Ben Franklin…Practical and Useful.

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Walter Isaacson is the famous biographer who wrote the well-known book about Steve Jobs. Darn. I still haven’t sat down and read that book. Mr. Isaacson also wrote a highly regarded bio on Ben Franklin. I managed to get through that book.

At times, it was a bit of a yawner. But at other times, there were great take-aways. The best stuff from Ben Franklin’s life was his ability to think correctly. Ben Franklin was a scientist, inventor, publisher, businessman, politician, and an author. But to me, he was a man who understood the limitations of his own human brain, and therefore developed systems to guard himself from error. That simple process made him one one of the most famous people in the world.

Walter Isaacson teaches us that Ben Franklin’s greatest contribution, was that he taught us to ask ourselves these two questions:

-Is this practical?

-Is this useful?

He taught us all, and continues to teach us all, this common sense in a humorous, self-help style. Men and women out on the Western frontier in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri most likely read Franklin’s words in his famous Autobiography, and used Franklin’s practical thought systems and quotes, to avoid mistakes.

As salespeople, let’s just admit to ourselves that we are far from brilliant. We need tools to keep us on track. As we make our plans and conduct our tasks, let’s pause once in awhile, and ask ourselves the 2 questions……….is this Practical?…. is this Useful?

See ya soon!

 

Quick Plug- I’ve mentioned to many of my customers, the simplicity of a Psa Office. It is years and years of experience, that allow Psa manufacturers to make Practical and Useful dental equipment. These are safe, conservative, mistake-free choices, and I hope you’ll continue to join me in feeling that way!

 

 

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Change, just for the sake of Change.

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I’ve spoken to quite a few of my fellow salespeople out there in the last few weeks. A handful are having a hard time getting excited about 2015. We are eleven days into the new year. This is the time where we try to think about how we might do things differently. Remember how inspired we once were, when Steve Jobs taught us all to Think Different?

Oh c’mon and stop yawning.

If you are a sales rep and you are looking to make some changes in 2015, make sure you do it.  Why?  Don’t search for great reasons, because you might not find reasons that are good enough.  Let’s change, just for the sake of change. Let’s do things differently, just for the sake of doing things differently. Allow PSA to use our resources and partners to help you get a little bit better.

Do you want to get better at burs and polishers? Chair-unit-light? Nitrous? Cabinetry and Sterilization? Mechanical room? Cameras? Digital X-ray? Imaging software?  You want to learn how to sell into your competition’s imaging software?

Allow your manufacturer reps to help you make those changes. Show us that you want to know, and we will be excited to become your change agents.

Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset

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I want to take this opportunity to write about one of the best books I ever read, Mindset. The author, Carol Dweck (Stanford Professor), has conducted research on human behavior and motivation for decades. Her largest contribution to her field has been this book. The theory that she brings forth, is that success is driven by our own personal, foundational views about where ability comes from. She watched children when they were younger, and she now knows them as adults. When she refers to the adults in the book, she will refer to them as something like, “male Adult A,” or, “female adult B.”

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Over all these years, she has come to the conclusion that kids (and later as adults), have either a Fixed Mindset, or a Growth Mindset. Fixed Mindset children believe that their ability is just that, Fixed. Growth Mindset children are more apt to see themselves as change-able, and therefore are less guarded, and less fearful of failure. Both types can grow up and have success, but she concludes that the Growth Mindset allows for more success, less-stress, and an overall better life. There is a website for the book. And, at the website there is a great quote by some famous academic who once said, “I don’t divide the world into weak and strong, or the successes and failures….I divide the world into learners and nonlearners.” Mindset is a wonderful and convincing book, if you are ever looking for something fresh and new to read.

Business Ethics

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“The life of a working person can be tense.” That’s what my mostly retired Mother said to me after I told her about the stressful week I had just experienced in the dental business. Last week I experienced high levels of stress. I won’t go into the details. Difficult customers were involved in difficult situations.

Looking back on last week reminds me of a book I read a few years ago.

For me, the idea of “Ethics” is something that has often been hard to define. Moral, Ethical, and Logical, have always been words that get muddled together. Right versus wrong. Technically right versus technically wrong. Right for the company, versus right for the individual. All of these trade-offs and contradictions can often make the idea of being an Ethical businessperson confusing.

After I read this book, I felt like I knew more about Ethics. The main take-away of the book was enlightening for me. It was this: In any difficult situation, it is always best to remain Calm and Kind. To validate the argument for Calm and Kind, the Author brings up examples where it is not just about Ethics, but it is about our survival as a species that we remain Calm and Kind. One beautiful metaphorical example that he uses is the visualization of a new born baby. When a baby is born in an ideal state, it immediately begins feeding. So, from the first second of your life, you are exposed to a mother who exudes kind, calm compassion. And in order for the baby to nurse, the baby also has to calm down and relax. So, from the get-go we are making a lot of common sense by being Calm and Kind.

(I know….it’s a bit much to talk about nursing in a dental sales blog, Lol)

I have had many difficult situations in business, since I finished reading this book. Often it has helped me, to just take a deep breath, and to take seriously the simple idea that I am going to remain Calm and Kind. This has also helped me to develop a sense of confidence about my personal business Ethics.

Obviously this would be very helpful in teen parenting as well.

 

LEADING IS OFTEN JUST SIMPLIFYING

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As I look back on my life, and I think about the times where I witnessed true Leadership, a common theme seems to rise up in my memory. And that is, that the best Leaders are the Simplifiers. Can you remember a time when you were in a group, and you witnessed a situation where a Leader arose, and you became one of the followers? Most likely you will remember that the Leader stood up and reminded the group of just what “we” were hoping to accomplish here.

So True! The Leader is the one who stands up and says…..”hey…wait a minute everyone…..it’s not that complicated…..all we are trying to accomplish here is…………”

So, the Leader has just enough wisdom to see a broader view of the Whole Entire Dilemma! And, the Leader finally stands up and makes everyone understand how simple it is.

Let’s all remember that the “Leader-being-the-Simplifier” is a very simple idea. And that idea, is one that we should take Seriously.

 

PS- When I think of names like Abraham Lincoln, Warren Buffett, General Schwarzkopf, etc, …I think of Leaders speaking in a style that is calm and simple.

ScanX (argued)

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ScanX (argued)

Earlier, I posted on “Argument Structure.” Here is how we apply a simple argument to the selling of a ScanX:

Claim: I should sell my Doctor a ScanX (of course you should).

Evidence- ScanX has a flawless Track Record.
Evidence- Nearly 20 thousand happy users in U.S.
Evidence- Phosphor Plates dominate all of Europe.
Evidence- Unsurpassed intra-oral imaqe quality (Dental Advisor) (CR)
Evidence- Total Digital Solution- for a lot less money

Warrant- My selfish interests are to make this Doctor happy long term. If I can sell this Doctor a solution that reduces both anxiety and cost? Wow! I better let Matt go show this office a ScanX. I better let Matt go in there and take a Pan for my own sake!

And you know we’ll get that sale! And you’ll gain a friend, and a long term customer!