those “things,” we go out of business. I know it’s hard for both dentists and patients to accept that fact, but let’s be honest about what’s really going on here. We are no different from any other professional service. We just approach it in a way that it doesn’t feel like selling in the stereotypical sense because we care about our patients and believe in what we advise them to do. To many people, selling implies that you are somehow manipulating the buyer, but that’s not always true. As individuals, we all have the choice to buy something, and we must take personal responsibility for whether we buy or not.
Just because I sell something, doesn’t mean I have to become a salesman.
In fact, my company doesn’t even want me to do that. When my sister first shared the MLM business opportunity with me, I said, “I’m not good at selling. You are, so it’s a good fit for you.”
She responded, “that’s not true. That’s just your perception. But it doesn’t matter because you don’t have to sell this. You just have to share it.”
At first that sounded cheesy to me, but I’ve since thought a lot about what is required of me in order to succeed here. I didn’t really understand what she meant about sharing until I had to do it myself. I learned that our model allows me to literally share my product or opportunity with people, and if they want it, they buy it. If they don’t, they don’t. And that’s okay. I learned that as far as products go, my product sells itself. It gets to act as the sales rep, so I don’t have to. I learned that I don’t have to, nor do I want to surprise, convince, or coerce anyone to do anything. And that works well for me because as I’ve mentioned, I don’t like to sell. And if my history as a dentist tells me anything, I’m not any good at it either.
I’ve learned that maybe my problem wasn’t about selling itself, but instead it was about how we sell.
It is just a matter of perspective, isn’t it? If the dental model allowed me to sell with a non-sales approach, I know I can do the same in this arena. I can grow and face certain fears, but I don’t have to compromise who I am at the core. I can’t speak for other companies in this industry, but I can speak for mine. The advice that I get from my leaders is that we want people who want this. We don’t want to have to convince anyone, and that gives me the space and freedom I need to feel comfortable with it. In fact, I had to do much more convincing in dentistry, which meant my work was often done on people who didn’t want what I was offering them. It’s much more fun to provide something people want vs. something people don’t want but need! Don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned I have to do something. I have to show up, work, and have accountability. I have to share the information so others can make an informed decision. I have to provide a service… just like I did in dentistry.